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Tenure Tips

Tomorrow's Academic Careers

Message Number: 



Susan Taylor, executive director of the Faculty Association of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia reports that if left to their own devices, most faculty will NOT do an adequate job when it comes to finding out about promotion and ten ure. 

Taylor is responsible for a program that takes some of the mystery out of the renewal, promotion and tenure process. The central element of the program is a day-long session at the beginning of the Fall semester for new and tenure-track faculty. 

Below are the key points with respect to tenure process made by members of the Faculty Association?s panel at a recent information session. 

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Tenure Tips 

? Keep in mind that the university did hire you in the first place. They did so at a time when they were able to be pretty selective, so they most likely want to keep you. 

? I kept hearing the research-teaching-service mantra. Let?s see, was it 40/40/20 or something else? Had I done enough on each every month? At some point you have to just stop worrying and say this is all you can do. But of course you ke ep worrying. 

? Try to add something to your CV every month. Doing so forces you to think about what you have accomplished and to look at the kind of story you want to tell about your career. 

? Pay attention to the presentation of your CV as well as the content. Remember, it is going to be seen by people outside your field and it says something about how you are organized and how well you think. 

? Explain to students at course evaluation time the significance of what they are about to do in your promotion and tenure process. You shouldn?t solicit support for your application for tenure, but it is important for students to realize that they are not writing private notes to you, that what they say can have a real impact on your future. 

? You need to be seen as a good citizen of the department. Doing so means you are going to feel a tension between speaking up or going along. Many times you need to put your oar in the water with everyone else, but there are times when the cour age of your convictions, well presented, can add important dimension to your colleagues? understanding of your contribution to the department. 

? Do double-duty wherever possible. Combine your work with graduate students and directed studies courses, with the kind of research you are doing. Go to conferences and come out with names and research ideas. Bring speakers to campus; it gives both of you visibility and it gives you a good future contact. 

? Find a mentor. Stay away from current chairs, they are too busy anyway. But an ex-chair is ideal. 

? Take your holidays for Pete?s sake! Nobody notices if you don?t. But you will notice when everyone comes back rested and refreshed and you are ready to collapse! 


What are the experiences at your institution? Obviously every school, indeed every department is different. Loolking forward to hearing from you. 

Rick Reis