Every Kenyon faculty member is expected to be an excellent teacher, an available and understanding advisor and mentor to many students, and a productive scholar who is active in his or her discipline of inquiry.
The members of the Natural Sciences Division fully endorse these expectations, while agreeing wholeheartedly with the general observation that meeting them is extremely challenging. With this in mind, the Division believes it is important for us to articulate the special challenges that combining science teaching and research at an elite liberal arts college poses for cutting edge research productivity and publication, particularly for junior faculty members who are seeking appointment without limit. First, it is the responsibility of the faculty member to recognize the way in which models for research in the sciences change as he or she makes the transition from a research university to a small liberal arts college. Ideally, the successful negotiation of this challenge results in the fairly rapid establishment of a sustainable research program. Second, the faculty member must demonstrate competence and active participation in his or her chosen discipline through publication and other forms of scholarly discourse. Finally, the faculty member must meet these aforementioned challenges in light of the high teaching demands and relatively limited resources available at a liberal arts college. We feel it is very important that these challenges and their implications be understood by those who will evaluate the work of scientists at Kenyon, as well as by the scientists being evaluated. The evaluators include the Tenure and Promotions Committee of the faculty, the President, Provost, and Trustees of the College, and outside experts who evaluate Kenyon science departments and programs.
In general, the Division recognizes that individual faculty have differing strengths and resource requirements, and that the dedication to one's field manifests itself in various ways at various times in an individual's career. Certain faculty members may have numerous presentations and fewer publications. A professor could be very up-to-date in the field as a result of ongoing activities at conferences and workshops. Or a professor might have numerous publications and very few presentations. Evaluation of scholarship should consider the full virtue of the person. The whole is sometimes more than the sum of the parts.