Category: Open Tenure

Open Access Tenure: Peer Review +1

A couple of years ago we started the data entry process; more than a year ago the writing process; and a couple of weeks ago I heard rumors of pre-prints.

Tuesday, I had my first peer-reviewed article published.

Goben A. Raszewski R. The data life cycle applied to our own data. J Med Libr Assoc. 2015 Jan;103(1):40-4. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.103.1.008.

And JMLA is a gold open access journal, so everyone can read it.

I have my own PubMed abstract page (that will get the PMC link eventually):  I’m excited to use it as an example for my students.  Yes, the *librarian* shows up in PubMed.

I hope you’ll read it.  The summary is: librarians need hands on experience with data to improve data management skills; librarians have LOTS and LOTS of data lying about, particularly in such things like reference desk metrics; we can use the latter to help us with the former and one learns a whole lot.

Rebecca Raszewski is a pleasure to have as a research partner. And apparently she doesn’t mind me too much, as we’re already working on another project.

One down, more to go…

Open Access Tenure: There is Never Enough Time

I can always tell when I’m especially tired, my blog drafts all start with some variation of the opening line to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

“It is a truth universally acknowledged….”

Today, that ends with “that a junior tenure track faculty member must be in want of more time.”

Odd, all the research that we do and no one has quite figured out how to add an extra 8 hours to Tuesday or put a pause on the clock.  In a recent meeting, a colleague made a very salient point: From Halloween to the end of December, minutes only have 25 seconds each.  Many days it feels that way.

And fall is a time of new ideas and initiatives, the majority of which seem to require meetings if not committees.  Projects are underway.  My two new coworkers have jumped in wholeheartedly and we’re seeing a lot of expanded engagement in colleges and departments from them. One, LabMouse, has been keeping me on track to make sure that our data consults and workshops are getting more traction. We know there are lots of people out there looking for help and we’ve got a lot of new opportunities. I have an increasing number of items on my calendar that read “Data Mgmt Consult/Workshop w/….” It’s pretty exciting all around. Slightly overwhelming though…

A discussion among my department turned the other day to what we do, or wish we could do, to make home life a little easier.  None of us presently have small children–either high school+ or no children. And so we weren’t trying to add that to the mix, but each of us mentioned different things we did or things we wished for. It reminded me of a presentation for tenure-track female faculty that I heard about a couple of years ago that led with the tenured professor’s best piece of advice in three words: “Get Domestic Help.”  Her argument was that it was better to find the money to pay someone so that you could spend the time with your friends and family or working on your research.

Time versus money, it’s a balance we’re always juggling.  For example: I take the Purple Line rather than the Metra every day because, while it’s a longer trip, it’s far less expensive. Also, I’d still have to take the Pink Line or a CTA bus every day in addition to the Metra–it’s not a one to one switch.  And the Philosopher is not at ease with the idea of someone coming in to clean. I’m not sure I am either. On one hand, it sounds wonderful, but it’s a trust issue and I’m just not sure I could add the guilt of “did I clean up enough before the cleaning person came.” Because I would feel guilty.

The time saver that I shared with my department was getting grocery delivery. As the Philosopher and I were trying to figure out eating more healthy foods, avoiding the call-for-a-pizza syndrome, etc, the prospect of intense grocery shopping lay before me. Now, in addition to figuring out recipes and menus and a grocery list and managing the pantry, I’d need to more frequently add a couple of hours of hitting the grocery, buying things, getting it home, finding parking and then getting it up three flights of stairs.  Enter Peapod. We started almost a year ago. Now, I keep a running order on the website–Philosopher and I both have the app on our phones–and about once a month I hit submit and a very nice man shows up in a designated time window with my groceries. I carry them up the stairs (they would delivery into the apt but I don’t feel like troubling them with the cats), put them away, and it’s done.

This doesn’t work for everyone; when I mentioned it the other day on Twitter a new mom I know pointed out that grocery shopping was her alone time. And it doesn’t fix the need to run by the grocery or farmers market for fresh fruits and veggies or whatever it was we forgot to order. But my time can focus rather than walking aisles to sorting out things I want to cook. I have an Evernote folder of recipes, I’m using my cookbooks more, and I’m not having to find an evening that the Philosopher and I are both home and have 2 hours just to orchestrate a grocery run. While I wait for the order to arrive in a two hour window, I can get a lot of other chores done at home.

