Apologies that this is late, we had a family emergency yesterday that involved phrases like emergency room and immediate surgery. The patient is fine, was released yesterday into my custody, and had best be following physician instructions about resting.

But I did lose a day so let’s pretend for my sake that it is still Tuesday.

Last week I did a presentation at Computers in Libraries, so today’s topic is how that does/does not help my tenure bid.  It counts in a well-sorta kind of way.

Conference presentations count in one of two ways. If one is presenting a paper, it counts more on the research side of things. Juried conferences are preferred. Ideally said presented paper would then lead to a publication in a peer reviewed journal, of course, but it’s understood that not everything at conferences makes its way into print (or e).  It’s one of the reasons medical librarians particularly spend a lot of time learning how to access what is called “gray literature”–which includes conference proceedings, posters, many government reports and other things that are interesting and certainly may move medicine forward but aren’t in a nice neat JAMA article.

Otherwise, giving a conference presentation counts as service, which is considered one of the easier areas to excel in.  It still counts, but holds a lot less weight.  Conference presentations are not what the external reviewers are particularly concerned about and they’re not valued as highly by the other faculty as they might be within the library community. However, giving these presentations builds national reputation, finds me other people to collaborate with, spurs conversations that certainly come back to work, makes work look shiny, may possibly prompt publications, so on and so forth.  There’s value, it’s just not necessarily the end product.

This is rather different from most of the other tenure track faculty that I know about.  I know at SUNY Potsdam and UT-Chattanooga more weight is granted for national presentations (or local/state presentations).  It’s one of the differences/challenges of being at an R1.

Question for the readers:  If you’re tenure track, how does a conference presentation count for you?

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Wednesday.