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Bartee first black professor to be awarded tenure and promotion in department

UM professor and program coordinator RoSusan Bartee became the first black person to be tenured and promoted to full professor in the Department of Leadership and Counselor Development in July.
Jared Burleson

Educational scholar RoSusan Bartee became the first black individual awarded tenure and promoted to full professorship in July in the Department of Leadership and Counselor Development, but her work was for more than attention and accolades.

“My work was not strictly for tenure and promotion,” Bartee said. “It was about being able to position myself to impact the lives of others, and it just so happens I’m doing it here at The University of Mississippi.”

Bartee was not aware she was the first black person to accomplish this until after her promotion. She said this was not her goal when she began the process and it did not matter to her if she was the first to do this.

“I think that that becomes a by-product of the tenure promotion process,” Bartee said. “It is about how I can maximize the talents that I’ve been given, the resources that I have access to and the opportunities (in) which I am engaging in a way to benefit the masses of people.”

This achievement is the culmination of a seven-year process, according to Bartee. For the first five years, the faculty member engages in scholarly research, teaching and service. At the end of the fifth year, a dossier is submitted, and during the sixth year, it is reviewed by the respective department and several other levels of higher learning. A decision is made in the final year, depending on the quality of work submitted in the dossier. On July 1, Bartee successfully concluded this process and was awarded tenure and promotion to full professorship.

Post-graduate research assistant Ayana Johnson, who had Bartee as her mentor while she finished her doctoral program in the department, said she feels a black person earning full professorship is “long overdue,” but Bartee is well-deserving of the position, regardless of her race.

Bartee may consider the matter of her race insignificant, but she said she was honored and humbled because this promotion signifies a higher level of responsibility.

“I think it’s definitely one of those things that is demanding because now there is a greater responsibility while I am here, but is also very elating because it is definitely a professional and personal accomplishment to have acquired,” Bartee said.

Alum Christin Gates and current doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said Bartee’s accomplishments are encouraging both personally and for future women who aspire to achieve tenure. Bartee’s promotion is also important because of the recent anniversary of the university’s integration in October 1962.

“It’s definitely monumental,” Gates said. “This year is monumental, period. You have Dr. Bartee, you have (Courtney) Pearson, Kimbrely (Dandridge).”

“It couldn’t have happened during a better year.”