Peapod is not available in a lot of places. But I think similar sorts of things are starting to crop up in many markets. A couple of people have asked me about cost comparison. From what I have paid attention to, it’s seemed fairly equivalent to the grocery stores near me. There are a lot of specials and they have a Peapod generic brand that works for canned beans and such–though as with all generic/house brands, there are times I find the other brands more cheaply available on the site.  And often I get coupons for free delivery in my email, so I mostly just need to pay attention and save those for the next round of shopping.

I share this with you to perhaps give you permission/impetus to try online grocery shopping, if it’s available in your area. Peapod’s been cheerfully sending me a “share with your friends and they get $20 off their first order”  ( my bias: I get $ off my next order if you do) so there’s that link if you’d like to take advantage of that.

But I’m curious what your time and sanity saver tips are? What do you do to squeeze out a little more time?


Open Access Tenure: Waiting Game

There have been a couple of inquiries about where things are, what I’ve heard, etc.

In short, I’ve heard nothing.

It’s one of those things that went so firmly on back burner the second my papers were turned in that getting asked surprised me. After a January spent updating all of my files, February was the month of keeping candidates straight (18 in person interviews, where I spent anywhere between 30-180+ minutes with each candidate), and now suddenly it’s mid-March and the vote is tomorrow. Once the library p&t committee is through the vote, I’m not sure the process, but I’m sure someone will start sending me information shortly thereafter. And, if all goes well, I’ll get to proceed for another 18 months towards the next tenure review.

In the interim, I’ve been dealing with edits of one of my manuscripts and feeling guilty about a manuscript that I haven’t touched in more than six weeks and really guilty about a research partner whose most recent deadlines went whooshing by and I felt helpless to try and even make an effort.

Most of my attention recently has been trying to sort out some things for LITA Education and also dig back out from being out of my office and in front of candidates so much for a month. This week [she said, looking around and preparing to duck] is a lot quieter than most of my weeks have been since the beginning of the year and I actually feel like I’m making a dent in some of the backlog. Let’s not pretend I’m about to be all caught up and bored, but at least the possibility of treading water is coming.

Next week I’m traveling to Research Data Access and Preservation. I recalled that I’d be traveling soon over the weekend and then wondered why I felt so disconnected from the conference. I realized why, eventually–this is the first national library conference I’ve been to in about three years where I wasn’t either giving a presentation, leading a committee, or on the planning committee. The other two exceptions were the Data Literacy conference I attended at Purdue last fall (pulled a planned poster due to co-author leaving my institution) and the Stats conference I listened in on (not a library conference, trust me, though librarians should be there). As with my trip to Woods Hole last May for the Bioinformatics Course, I’m thrilled to be going and just learning and enjoying the presentations and networking with colleagues. It does mean that I haven’t done a whole lot of preparation for the meeting though… Oh well, I’ve got clean clothes and a 3 hour plane ride to sort that out, right?

Then it’s back to the grind here and I must tell you all the details of the upcoming preconference I’m presenting in Vegas…

Open Access Tenure: Read my 3Y Papers

Last week I promised you my 3Y paperwork so that you could see the forms I’ve filled out and the statements I’ve written.  I’ve redacted only a couple of works in progress that I’m not quite ready to share with the world and papers that weren’t generated by me (letters of support, statements from other people).  But if you’d like to wade through all of it, you’re welcome to do so here: That link will be up until September, after that, you can send me an email if you’d like to see them.

Now that everything has gone in, I’m amazed to realize that we’re already at the end of January and that I really haven’t done as much as I’d planned for the first month of the year. The weather certainly hasn’t helped but here we are nearly to February and I feel like I’m coming out of a fugue state and trying to now play catch up. And of course, email and meetings don’t take many days off.

