Timothy K. Eatman Coming to Campus for Empower Now 22-27

Social scientist-educator to discuss strategic goals for faculty promotion and tenure policies

OXFORD, Miss. – Renowned social scientist and educator Timothy K. Eatman will be the featured speaker during an April 11 strategic discussion and planning session at the University of Mississippi.

The event, hosted by the UM Council on Community Engagement, is directly tied to the university’s strategic plan, Empower Now 22-27. Open to faculty, administrators and staff, the discussion begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Johnson Commons Ballroom.

An educational sociologist, Eatman is the inaugural dean of the Honors Living-Learning Community and professor of urban education at Rutgers University at Newark.

“This event is the next step in a multiyear process that was conceptualized in 2018 as part of UM’s 10-year plan for institutionalizing community engagement,” said Cade Smith, assistant vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement. “We want to create a process where community-engaged faculty can share their thoughts on needed tenure policy revisions and where more traditional scholars can share their concerns about potential revisions to promotion and tenure policies.

“We hope to leave the workshop with a better understanding of potential paths forward for determining how UM may appropriately recognize and value community-engaged scholarship and how this may differ across departments and disciplines.”

After earning Carnegie Community Engagement Classification in 2020, the university hosted the first iteration of this conversation in 2021. The speaker was Lorilee Sandmann, an emeritus professor of lifelong education, administration and policy at the University of Georgia, who discussed community-engaged scholarship.

“UM’s commitment to this outcome was then evidenced in the Empower Now 22-27 strategic goal and objective to ‘establish institutional processes for appropriately recognizing and valuing community-engaged partnerships in faculty reward, promotion and tenure,'” Smith said.

During the summer of 2022, Ole Miss faculty and administrators traveled to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of North Carolina at Greensboro to study and learn how these institutions’ recognition of community engagement in faculty promotion and tenure evolved over time.

“Our work advancing community engagement at UM includes learning from colleagues at other universities,” Smith said. “After learning from leading public scholars and administrators from UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Greensboro, UMass-Boston and University of Georgia, Dr. Eatman was identified as the someone with the knowledge, skills and experiences to lead this phase of our learning.”

The Council on Community Engagement is responsible for advancing community engagement and maintaining the university’s Carnegie Community Engagement accreditation. One of the Carnegie Foundation’s challenges to accredited institutions is to appropriately recognize community-engaged scholarly activities in the faculty promotion and tenure process.