Jared Johns: Case #1
Characterization of Institution
Research II University
Characterization of Department
Ph.D. granted in English (British, world, and American literature. applied lingusitics and composition)
M.A. granted in English (general, composition and literature)
M.A. granted in linguistics
M.A. granted in TESOL
B.A. in English
B.A. and B.S. in English Education
How would Jared Johns’ case turn out in your department? At your university/college?
I believe in a way similar to the department described, though perhaps not by quite so close a vote. Our department too would give counsel to Dr. Johns along the lines described.
I as dean would support the recommendation of the department which in essence says that Dr. Johns is making positive progress toward tenure but that he needs to enhance his CV with some standard peer reviewed publications and make some changes in his teaching—both content and method.
But in addition, I would send a letter to Prof. Johns indicating my support of the department’s recommendation but suggest that to attain tenure he has several tasks to accomplish: additional refereed print publications, assist the department in finding outside reviewers of his electronic publications, and make important changes in his teaching. To attain these goals in the relatively short amount of time still available, he will also need to lighten up at all points on the service front.
What are the Department Chair’s responsibilities toward Johns? Which did she/he fulfill? Fail?
The chair certainly needs to discuss with Dr. Johns everything that has been communicated to the chair by the committee. While probably the chair has not had enough conversations with Prof. Johns in the first 4 years, he definitely has not ignored the issues highlighted in the fourth year review. But now he must be very explicit and direct because Dr. Johns will not be awarded tenure if he does not demonstrate significant progress in the areas of refereed publications and improved teaching.
What are the Personnel Committee’s responsibilities toward Johns? Which did they fulfill? Fail?
Certainly the Personnel Committee needs to be explicit in written form. What they provided the chair by way of evaluation of Dr. Johns should be copied to the candidate. I believe they conducted themselves responsibly. But what I do not know is whether their conclusions and observations were communicated to Prof. Johns other than indirectly through the chair.
What are the responsibilities of the Dean? Which did she/he fulfill? Fail?
As nearly as I can tell, the dean has not been involved in the process (not that the dean should be much involved up to this point, given the review system in place at University X). I guess I would infer that at University X the dean becomes involved only at the end when s/he receives the department’s recommendation.
I much prefer the system at my university where each year every nontenured faculty is reviewed at all levels with respect to “progress toward tenure.” In this system there is the obligation of the dean to review each nontenured faculty member’s progress to date and must decide pro or con, or if favorable, possibly to send a letter to the faculty member giving “deanly” advice both in light of what the department has said and recommended, and what the dean might have observed upon review of the materials submitted.
What are Johns’ responsibilities? Which did she/he fulfill? Fail?
Dr. Johns of course has primary responsibility for himself and needs to heed the counsel he is given. He has not done too well at that. He did not pay close enough attention to advice given regarding his teaching, his choice of publication outlets, and his service commitments.
Or perhaps he was listening more closely to others who are not identified in the case study.
What went wrong? What went right?
It strikes me that department colleagues and the chair conducted themselves appropriately (though note my speculation about the chair above). I believe they want Prof. Johns to succeed. But he needs to be careful that his enthusiasm for technology does not so dominate what he does that he jeopardizes his position. He is probably pushing his technology too fast in his undergraduate teaching. And he needs to put some of those great conference presentations into traditional article form. He needs to “tune in” to the system more carefully than he appears to have done so far.
I assume University X has a 6 or 7 year probationary period for tenure.