Open Forum: Full Professor – The Fulfillment of a Career

David G. Woods

Note: The College Music Society held open forums during its 2004 National Conference in San Francisco to discuss the Professional Life Initiative reports. This is a brief synopsis of the Forum on Full Professorship held at the Conference.

Patricia Flowers (Ohio State University) provided the open forum participants with an overview of the work of the Task Force on Full Professorship. Professor Flowers reported that there are three men for every woman at the level of full professor, and that 13% of the professoriate are full professors. Full professors range in age from 40 to 70 years.

The task force looked at special challenges of full professors and included discussions regarding how the younger ranks regard the full professoriate. Many look on full professors with envy because of security, freedom, and stature.

Professor Flowers reported that the task force identified the following issues of present concern to full professors:

(1) post-tenure review,

(2) technology,

(3) paradigmatic challenges,

(4) workplace changes,

(5) motivation, and

(6) legacy.

Participants in this CMS session discussed these issues and noted the following: • Do what you should be doing as an artist/teacher as a full professor. Continuity is important in going from rank to rank.

• At the professor level you can say what others cannot.

• Schools have become market driven. Hiring the entry level has become the economic driver.

• There is always the factor of technology in new hires.

• A full professor should be a model. We ought to work at providing leadership for the institution.

• One of the important characteristics of a well rounded, full professor is how he or she has adapted to the many changes in the field. Adaptability is an important factor in being a full professor.

• Post-tenure review is not always endorsed by senior faculty.

• Bylaws and university policies have not always changed as the field has changed. This, many times, becomes an obstacle to associate professors becoming full professors. CMS serves a role as a change agent. It is important for the professoriate to engage in conferences such as the CMS Annual Conference.

• We need to help mid-career and senior faculty through the faculty development programs and processes on university campuses.

• It is important for senior professors to collaborate with younger colleagues. • Full professors do not always find support for travel and research, as the support is often channeled to entry level or the young professors.

• It is up to full professors to communicate regularly with the president and the deans about changes in the field.