08/03/2004: "Tenure Anxiety"
I'm working from home today, trying to get some prep work done for the distance class I'll be teaching this fall. I found out recently that the head of the English dept. is going to be taking the class because he's going to be the new advisor for the distance BLA program. No pressure there or anything!
I also just got my new contract for the upcoming academic year and on the bottom it notified me that I have to go up for tenure by no later than next year. For those of you unfamiliar with this process, let me tell you, it's a nightmare. Here at UAS, after your first 3 years you have to go up for "review and retention"...you have to put together this huge binder basically proving every single accomplishment you've had since you started. It goes through a number of review panels, ultimately ending up with the Provost and Chancellor, at which point they decide if you'll be "retained" (i.e. whether to fire your ass or not).
Then starting in your 7th year you have to go through essentially the same thing again, only now they have to see if you've done any of the recommendations made by your review and retention committee. Some things I was supposed to do was to "take more leadership roles" i.e. chair more committees...committees are the life blood of the academic community. This will be my second term chairing the "Information Services Committee" a Faculty Senate sub-committee...wheeeeee!
The review and retention process was excruciating, I've been told that going up for tenure is ten times worse. Of course, after you get tenure (and hopefully I will) it's next to impossible to get fired (except for gross negligence) and you get a small raise. Of course, the cost of health care keeps going up so that it has eaten every raise I've gotten since I took this job, but still, every little bit helps.
Don't get me wrong, I love the University of Alaska Southeast and I love my job there. For our size and the amount of resources we have, I think it's an excellent school and the faculty and administrators really do put students first (like a lot of schools *say* they do, but really don't)...so, I'm not bitching about the job, school, or any of the people who will be on my tenure committee...it's just now on top of everything else I have going on, I'll have to start working on my tenure portfolio.
Can we say "jump through hoops" anyone?