Service Impasse

Service Impasse

Don’t lose sight of your tenure path and get buried in an avalanche of nonstop service commitments. Minority faculty, in particular, are likely to face pressure to serve on numerous committees to demonstrate “diversity.” Be careful about volunteering for service that requires too much time and effort and compromises your teaching and research.

Some universities prefer to have new faculty concentrate on teaching and research. Department chairs may steer junior faculty into committees that are less time-consuming. Other universities, however, view junior faculty as newcomers who need to be initiated into the culture and the inevitable work that goes along with running an institution. Consult with your department chair and senior faculty to determine what service commitments are expected and what assignments are valued during the tenure evaluation.

Here are some tools to circumvent the Service Impasse:

Plan your service commitments. At the beginning of your tenure trek, map out your service assignments as part of your larger tenure plan. Share your plan with your department chair and mentors in the department to garner their support.

Balance your service commitments. Some committees are more time-consuming than others. If you take on an assignment that is labor intensive, be certain it will be considered as a strong service contribution when you are evaluated for tenure.

Learn to say “No.” Don’t accept a new service commitment if it will sabotage your teaching and writing. Respect the commitments you’ve made to yourself and follow the tenure map you’ve created.