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UPDATED: Two Professors Denied Tenure, Appeal Process to Begin

UPDATE: As of June 14, 2016, both Dr. Jeffrey Fortin and Dr. Clare Mehta have been awarded tenure and promoted to Associate professor. The promotion was announced in a Portal announcement from President Sister Janet and reads as follows:

To:       The Emmanuel College Community

From:   Sister Janet Eisner, SND, President

Date:    June 14, 2016

Re:       Promotion & Tenure Announcement

I am pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees has approved my recommendation and has voted the following:  

To grant tenure to Jeffrey Fortin, Ph.D. in the Department of History and to award promotion to the rank of Associate Professor.

To grant tenure to Clare Mehta, Ph.D. in the Department of Psychology andto award promotion to the rank of Associate Professor.

To grant tenure to Xiaowei Zhao, Ph.D. in the Department of Psychology and to award promotion to the rank of Associate Professor.

Please join me in congratulating these members of the College faculty. The promotion and tenure process for the 2015-16 academic year is now complete.

It has been confirmed that Dr. Jeffrey Fortin of the History department and Dr. Clare Mehta of the Psychology have been denied tenure and promotion.

In an email on May 19, Chair of the History department, Dr. Javier Marion, confirmed that, “Professor Fortin was denied tenure but he will file an appeal with the President’s office.”

Chair of the Psychology department, Dr. Linda Lin, also confirmed via an email on May 19 that, “Dr. Mehta was denied promotion and tenure at the College.”

It is also speculated, but not confirmed, that Mehta will file an appeal with the college as well.

In response to this news, students took to social media to voice their thoughts and opinions on the matter. Students are encouraged to use #MoneyTalksTeachersWalk in their tweets. This hashtag was used two years ago when Dr. Chris Craig, Assistant Professor of English was denied tenure and promotion and Lecturer in Political Science Professor Christina Kulich-Vamvakas’ contract was not renewed.

The Facebook group S.A.I.N.T.s has been re-formed; it too began in 2014 with the tenure and promotion denial of Craig and Kulich-Vamvakas.

Marcie Paez ’17 is behind the revival of the S.A.I.N.T.s page. She says that, “The purpose of this student led protest is to ensure that professors who have brought change and knowledge to Emmanuel College, are treated fairly and receive an equal chance to tenure. Throughout the years, we have seen many professors leave Emmanuel due to the process and handling of their application to the Promotion and Tenure Committee. Many of them have made a major impact to the student body, and even the college as a whole, challenging them to be better and do better.”

Paez goes on to say, “While we stand for Dr. Jeffrey Fortin and Dr. Clare Mehta, and we wish to see the action of denying them tenure reversed, we are doing this to avoid the loss of professors that students love and adore, whom have thrived under their instruction, and wish to continue to do so. As a student body, we sit in these classrooms and learn from them, and no one knows their professors better than the students themselves. To have little to no student input on who stays and leaves goes completely against the Emmanuel College goal to have a school in which student voice matters, and taken into careful consideration.”

Students are encouraged to continue the conversation using #MoneyTalksTeachersWalk and submitting op-eds to The Hub. Students can also submit letters of support to Sister Janet who, as president of the college, will review the professors’ appeals. Letters can be sent to president@emmanuel.edu.

Abigail Matheson is the Editor in Chief of The Hub. She can be contacted at mathesona@emmanuel.edu and on Twitter @abbimathy

Posted by on May 20, 2016. Filed under Around Campus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses to UPDATED: Two Professors Denied Tenure, Appeal Process to Begin

  1. Jamie

    May 20, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Dr. Alfonso Barry also was denied tenure at the beginning of the semester. Dr. Mehta and Dr. Alfonso Barry were tremendous psychology professors and the psychology department will surely never be the same without them and would not recommend future students to major in psychology due to these two intelligent professors being gone.

  2. Doc

    May 20, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    There are many layers to all this that students don’t see, and some that faculty don’t either; it’s a complicated and oft capricious business. However, most faculty are equally confused and angered by these decisions.

  3. Hillary

    May 21, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Dr. Lisa Falvey was also denied in 2013, coincidently the same year both Mehta and Fortin started at the college… I can confidently say I was able to be successful and be promoted several times in my job since graduation because of what I learned directly from Falvey, Craig, Vamvakas and Mehta…they breed students who think crirtically and don’t conform, which is an asset in the real world outside of the EC bubble.

    Unfortunately the Emmanuel environment is plagued by its leadership and current tenured cohort who are not open to change. Maybe when Sister Janet finally retires (like she was meant to in 2006 and 2011 and 2012) and they hopefully clean up the administration, Emmanuel might start to have a fighting chance to be a place where a student’s voice matters.

    • Alex

      May 22, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      Spot on.