Tom Tinsley, September 2021
The Haynesville Project is a three year trial where a stipend of $100,000 will be given to each newly tenured faculty member of the College. If The Project is successful, we hope that it can “migrate” to other Colleges and Universities where we have an affiliation.
My dad – James Tinsley – was born in Haynesville Louisiana in 1924. His father passed in 1937 during the Depression. My father subsequently received scholarships to pursue a degree in History at Baylor University. Famously, in our family lore, part of his work-study obligation was to clean the bear pits where the Baylor mascots resided! During World War II he participated in the Navy’s V-12 College Training Program. He subsequently pursued his master's at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and then his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin (Madison). His doctoral work covered the Progressive Era of American History (1900-1925).
My parents moved to Houston in 1955 and my father taught history at the University of Houston for 42 years. He chaired the History Department for a number of years and also served as the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He received tenure in 1961. When he began the university had 13,000 students and when he retired there were 43,000 students.
My father thought that tenure was one of the most important decisions that a college or university makes. As Chair of the History Department at a growing university he was “on the line” for supporting young faculty members through the tenure process (whether they received it or not). He felt that the tenure decision was partly about respect for the contribution that a professor had made but that the overwhelming majority of the decision was about the potential of the individual to continue to grow and contribute as a scholar.
Cathy and I share that view and we are pleased to make some resources available to our first cohorts of Haynesville Fellows. We look forward to their future contributions as we celebrate their past accomplishments.