Several people have asked about where I am in the tenure process and I thought it might be good to do an update if you’re joining in more recently.  We will pause for a brief moment of wow-time-moves-fast as I realize I’ve been writing this almost weekly update for 18 months now.  When I hit tenure, I may just Lulu it all up and y’all can read it in print (note to self, make sure we have Walt Crawford’s micropublishing book for 3.5 years from now).

I am just now at the end of my 2Y year.  This counts as the second year on my tenure clock, my first six months having only counted as pre-tenure-clock time.  Starting on August 16, I’ll be on 3Y time.

During the course of the Fall 2013 semester, I have to prepare slightly more than  a half inch of paperwork, which comes with about 2 inches worth of instructions.  In that will be, of most importance, my teaching/librarianship; research; and service statements–page long-ish things that are supposed to define me. These will be in draft with about 3000 edits between now and December. By the time I turn them in they will probably look nothing like anything I usually write.  At least, these are the horror stories I hear from friends going through the process.

Also over the course of the semester a few things will happen:

  • Someone will observe my teaching. I have to start submitting times when I’ll be teaching to someone, not sure who yet, and we’ll figure out a date/time.  On one hand, this won’t be too hard, I have the Dentistry students –but I’m not sure if my co-taught classes “count.” Especially the ones where I’m not lead.  Beyond that I have a couple of other classes arranged so far for this fall and more looming on the horizon.
  • Peers will be interviewed about my librarianship.  This is a pulled-into-a-room-and-asked-questions kind of interview with people taking furious notes. I’ve participated in one and, honestly,  it was a pleasure to point out to the note-takers everything that I was aware that the coworker in question was doing. I know I brought up things that they didn’t realize were on coworker’s plate.  I hope my coworkers feel the same speaking about me.  I’m not sure if they’ll speak to Dentistry, I’m going to be giving them some names.
  • I’ll meet at least monthly, if not more frequently with my research mentor–as always. Thank heavens for Madame Mentor (*waves* she reads the blog).  She’s given me permission (orders?) twice now to STOP DOING THINGS when it’s stuff that I just cannot mentally/emotionally handle right now in my research world.
  • I’ll meet at least monthly, probably with increasing frequency with my paperwork mentor, one of our other AULs. I promised him drafts too long ago of those statements and I need to set a meeting so I have to get them started and we can start picking them apart.

I don’t have a lot of control over the process. There are not clear deadlines.  I still am not sure if the paperwork that I have in hand at the moment is actually what will have to be submitted in December.

One piece I have a little control over: I have the option to ask that they not include people in my Librarianship Review Committee.  The goal with this is to permit us to opt out anyone where we feel they would be strongly biased against us. Now, this also exposes to the University Librarians where I might feel there are giant issues and/or a junior faculty feels threatened by someone in a position of power. Granted, that person still has a vote if they are already tenured, but it’s something.  I won’t lay out my response email, but I will note that for me, it’s more a concern of people who have no idea what I do all day because I’m at the health science library. I would be somewhat similarly concerned if I were trying to evaluate many of the people at the main library or at one of the Regional libraries.

And this comes to my department where we’re short staffed, where I’m juggling two liaison schools and managing three student employees (losing 2, so I’m hiring right now), where we start the search to replace one of the two dept heads soon, and where this week I thought it would be a brilliant idea to try partnering with one of the dentistry research labs on a grant.

All this plus weekly meetings with my research partners, who are wonderful tremendous women.

If the Philosopher asks me for a picture to remember what I look like in November, no one should be surprised.