The New Generation of Classic Short Stories

Vol. 13, No. 2

An English Professor

by Ha Jin

Finally Rusheng Tang could relax, having turned in the materials for his tenure evaluation—three large files: one for research, the second for teaching, and the third for service. To get the promotion after being an assistant professor for seven years, he had to be excellent in one of the three areas and very good in the other two. Among the three, research was the most important, though his school was basically a teaching college. He was neither an exceptional teacher, nor had he done a lot of service. He'd sat on two departmental committees and each spring helped run the students' writing contest. He didn't excel in research either, but he was lucky because a manuscript of his had recently been accepted by the SUNY Press. The monograph would be a slender volume on some divisions between male and female Asian American writers. It was not a substantial piece of scholarship, but the editor at the press had written to assure him that they'd bring out the book the next spring—a year from now. Rusheng made a copy of the official letter and included it in his research file. He had already started a second book, which was about the use of cultural heritages among Asian American authors, and he had even placed the first chapter of this project with a journal. Some of his tenured colleagues, especially the few who had begun teaching three decades before, had never published a book, and so Rusheng felt he was in decent shape—his case should be solid.

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