When professors reach a certain point in their career, they have the option to receive tenure, which, according to Dictionary.com, is the “status granted to an employee, usually after a probationary period, indicating that the position of employment is permanent.”
Having multiple tenured professors reflects well upon universities and speaks volumes for a school because their staff members choose to stay with them.
Currently, ten professors have attained tenure at Eastern Nazarene College. With recent departmental changes, including the decision to remove the English major, the loss of some of those professors was inevitable.
Dr. Karen Henck and Dr. Marianna Krejci-Papa were both female professors with tenure affected by this change. Both women were let go effective Fall 2018 due to the removal of the English Department.
In addition, Dr. Stacey Barker recently announced her decision to step down as the head of the Social Work Department and will also be leaving ENC. After Dr. Barker’s departure, ENC will no longer have any tenured female faculty members.
It is noteworthy that within the last year, ENC’s first female President, Dr. Corlis McGee, also stepped down. The timing to let go of two tenured female professors could not be more concerning.
According to the faculty manual, once the department in which a professor is tenured is eliminated, the professor technically no longer holds that permanent role. ENC is a small school to begin with. The number of professors employed is not very high, so eliminating those with tenure that are female reflects negatively upon the school at a time when we need a greater diversity of voices on campus.
In today’s world, women continue to fight for access to equal positions and equal pay. Careers for women in the twenty-first century have come a long way. Since the Equal Pay Act of 1963, it is illegal in the United States to pay men and women working in the same place, different salaries for similar work. Hopefully with the loss of two tenured staff members at ENC, some female professors in the remaining departments will receive tenure soon. If not, this could make an impact on the diversity of the ENC staff.