The Office of Faculty Reviews launched Pathways to Full Professor to provide intentional support to midcareer faculty as they prepare for promotion review. At Rhodes, as at most colleges and universities, the path to tenure is structured, with resources and mentoring available for faculty on the tenure track. Candidates receive specific feedback from their senior colleagues and from the Provost at the second- and fourth-year reviews, and there are many opportunities for explicit and implicit mentoring. While the timeline for tenure review is well-established, the timing and path to full professor review are left up to the faculty member. As Audrey Williams June puts it in “The Uncertain Path to Full Professor,” “The self-initiated advancement to full professor stands in sharp contrast to the tenure clock that drives faculty-career trajectories at the outset.”
The Pathways initiative provides the structures and resources necessary for tenured faculty to develop individualized plans for promotion review, while mitigating any structural barriers for associate professors. Participants attend monthly meetings that cover a range of areas, such as dealing with increasing service obligations after tenure, managing research expectations, networking with colleagues on and off campus, and so on. In addition, they have opportunities to learn from full professors about their own paths to promotion and develop a network of mentors, sponsors, and collaborators. The program also provides a space for conversations about gender and racial disparities at the highest ranks, and it promotes equity in the review process.