This is another in an ongoing series of profiles of faculty members who have recently achieved tenure. These profiles are intended to provide illustrations of how some faculty reach that goal.
The faculty tenure process, while arduous, offers benefits to those who undergo it.
“Preparing for tenure was not an annoying task to get over, but a process that helped me learn and grow,” said An-Lin Cheng, associate professor. “And, being tenured is certainly not the end of the journey – it is the beginning of the next chapter.”
After completing her Ph.D. in statistics at the University of Georgia, Athens and a post-doctoral fellowship in biostatistics at Yale University in 2006, Cheng joined the faculty at the UMKC School of Nursing.
Preparing for the tenure application was a busy period, which occurred while Cheng was developing two biostatistics courses for their Ph.D. program. However, the end of the process was not as difficult as the beginning.
“The most challenging part was the beginning of the process. Not only was I getting used to the UMKC environment, I was switching roles from a student to a teacher, researcher and faculty member.”
As the only statistician, Cheng and the school also faced a new learning process. What otherwise could have been overwhelming, was easier because of the support system for new faculty.
“One previous senior faculty – Dr. Maithe Enriquez – served as my mentor. She helped me set annual goals and made sure I had resources and time to achieve those goals,” said Cheng. “To juggle between projects, she recommended that I set deadlines for each, divide them into tasks and prioritize those into daily activities.”
Each day prior to leaving the office, Cheng followed her mentor’s advice – making sure she completed her daily activities.
“I do love what I do. I cannot wait to go to the office, start a new day and new challenge. I still feel the same even after accomplishing the personal achievement of tenure.”
Cheng has published in professional journals, including the “Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease” and the “Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference.” She also is a founding member of SON’s Diversity task force, charged with changing the cultural climate and celebrating diversity. She named the task force “Gai Bian” – “change” in Mandarin.