Rotational Professorships

Three-Year Renewable Faculty Professorships. Rotational Professorships are awarded for a three-year term to faculty members of Rhodes College who are engaged in significant scholarly projects in the form of research or creative activity. Normally, such Professorships will be awarded to tenured full time faculty members. Recipients of Professorships will receive $7,500 per year to fund the expenses associated with their projects.

Purpose and Appointment Criteria. The purpose of the Rotational Professorships is to support faculty scholarship (research, and creative activity). Therefore, faculty members who show promise of producing work that will be evaluated positively by their peers will be appointed. Promise will be determined by a faculty member’s past performance as well as by an articulated plan for scholarly activity to be completed during the three year period of appointment to the Professorship.

Rotational Professorships may be renewed once only, for up to three additional years, should the faculty member be able to demonstrate both an on-going need for support and tangible results – for example, substantial completed, published, or exhibited work – stemming from activity undertaken during the first term in the Professorship. (In exceptional circumstances, continuation for a third term may be considered.)

Rotational Professors will be ineligible to apply for summer Faculty Development Endowment Grants. Normally, such Professors also will be ineligible to receive travel support from the standard faculty travel budget. Rotational Professors will, after the termination of their term, have two additional years to call upon any funds that may remain in their accounts to cover research expenses associated with their projects.

Annual Reports. Holders of Rotational Professorships are required to submit a report of their project activities annually, by 1 October following each year in the Professorship, to the Office of Academic Affairs. The report will consist of a one or two page statement of scholarly activity completed during the year as well as any outcomes resulting from that activity, and a one-page overview of funds expended. 

Initial Appointment (first three-year term)

1. When a rotational professorship is vacated the Office of Academic Affairs compiles a list of all faculty members who are eligible to fill the open professorship. Normally, only tenured members of the faculty in relevant departments who have not held a rotational professorship for at least six years are considered to be eligible.

2. The Office of Academic Affairs notifies the eligible faculty members, who are invited to prepare an application (made up of a three- to five-page proposal and an updated vita), and provides them with a precise timeline for the process. Notification normally will take place no later than early March. Faculty considering application will be encouraged to consult with their department chairs before doing so. (In cases where the department chair is a candidate for the professorship in question, faculty considering application should consult with the faculty colleague who is vacating the professorship in question.)

3. The proposals are reviewed by a four-person group made up of two representatives of the Office of Academic Affairs and the Chairs of two standing committees of the Faculty: the Faculty Development Committee and the Faculty Governance Committee. These proposals normally will be due no later than early April. Relevant departmental chairpersons also will be consulted unless they are themselves candidates for the professorship in question.

4. If either of these two faculty committee members is required to evaluate a proposal that comes from themselves or from any member of their academic department, the faculty member in question will recuse himself or herself and the faculty committee in question will appoint a replacement.

5. The four-member group evaluates and ranks the proposals. Criteria for evaluation include (but are not limited to): the quality of the proposal; its significance to the professor’s ongoing scholarly program; the professor’s scholarly track record; a record of effectiveness in the two other areas of professional assessment (teaching and service); and matters of rank and years of service to the College.

6. The group then makes a recommendation to the Dean of the Faculty, who will make the final decision.

7. The Office of Academic Affairs notifies the candidates. This notification normally will be given by the end of April.

Renewal (second and final three-year term)

1. In the final year of the first term of a three-year rotational professorship appointment, the professor has the option of applying for a second and final three-year term in the professorship. This application is made to the Office of Academic Affairs. The application will include a summary of scholarship achieved during the first term, a discussion of work to be completed in the second term, and an updated vita.

2. This material is evaluated by the above four-member group, which then makes a recommendation to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who makes the final decision.

3. If the renewal application is approved, the faculty member is appointed for a second (and final) three-year term. (If not approved, a representative of the Office of Academic Affairs compiles a list of all faculty members who are eligible to fill the open professorship and follows the process described in the section above.)

4. The designated the Office of Academic Affairs notifies the candidates. This notification normally will be given by the end of April.