I’m going to be too busy to blog much for the next few days. This is partly a matter of it being the end of the term, with lab reports due (drafts tomorrow, the final reports Thursday), and exams (next Thursday), and grading, and an end-of-term push in the lab with one of my research students. But mostly, I’m going to be thinking about seven questions.
The way the tenure process works here is that candidates have two interviews with the ad hoc committee. The first is to meet the committee, and establish a sort of initial context for their fact-finding, while the second interview is to give the candidate a chance to respond to any negative comments from the external reviews of the research materials and the interviews with students and other faculty. The second interview obviously has the potential to be a real carnival of pain, and as a result, the candidates are given the questions that will be asked in advance, and get a few days after the interview to compose and submit written responses to the questions.
There’s a lot of anxiety about the second interview among tenure candidates, and a lot of stress about the list of questions. One colleague put it pretty well, when he inquired as to whether I’d gotten the list yet by asking “So, have all your sins been laid before you?”
My second interview is Wednesday, and I got the list of questions today. There are seven of them, and I’m not going to say what they are, other than to note that they’re all reasonable, and not entirely unexpected. The only surprise is really an omission– they didn’t mention PowerPoint at all, which I hope means nobody said anything negative about it.
Coming up with good answers to those seven questions is going to consume a lot of my mental energy over the next several days. It’s my last chance to directly affect the outcome of the case, so I want to choose my words carefully, and make sure I say the right things, so most of the brain cells I would be using thinking of clever ways to phrase blog posts will be otherwise occupied.
It’s a lot of weight to put on seven questions, but it’s good to be at this stage. If all goes well, I should have a decision before Christmas, and, really, the sooner the better.