Getting Tenure

book cover

I just finished Getting Tenure by Marcia Whiker, Jennie Konenfeld, and Ruth Stickland. Although it was written in 1993 it seemed remarkably relevant in its concerns and evaluations of the process of getting tenure. It did a good job of evaluating different scenarios and gave many good principles for organizing a bid for tenure. Some of the key points which are elaborated on nicely are:

  • Tenure is a political process
    • Tenure criteria are vague
    • Tenure is a peer-review process
    • Aggressively manage your image as well as your substance
  • Tenure requires research
    • Researchers are scalpels (deep and narrow), shotguns (broad and shallow) or helices (playing P.R. and research off of each other)
    • Wait till after tenure to write books
    • Write everyday regularly to avoid cramming
  • Tenure requires teaching
    • Teach to your strengths
    • Leverage teaching for research
    • Take student criticisms very seriously
  • Tenure requires service
    • Definition of "service" varies widely
    • Doesn't include paid gigs
    • Avoid policy battles
    • Limit service pre-tenure to departmental citizenship roles
    • Watch out if you are a minority about being the token rep. for everything
  • There are many paths to tenure
    • The superstar: Rare superachiever
    • The on-time steady producer: "No problems here"
    • The bounce-around path: Took a while to find their niche
    • The fail and try-again path: Common for young professors at elite schools
    • The late career practitioner path: Professor as a second career
    • The late career child-rearing path: Professor as a post-mommy career
  • The ten commandments of Tenure
    • Publish, publish,publish
    • View tenure as a political process
    • Find out the tenure norms
    • Document everything
    • Rely on your record, not protection
    • Reinforce research with teaching and service
    • Do not run the university until after tenure
    • Be a good departmental citizen
    • Manage your professional image
    • Develop a marketable record
  • Keep records of every activity you attempt for the tenure portfolio
  • Understand how every activity you undertake fits into your tenure case

(Stuff That I've Read For "Fun") Permanent Link made 10:00 AM | TrackBacks (0)

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