meta advice for getting tenure

Apr 06 2017 Published by under Uncategorized

Make your chair you ally.

It is not about love/hate relationship.

It is not about being angry with your chair or with other men.

In the end it is not at all about what you feel.

An older woman, who rejoined academia, and is now an assistant professor at the age of 50+ came to see me. I didn't even have to hear the words. I heard the tone. She is angry. She is pissed. She is an invisible older woman who is doing generally very good things.

So the first thing I asked her is: do you want to get tenure? That matters. Life is one long cost-benefit decision. If you don't want tenure, you can do whatever you want to whom ever you want and be as angry as you like. But if you want tenure, you can't. Its that simple. Yes, yes, there are marvelous brilliant fucking snowflake geniuses who can do whatever they want. We are not them. At least, I'm not, nor was the woman in my office.

Do you want tenure?

Then there is one piece of meta-advice, one meta-criterion: make your chair your ally. A bit on meta-criteria: it makes the laundry list of little things to do go away. Just ask yourself: does this advance the meta-criterion? For writing grants, its make the reviewer your ally. For getting tenure, its often (but not always) make the chair your ally. Yes, of course, you have to publish and get funded.

Fighting with your chair does not make it past the meta-criterion. It just doesn't.  When you've got something you want to do, and you chair disagrees, fighting is not going to work. Persuading your chair. Working towards understanding with your chair: these are acceptable and possibly successful, strategies.

This is the first part... because its an ongoing thing.

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