Every university handles tenure differently and there doesn’t seem to be particular consistency through any type of university. Here’s how things are handled for me.

From when I started at the university, I have six years to gain tenure.  This timeline is deceptive though.

I started in December and part of my negotiations was that I came in as 0Y (Zero Y). This is not extremely unusual for new faculty, I’m told, when you’re coming in several months into the school year. It meant that I had several months to get my feet under me, learn what was going on, and shift my brain over to academic library from public library. My clock officially started ticking last August, when I became 1y.  I’ll advance to 2Y and so on over the next few years.

My first formal review will come during my third year (3y). At that point in time, I face an internal review by the tenured (and tenure track? I should ask about that) faculty of the library.  They will review what I’ve done to meet the tenure requirements thus far and decide if I have demonstrated enough capability that they feel confident to let me continue. There is a vote–for me that should come around early spring of 2014. Assuming I pass that vote, I’ll get specific suggestions on things that I need to do to ensure that my tenure bid is successful.

At the start of my 5th year, we do the whole thing over again, only moreso.  I spend the fall semester pulling together ALL THE PAPERWORK and there’s another vote in early spring of 2016.  Once I successfully pass that vote, I spend the following few months finalizing the campus paperwork, which goes in during the fall of my sixth year. That gets voted on in the spring and somewhere around July 2017 I would officially advance to being an Associate Professor.  I’m not quite clear on the full Professor process, but I have a few years to work that out.

Our tenure is evaluated on three years: Research and Scholarship, Librarianship, and Service.

Research and Scholarship comes with being part of an R1 institution and ties into the whole publish or perish portion of the game. A review that was done by the institution in 2002 showed that the top 8% of published librarians were averaging three peer reviewed articles during the time they attained tenure process.  The goal I’ve heard is 3-5, with a strong preference for 5 if you can do it.

Librarianship is evaluated by my peers, though I will probably also ask that they speak to the College of Dentistry as those are colleagues that I work quite regularly with.  My teaching falls into this category.  I will be reviewed during teaching sessions, expected to turn in teaching evaluations, etc.

Service is a broad category, with a view both inside and outside of the institution. It is expected that we will participate and be active at the local, regional, and national level. This can include refereeing for journals, being on committees, developing continuing education programs, etc.  Pretty much anything that doesn’t fall into the other two categories easily goes  here.

While the latter two after definitely important, what’s stressed the most is the research and publications.  It’s generally assumed that you will succeed in the other two areas, but getting the publications out the door can be the sticky problem.

So those are the requirements. Next week I’ll talk about institutional support.  Please let me know if you have any questions or if something wasn’t clear.