Getting through this far feels like I should now have a break, and in theory I do as my next round of papers won’t become a giant headache for another 18 months, but in practice I have a lot to do.  Assuming everything goes well, I’ll be getting feedback on things I should be improving before my 5Y paperwork deadlines so there will be areas to work on and those works in progress should really be moving over to the works published column.

Hope that you are staying warm and dry wherever it is you’re reading from!

Open Access Tenure: Other Duties as Assigned & Paperwork

The last couple of weeks have been a different type of prep for me.  The College of Dentistry is undergoing their re-accreditation. We’re three years into a new curriculum, so we’re on the last year of the DDS program and have to address things for both.

While I was only somewhat involved with the document preparation for the self-study, providing some numbers and paragraphs on what I do with the college, I will be very involved when the committee is here next week. I’m sitting on three different panels, so I’ve been in preparation meetings and reading a giant folder of standards.

From the subject faculty I’ve talked to, my presence is not common. I fully expect to have someone ask me flat out next week “what are you doing here?” and I’m ready for that question. The flip side is, of course, why don’t they have a librarian this engaged at their dental colleges, why aren’t they having their librarian in the classroom, with office hours, writing assignments?  Re-accreditation is a great time for the committee members to see new things being tried at the school being evaluated and look, I’m new and shiny.

Yes, I know I’m bragging but our goal is to put our best feet forward and to show off the cool things that we’re doing that helps make for well-prepared and excellent future dentists.

It’s not unlike where I am in my current tenure review process [look at that, she said, a segue(1)].

Presently, for 3Y, I’m pretty much through my Evaluation of Librarianship (EoL). I’ve turned in drafts of my Statement [1 page, Arial Narrow, Size 11 font = 800 words] and my List of Accomplishments to the committee [bullet points, no limit, 3 pages].  I met with the EoL committee to review everything in those two documents and then they interviewed three people, including my Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from the College of Dentistry.  The EAD is one of the subject faculty that I teach with each fall and with whom I work closely.  As far as I know this is the first inclusion of a non-library faculty member for the review. Given the expansion of our liaison model, I hope it won’t be the last.

On top of that, one of my coworkers came to one of my classes with the D1s and evaluated my teaching. I’ve had the opportunity to read her write up of that, though it’s an internal document and not one I’m allowed to share with all of you. Honestly I enjoyed having her there. It was a good class with engaged students–which certainly didn’t hurt–but we all spend so much time running different directions that we often don’t get to see each other in action with students.  She pointed out a couple of things I hadn’t touched on and those were notes that I made for the next time I see my D1s. I have the luxury of seeing those students more than in a one-shot session. Many times we don’t.

I’ll get to see the EoL report before it goes up to the Promotion and Tenure Committee. I’m hoping for a pleasant read.

The EoL stuff was an exercise in showing off and that was difficult. To give yourself credit, which acknowledging partners both within and outside of the library, and not inadvertently taking credit for something someone else feels that they own and the fine line of politics, can be hard. And this is only internal, I’m not taking credit on the campus level as yet. I’d liken in a bit to cover letter writing, trying to include the most relevant stuff and making yourself look spectacular without lying or over-exaggerating your skills.

Next up for me is an edit/update of my statements. I’ve had a month to step away from them and now it’s time to make sure the jargon is out and the appropriate bragging is in.  Also I have to fill out the Forms. Yes, that’s capital F.

The forms are the same across campus but they’re updated every year, which means you have to wait until the last minute to start filling them out.  Ideally, I could have started these in April.  Campus, I’m told, is working on making things a) electronic and b) a little more stable to prevent a lot of copying and pasting from year to year.  Here’s a link to the forms if you’d like to see what I’m working on:  I’m working from Tenure System Part IV.

So that’s the current state of affairs on my tenure review.  I’m also finally at the pen-to-paper, or rather fingers to keyboard, stage for 2! research projects, and we’re hoping to have manuscripts out the door before my paperwork goes up. My student employees are all  plowing through some final backlog data entry and things are rolling. Now if I can find a few more hours to write…

(1) Not a Segway, which appear with clusters of helmeted tourists zooming down the city sidewalks. I am not convinced those are safe.