Several faculty promotions announced

By Madeline Alvarez, Sports Editor

Nine faculty members who were recommended to the board of trustees at the meeting on Feb. 21 received promotions.

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Rosemary Niedens was recognized as Assistant Professor, Administrative Faculty Rank.

Assistant Dean for Non-traditional Outreach Programs Jessica Bird, Professor of Chemistry Alan Oberley and Professor of Accounting Patrick Nance were promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor.

Professor of Theology Matthew Umbarger and Director of the Nurse Anesthesia Program Megan Cook were promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor with tenure.

Professor of Biology Sarah Evans received tenure.

Professor of Sociology Larry Heck and Associate Professor of Nursing and Allied Health Jane Weilert received the status of Professor Emeritus and Professor Emerita, respectively.

“We’re very blessed at Newman to have such dedicated and talented faculty,” Interim President Teresa Hall Bartels said. “When I talk with students, they always tell me how certain professors have really made a difference in their lives. And I know, as an alum myself, that those relationships with faculty are so important.”

Bartels said it is especially fitting that Heck and Weilert, who will retire at the end of this academic year, received Professor Emeritus status.

“They’ve just given their lives to this work, and we’re going to miss them a lot,” she said.

Heck said that the Professor Emeritus status means that he gets to retain his title of professor after his retirement and that he will continue to be a professor associated with Newman.

He said that this is something he had hoped for.

“There have been others of my colleagues through the years that hold that designation, and I think it’s kind of sort of be honored in that way, and maybe then to join with those other people that have been honored in that way, too,” Heck said.

Heck said that, after 47 years of teaching at Newman, his decision to retire was difficult.

“...To be separated from this is hard for me to imagine…I can’t say what a significant part of my life it has been,” he said.

Umbarger said in an email that his own new title of Associate Professor with tenure indicates the time he has served at Newman.

“When I consider someone like my office-neighbor, Larry Heck, who is now being promoted to Professor Emeritus after 47 years of service, I’m just in awe. Promotion holds forth promise of acquiring that kind of veteran experience in the classroom. But most days I still feel like I’m trying to figure out what the heck to do,” he said.

Chair of the Faculty Evaluation Committee Stacy Jones said that certain criteria are required for faculty members to be granted promotion.

The criteria include categories such as teaching effectiveness, the number of years of professional service, professional development, advising, community service and communication, and what they have done to support the mission of the university.

Professors have to put together a portfolio and submit it to the committee to be considered for a promotion, Jones said.

“Their job in that portfolio is to be able to show or provide proof to the faculty evaluation committee...that they meet those qualifications…” she said.

Provost Kim Long said that the committee forwards the faculty recommendations to her and she recommends them to the board.

“Ultimately, the board decides on who gets promoted or not,” she said.

Long said that, as of now, Newman does not have a limit on how many people can be promoted in a year, but that the university may want to consider changing that due to financial reasons.

Long said she was proud to recommend every one of the faculty members brought to her to the board.

PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, Newman Advancement