Faculty Agency in Applying for Promotion to Professor

Susan K. Gardner, Amy Blackstone
Journal for the Study of Postsecondary and Tertiary Education  •  Volume 2  •  2017  •  pp. 059-075
Aim/Purpose: In the United States, faculty who wish to pursue promotion to the rank of professor do so without clear guidance or structure. Even the timing of such a process is nebulous. As such, an individual engages in agentic action to pursue the rank.

Background: This study examined the experiences of faculty members who chose to pursue the application process to be promoted to professor but were rejected or dissuaded.

Methodology: Utilizing a case study of one institutional setting, we conducted 10 in-depth qualitative interviews.

Contribution: Very little is known about the process of promotion to full professor in the U.S. and even less empirical research exists. This study advances knowledge of the process and the experiences of those undertaking it.

Findings: We learned that cues from the social context greatly influenced these faculty members’ sense of agency.
promotion, faculty rank, agency
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