e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu


tenure, part two

Day two of working on the tenure portfolio. Some observations:
  • The university-wide format does not always allow for easy articulation of the work of humanists. I can see how some of the categories that represent the work of scientists can cause anxiety. I have nothing to put under patents, licensures, synergistic activities (the example given in the tenure guidelines literature: "developed a methodology for modeling and analysis of system robustness"... err, I haven't done that), or technical reviews. Does that make me look weak? Conversely, I find myself relegating some work--writing entries for encyclopedias, chairing the 4Cs nominating committee--to "other" sections.
  • One requirement in the teaching section involves creating a table showing enrollment in all of your classes. When you teach writing classes with low caps, your record looks lightweight next to, say, a psychologist who teaches big lecture courses. Further, involvement in interdisciplinary programs like first-year seminars, women's studies, honors, and the m.a. in liberal studies further lowers your "numbers."
  • Stuff you did before you got to your current institution doesn't matter very much. I'm sure this varies school-to-school, but around here, it's all about what you've done while on faculty at UMD, particularly in research and publication. I get the rationale: show that you can be a good academic in your present climate; your publications "brand" your present institution (Professor X is on faculty at university Y). Seems to me, though, that *ongoing* contributions also matter, especially for faculty hired at the advanced assistant level.

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