Let me take a page out of Scott’s book (Scott’s blog, I suppose… Scott’s blook?), and write a bit about life on the tenure trail. I submitted my materials for my 3rd-year review back in September, and now the process is finally completed! On Friday I got my letter from the Chancellor making my reappointment official. Hooray! I feel the unbearable lightness of being. Ok, so I haven’t exactly been biting my nails down to the wrist lately: I had my meeting with the Dean back in January, & I felt the the unbearable lightness of being after that meeting. In that meeting we discussed the School’s recommendation to the Chancellor (thumbs up) & my colleagues’ advice to me for implementation between now & submitting my tenure materials. This advice can be summed up as follows: more national-level projects, & more theory. Neither of which was a big surprise, & I’m working on both, but it’s still good to have it spelled out explicitly.
For those of you in the audience unfamiliar with the 3rd-year review / reappointment process, let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
- I submit my review materials.
- The personnel committee solicits letters about me from the SILS faculty.
- Members of the faculty write letters to the personnel committee. This step is optional: no faculty member must submit a letter, though most do.
- The personnel committee compiles the faculty’s letters & writes a letter to the Dean.
- The Dean compiles the personnel committee’s & the faculty’s letters & writes a letter to the Chancellor.
- I have my meeting with the Dean.
- Some mysterious process happens and a letter emerges from the Chancellor’s office.
This is an ordinal, not an interval scale: intervals between these integers are not equal or drawn to scale.
The letter from the Chancellor contains this carefully-worded passage:
This reappointment is not to be construed as an indication of the eventual outcome of any phase of future institutional tenure review.
Would that it were so! Well, one review process at a time. And just so there’s no confusion, the letter is careful to point me to the Trustee Policies and Regulations Governing Academic Tenure. Which I’ve already read, thankyouverymuch, and will now pore over with a fine-tooth comb.
Having served on that committee, let me add a couple of steps:
0. Sacrifice 783 trees and many toner cartridges.
2a. Again. And again.
7a. “Any sufficiently advanced bureaucracy is indistinguishable from magic.” (with apologies to Arthur C. Clarke)