Faculty Appointment Basecamp

Faculty Appointment Basecamp

From where you stand, tenure appears as a distant peak. If you look closely, there are a number of discernable landmarks along the path you will traverse to achieve tenure. Your progress toward tenure generally will be evaluated on some mix of the “big three”—teaching, research, and service.

Prepare for your tenure trek by assembling the gear that you need. Include the following in your “backpack of tools” so that you are prepared to meet the challenges of the tenure evaluation process:

The criteria for evaluation. Find out how teaching effectiveness is determined and how student evaluations and classroom observations are calculated. Inquire about how research potential and productivity are measured, including conference papers, publications, and success in grant applications. Check to see what counts as service as well as what type of service is most valued.

The timeline. Check the tenure guidelines for the review process time frame. Approach each evaluation, informal or formal, as an opportunity to showcase your abilities and achievements.

A list of your reviewers. Determine the academic levels (department, college) and personnel involved in your evaluation. Don't underestimate the role of interpersonal relationships. The longer you are at the university, the better sense you will have of who is supportive.

Avoid a sprint to the top of the mountain at the last minute. Earning tenure involves steady progress and demonstrating your achievements along the way.