Here at Mystery U, we are evaluated on a calendar year basis, so in early January I turned in an up-to-date CV to our departmental review committee. Then I waited, and waited, and waited some more. Finally, a few weeks ago, I got a chance to see what the review committee thought of me, and I got to meet with the incoming and outgoing departmental chairs. I was actually one of the first people to see my reviews, because at the end of the summer I submit a dossier for the reappointment process. I’ll be in the third year of my three-year contract, and the reappointment process for a second 3-year contract is the way they weed people out pre-tenure. Thus, the chairs meeting was a way for them to give me some feedback while I actually had a semblance of a chance to act on it before submitting my dossier.
As I prepared for the meeting and for seeing my reviews, I wrote an off-the-top-of-my-head self-assessment of my progress to where I think I need to be to get tenure at Mystery U. Below the fold, I’ll share that list (slightly edited for pseudonymity). Later, I’ll tell you how it went down in the meeting.
Good things for my reappointment case
- I have taught five different courses at the introductory through graduate level.
- My teaching evaluations have been OK to good, if not stellar.
- Enrollment in my upper level class increased from its first offering to its second.
- My teaching specialty is in demand at the undergraduate and graduate level because of strong employment growth trends.
- I am the only faculty member with a full teaching load that is teaching in that specialty in our department.
- I have 13 students enrolled in a graduate only course in Fall 2009. This course serves multiple graduate programs and meets a core requirement in one of the programs.
- I am recruiting graduate students. I currently have a PhD student and one MS student, and I have three-four entering MS students in Fall 2009.
- My PhD student has advanced to candidacy, and my MS student was awarded a departmental scholarship.
- I have supervised two undergraduate and two graduate independent studies. One of my undergraduate independent studies won an award at the University’s undergraduate research fair.
- I have served on two search committees (1 faculty, 1 staff) and the host committee for a professional society meeting.
- I have real-name blog posts on -ology that have been read by thousands of people from around the world.
- I am being asked by multiple journals to review papers.
- I am convening a session at a national meeting this year.
- I was an invited speaker at two R1 university departmental seminar series in Spring 2009.
- Papers related to my PhD work are continuing to be published. (I have an h-index of 2.)
- I have actively applied for external funding at the state and federal levels on my own, with collaborators from other universities, and with collaborators from MU.
- I have secured two internal research grants, both of which mark a significant departure from my PhD work.
- I am actively contributing abstracts to the major scientific meetings in my field.
Weaknesses in my reappointment packet:
- Non-stellar teaching evaluations for some of my classes.
- Failure of my graduate students to present their research at regional or national meetings.
- Failure to serve on any standing committees at the department or university level. (In my defense, we haven’t had elections since I’ve been here, and I did run for election for next year, but results are pending.)
- Failure to submit (much less publish) papers that show a clear break from the PhD work.
- Slowness of my publication rate from phd and post-doc work.
- Failure to secure external funding since arriving at MU
- Failure to submit a PI proposal to NSF or similar.
- Failure to have the ability to support graduate students on RA’s during the school year.
Looking forward realistically: I have a steep road to tenure. Biggest hurdles are external funding and publication rate.
- I will have one MU pub submitted this summer or fall, but the work in still in the same geographic region as my PhD work, so I’m afraid it won’t count much in my favor in the “clear departure from PhD” tally.
- I plan to submit an NSF proposal in November with collaborators at MU and possibly one in December, as well.
- Preliminary data being collected on one of my internal grants should generate multiple papers and proposals. Synergy!
- My MS student should finish hir MS by the end of 2010. If (s)he does, I’ll be able to revise hir work into a paper.
- My PhD student should submit one or more papers in the next year. Perhaps I’ll be a co-author there. (Hir work is largely independent of me, making me the advisor in an academic sense, but not so much in the scientific sense.)