Last Tuesday evening, Bellevue College’s first official tenure reception was held in honor of six newly-tenured faculty members. The reception served as a formal way to acknowledge the accomplishment of these faculty members in completing the extensive three-year tenure process, and to celebrate the occasion together with their committee members, peers and family.
The program for the evening was introduced by Tom Nielson, the Vice President of Instruction at BC.
For those unfamiliar with the term, “tenure,” Nielson began the reception with a brief explanation of tenure and its process at the college. He defined tenure according to Washington State as the legal position giving faculty a secure position at their academic institution.
Nielson then outlined the three-year process recently finished by the six professors. As new faculty, they had first been assigned each to a tenure evaluation subcommittee of their peers, who helped to assimilate them into the life of the college. These subcommittees submitted the faculty member’s yearly documentation to a tenure review committee (TRC), which was then responsible for reviewing this documentation and making recommendations to the president as to their continuation. During their third year at the college, the TRCs would then make a final recommendation to a board of trustees for the new faculty member to be tenured.
Following Nielson’s introduction, Interim President Laura Saunders also offered her congratulations before introducing the six recently tenured faculty members: Ryan Bauer, Tonya Estes, Gina Fiorini, Samantha Girard, Mausumi Maulik and Daniel Mitchell. A member from each faculty member’s subcommittee was present to say a few words on their behalf before inviting them to individually express their thanks.
Though unable to attend in person, Bauer was acknowledged for his valuable additions to the mathematics department. Estes from the developmental education department was recognized for her tremendous role in turning the ABE program around at BC.
Estes confessed that she loves BC and has been able to do so much as part of the faculty. “I’ve been awarded money to do research, I’ve built raised beds; opportunities abound here,” she said.
Fiorini from the chemistry department also voiced her appreciation for her position saying, “I love the colleagues… the best part about working here is the people.”
Girard was commended for beginning her Ph.D. while working as a part of the nursing program at BC. Maulik from the math department was recognized for her dedication to learning and positive attitude throughout the tenure process.
Last, Mitchell from the chemistry department expressed his appreciation for the tenure reception, saying that it “embodies the positive environment of Bellevue College.”
The reception was concluded by Douglas Brown, President of the Bellevue College Faculty Association, who reminded the tenured faculty to remember their responsibility to continue taking risks and learning as permanent faculty.
Saunders said that this event was a special one, being the first of its kind, and expressed the intent that such an event be held to recognize faculty every year. She said, “Tenure is such an important transition both for the individual faculty member as well as for the life of the college.”