April 10, 2018
Dear Colleagues,

Ever since seeing the 1993 movie, Sankofa , which tells the story of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, I have been struck by the mythical Ghanaian bird and its symbolism: one has to look back to move forward. As we come to the close of yet another academic year, I find myself not only looking back at an extremely productive year , but I am also already looking forward to the good work ahead that will continue to fuel our progress in A&S. We have established Pillars for A&S through Concept 30 , are on-track to have Career Profiles in every department, and we enter the summer in a solid position to have A&S Bylaws .

But with all of our progress, we also know that there is work that continues. One area that you have asked us to reflect on as a community is our reward and promotion process. We have a merit review process that could more effectively send the message that we value your contributions. A merit system where Chairs give one score and the Dean's Office diverges from that score does not serve us in forming a sense of shared values. Thus, as I have communicated, I would like to propose a moratorium on our current review process. My proposal is that we:

  • Freeze merit scores (not salaries) for all directors on the triennial schedule and all tenured faculty in A&S for AY2018-19.
  • Tenured faculty, and directors on the triennial schedule, would still submit a short-form annual report (list of activities and updated CV).
  • Continue annual reviews for pre-tenure faculty and directors in their first five years in AY2018-19, as per the Faculty Handbook.
  • Conduct reviews of any faculty member interested in undergoing review of their AY2017-18 activities (similar to popping up in the triennial system).
  • Review faculty intending to stand for promotion to Full Professor in AY2019-20, who should undergo a process.
  • Complete a robust and comprehensive revision of the Merit Review in AY2018-19 through a shared governance process.

I ask that you consider my proposal for a moratorium on the current merit review process in the manner I have described. I would welcome a motion at Thursday's faculty meeting, including whether to vote in person, or by electronic ballot. By making the Merit Review Process a priority for FY19, I want to affirm that extraordinary faculty and staff lead the instruction and cultivation of the exceptional students selected to join us at UR, and to help move us forward to a better process in the future.

A good friend of mine, a Biologist who is Dean of Natural and Applied Sciences elsewhere, often talks about the “say-do” continuum. We must do what we say, or we lose trust. In the two years since I have been leading A&S, I hope that, by and large, I have demonstrated the “say-do” continuum in my leadership. My efforts to bring transparency to processes – planning, budgetary, the encouragement toward Career Profiles, and so on – are evidence of doing what we say we will do. I solicit your continued input and trust that we are leading toward what is best for the remarkable community of learners and scholars in A&S.

Let’s keep pushing forward, and let’s keep talking, even as we look back at an extremely good year for A&S at UR. Sankofa!
Thank you,
Patrice Rankine
Dean, School of Arts & Sciences
Celebration of Faculty

Please join us in celebrating our colleagues’ accomplishments at the final A&S faculty meeting of the year:

Thursday, April 12
4 – 5 p.m.
Brown-Alley Room

Light refreshments will be provided.

Symposium and Convocation: April 20

We hope you will join us for Honors Convocation at 11 a.m. in the Chapel, where we will recognize outstanding academic accomplishments of our students. For the first time, this year we will present Symposium awards, including the faculty mentor award at this event. The class schedule has been altered to allow all to attend.

This year's Student Symposium takes place from 1–6 p.m. in the Jepson Alumni Center, Modlin Center, and North Court. Nearly 400 students will present throughout the afternoon; we invite all faculty and staff to join us to celebrate knowledge creation and creativity.

Graduation Reception

Join us in celebrating our graduates in the Class of 2018 and their families:

Saturday, May 12
3-5 p.m.
Alice Haynes Room

Refreshments will be provided and families are welcome.


A&S Retreat

Please plan to join us for the A&S retreat on May 14. All faculty and staff are welcome.

Announcing Associate Deans, effective July 1
We are pleased to announce our new team of associate deans.
Division I
Arts, Languages,
and Cultures
Division II
Humanities and Social Sciences
Division III
Natural and Applied Sciences
Thank you to Interim Associate Dean Eric Yellin for his service.
We thank Dr. Eric Yellin for his leadership of Division I in his interim role this year, and for his deft management of the strategic planning process that led to the C30 Pillars. He will return to his work in the Department of History after June 30.
Faculty Farewell
Claudia Ferman, Associate Professor of Latin American, and Film Studies
25 years of service

We wish Claudia well in her retirement.
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