As UIW closes another academic year, the university bids farewell to a number of faculty who have devoted much of their careers and lives to the home that is Incarnate Word. Some of these faculty members have received one of the greatest honors bestowed by the university: the status of professor emeritus or emerita.
This spring, retiring faculty members Judy Broughton, professor emerita of interior design; Dr. Henry Elrod, professor emeritus of accounting; John Lodeck, professor emeritus of interior design; Dr. Mary Ruth Moore, professor emerita of education; Dr. Gary Norgan, professor emeritus of nursing; Sr. Eilish Ryan, CCVI, professor emerita of religious studies; Dr. Sally Said, professor emerita of Spanish; Dr. Matthias Schubnell, professor emeritus of English; and Dr. Keith Tucker, professor emeritus of psychology; were awarded the honor.
These faculty members joined a prestigious rank of more than 100 who have been awarded the title in the university’s long history.
“The honor is one that is common in higher education to recognize long service to the institution,” said UIW Provost Kathleen Light.
Emeritus or emerita is granted to retiring faculty who receive the title in recognition of length and quality of service at UIW. Faculty with the distinction must have served 10 tenured years or at least 15 total years at the university.
Light explained that the Faculty Handbook states that upon retirement, the dean of the college or school of which the faculty member teaches may send a request to the provost to award the title. The university’s Rank and Tenure Committee submits their recommendation for rank and tenure to the provost as well. The provost then submits the recommendation to UIW’s board of trustees for approval.
Being named emeritus or emerita comes with certain university privileges to encourage retired faculty to continue actively participating in the life of the Incarnate Word community. Some of these benefits include: use of the university email address; receipt of The Word Today, UIW’s daily employee newsletter, and The Word, the official alumni magazine; UIW id; parking privileges; permanent transfer of UIW computers at time of retirement for home use; participation in UIW seminars, colloquia, lectures, exhibitions and other scholarly pursuits; and preference in part-time teaching opportunities; among others.
“I came to see emerita as a way to continue scholarly work, both in access to library resources and in maintaining a connection to the university as part of my academic identity,” shared Said, who has taught at UIW for 28 years.
The title carries substantial meaning beyond the perks it allows.
“Emeritus status is the icing on the cake of a wonderful career in higher education,” said Norgan, who has been with UIW for 27 years. “It shows that my colleagues in the university recognize my devotion to this institution and the values that underlie it.”
Moore, who has been at Incarnate Word for 23 years, concurred, “I will always be a part of UIW now. It says that the work we do here is of lasting importance and will not be forgotten.”
Dr. Dick McCracken, dean of alumni emeritus, has served Incarnate Word in many capacities since 1964. As emeritus, he represents a vital connection between the Incarnate Word of the past and the university today.
“I have been here for a long time,” said McCracken. “It is helpful when you can remember things where others can’t and be connected to alumni and those who have been associated with Incarnate Word.”
Some faculty members remain tied to the university through projects or organizations. For example, Moore will continue to work on initiatives related to UIW’s Frost Play Research Collection at the Mabee Library. Said, who was involved in the creation of the Headwaters at Incarnate Word organization, has been appointed to its board, and she expects to work with Dr. Amalia Mondriguez, UIW professor of modern languages, in updating the Spanish for Health Care Providers course and developing a Spanish for Physicians course at UIW. Norgan will continue to participate in a nursing faculty group at Incarnate Word.
Though the distinction is a tremendous honor, the most important part of being emeritus or emerita may be in remaining a part of something more profound, a legacy of community.
“The emerita designation means a lot to me because it allows me to maintain an active link with UIW and with colleagues,” said Ryan, who hopes to continue teaching part time at the university like a number of retired faculty before her. “After 36 years, the university is an important part of my life story.”
By Brance Arnold ’10 MA