In February and March of each year the Provost’s Office receives tenure and promotion files from the Las Cruces, Dona Ana, Alamogordo, Carlsbad, and Grants campuses. The files fill the office of Melody Munson-McGee who checks them to ensure that all required elements are present. The next challenge falls to Kim Altamirano, who carves out enough time in my schedule for me to read each file and provide a final decision on tenure and/or promotion, a decision I will share with the Chancellor for his concurrence.
I take my role in this process very seriously, recognizing that for NMSU tenure represents a long-term commitment to a faculty member, and that for faculty members promotion and tenure decisions are life altering. Reading each file carefully ensures that my decisions have integrity, but just as importantly the files open a window into the work being done by our faculty and provide insights that help guide programmatic and budgetary decisions. I come away from this process every year with a renewed appreciation for the good work of our faculty and for their dedication to teaching, scholarship, and fulfilling the mission of NMSU.
A question I am frequently asked is whether many applications for promotion and tenure are denied. The answer is no, but it is important to note that this is not because of lack of rigor. It is because our hiring processes are highly selective, we have strong mentoring programs ensuring that junior faculty understand the expectations they must meet, and we annually evaluate our junior faculty members for progress toward promotion and tenure. If a faculty member is not making adequate progress, the department will actively intervene to help him/her, which is often effective, or the faculty member will leave NMSU for other opportunities prior to coming up for promotion and tenure.
The tenure and promotion process works at NMSU because the faculty takes it seriously and virtually everyone participates in mentoring and evaluating. Thanks, all of you, for your dedication to your colleagues and to ensuring the strength and high quality of the faculty at NMSU.
With all best wishes,