Tag: tenure

Open Access Tenure: I Got It

The TL/DR version of this blog post: The Board of Trustees voted today to approve the tenure of myself and my peers at other colleges who were presented to them. I owe a lot of thanks to the many people who supported me through the last 6.5 years.

The long version….

CONFETTI BOMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My Dean just emailed the Library Faculty listserv to notify us that by verbal vote, my tenure has been confirmed. Along with quite a number of other colleagues from different colleges here at UIC, I am now (as of August 15, 2017 –our new contract year) an Associate Professor with Tenure.

For the record: you can publish your research in open access journals and get tenure at a “Highest Research/Doctoral Granting” (R1) institution.

This has been a tremendously long six and a half years and this, like every other major accomplishment comes from the support that I’ve received from a very long list of colleagues, peers, collaborators, family, and friends.

The Philosopher tops the list of people who need to be thanked. He has spent six years seeing me through all of the paperwork, the research, the crying, and the banging of head against desk. He’s listened to my research ideas, converted a wall into a whiteboard, edited many things, and been my biggest support and cheerleader throughout. Second only to him is the Incredibly-Patient-Mother, who has undertaken the tremendous task of regularly showing up, confirming my continued sanity, making sure I have houseplants that are still alive, and ensuring that I don’t just wallow in our home office.

There are many people at my institution who have been supportive. I didn’t go into this facing a hostile P&T committee, though I was told that no extra credit would be given for my open access goals. My Dean knew what I was doing and was encouraging. Day to day my department colleagues and peers across the library and campus made sure to let me know they had my back. I could not have done all of this without Rebecca, Val, Cleo, Felicia, Tina, Francis, Stephen, or Carol–who took that first risk by hiring me.

My research and writing colleagues agreed to pursue this with me: Lisa, Kristin, Dorothea, Rebecca, Amy, Alison, and Megan. I have had the pleasure to write with  absolutely top notch co-authors. My research would not have happened without them.

My community has had my back. Many peers reached out to encourage me over the years and to give me advice, support, and cheers from around the globe. They shared with me whether procedures were weird because it’s my library, it’s my university, or it’s just tenure weirdness (sometimes all three). I’m grateful to SPARC and PLOS — who explicitly made sure that I knew that they were watching and supporting my efforts.

My profession made this relatively straightforward. Library and Information Science has a wealth of excellent gold open access journals to publish in. There never was some arbitrary trade off for me to make between the mystical perception of “journal quality” and open access. Nor was I ever facing page fees, hybrid fees, or APCs.

My friends have lived through stories, understanding that yes, I really am sitting at home writing this weekend rather than coming out; that I’m stressed because I’m on yet another evaluation deadline; that I need to describe the details of the ridiculous minutia for a fifth time. They’ve celebrated at each step, offered to edit, bought me drinks, helped me find opportunities, and were present. AudioGirl, M, Andromeda, Deb, Evviva, and the best writing-in-bars-buddy-ever Jess have been there through it all.

I could keep writing names–and I’m sure I’m going to hit Publish and immediately recall and be mortified of someone I didn’t include. Please, please know I remember all of your support and I appreciate it.

Several people have asked what is next. Some have said “take a year off, relax!” and that of course isn’t me. I have so many things I still want to do, to try, and to fix. Things I couldn’t do as junior faculty or just things that I haven’t yet had time for. How all that plays out I don’t yet know. But we’ll find out…

If you would like to see my dossier, it’s open and available for your download and reading here. I see absolutely no point in keeping it secret.

I continue to have my set goal that library research goes in open access journals. My collaborative research with other disciplines (where I’m not first author)–that goes automatically into our institutional repository. And no, that’s never been a problem either, not with journals, not with co-authors.

I did it. I believe others can too. Please let me know how I can support you in pursuing OA Tenure. And thank you for reading along.



Open Access Tenure: Every Day

Earlier in the year I noted to myself that come April, I would need to think about my tenure process every day.  It didn’t necessarily have to be a huge amount of thinking and some days it could be thinking though many it should be activity as well as though, but it had to be daily.

It’s mid-April now and while I’m not sure I’ve hit every single day, it’s certainly started to ramp up.

Why now? I’m coming to another crossroads: my next internal vote.  Granted, the vote itself is not until next February (ish, I think, based on last year’s calendar), but there’s much to do in the interim.

My paperwork adviser from the P&T committee is retiring next month. Yes, this would be the third person on my P&T support team (two paperwork people and Madame Mentor) who have retired. I like to think it isn’t me personally…after all Madame Storyteller isn’t retiring until this fall, nearly five years after I left her august supervision. But that means as I’m starting the dossier process again, I’ll be switching around one adviser. In advance of that, I’m meeting with my current one in a couple of weeks as a kick start to all of this.  Somewhere in the next few days my daily thinking will need to be the activity of starting to pile things up (electronically) to show her so that she can make recommendations.

There are a number of my colleagues who are heading into their first round of review this fall, so I’m not alone navigating the trepidation, though it’s a different round. I imagine there will be some mutual pulling-our-hair-out-over-coffee-while-wordsmithing happening around early October.

From here on out, it’s basically 2 years of constantly working on promotion and tenure concerns:

  • April-August: start updating my statements (librarianship, research, service), list of accomplishments. (I’d include update my CV, but I keep a live running version of it and update at least once a month.)
  • August-October: have my teaching observed, rewrite my statements 6 times. Try to find a smaller but still legible font to meet the 1 page limit.
  • October-ish: Evaluation of Librarianship committee stuff, statement of librarianship, CV, and accomplishments should be finalized-mostly
  • November: Obsess over dossier
  • ~December 1: Turn in dossier
  • December-February: Worry about the discussions in P&T committee and the vote
  • February-May(ish): [assuming a positive vote] Start panicking–I mean preparing— for packets that go to external reviewers
  • May-August: Worry about external reviewer comments that I will never see
  • August-December: Sit under my desk eating Snickers bars* waiting for the next vote
  • December: Final internal vote [includes external reviewers comments]
  • January-April: [assuming a positive vote] Whatever other prep is necessary for my papers to go to campus. Somewhere in here (I assume) I’ll have to move my dossier from the 2015-2016 packet that I’m filling out currently to the 2016-2017 packet. They like to tweak things.

Somewhere around April 2017 my case should go before campus and at that point I truly can’t do anything else with it.

What is not listed but inherent throughout this is (a) continue researching, writing, and presenting–we can include additional papers up until things go to campus; (b) everything else in my “real” job; (c) keep doing all the service stuff.

That’s my thinking about tenure for today.  Now it is back to obsessing over when I’ll hear back from that journal that we sent a paper to and it’s out for review and why haven’t we heard yet and maybe the email system is broken and it’s updated only on their website, I’ll just log in and check one more time.

*Madame Mentor said she opted for M&Ms during this period.