Thursday, May 19, 2011

For tenure, remember not to....

Having some tenure issues here at my U.  There are some basic rules for tenure here, at least for the social sciences and humanities.
  • Publish your book with a university press.  This goes even if other faculty in your department have published with non-university presses. 
  • Do not publish an edited volume.  Period.  Wait until after tenure, no matter how absolutely wonderful and vitally important you think this edited volume would be.  Here (and the research U at which I was tenured) you will not get credit for an edited volume toward tenure.  No.  You.  Won't.  If your own monograph (or requisite number of peer-reviewed articles) comes out and you still have a year or two before tenure, go up early!  Then do the edited volume.  Though keep in mind it might only count as service, not research(!)
  • Same goes for textbooks.  Someone may ask you to do a textbook with them.  You might be flattered and excited about the possibilities.  Walk away.  Come back after tenure, if you still care.
  • Think twice about co-authoring a book with your beloved advisor.  S/he shouldn't even be asking you to do that.  They know they couldn't have gotten tenure based upon a book co-authored with their old advisor, even with a good number of articles thrown in.  Write you own book or X number of articles for tenure, then co-author.
  • If you are in a field in which many scholars write books and many write articles, and you are told that in your department at XSU expects articles, believe them.  I was told by my friend (an article-writer) that her department counts a book at a university press the same as an article at a not very good journal.  Yes, indeed.  Get out of there if you can, or else learn how to write articles (or rejoice as an article-writer, I suppose).

Finally, it doesn't hurt to make friends or "network" outside of your own department.  This is not only good for intellectual and emotional enrichment, but it is nice to have a reputation (a good one) once your file goes before the college and university-level committees.

Folks, I don't make these rules.  I've just been observing people ignore them too often at their peril.  I have more than one person in mind for each of these "don't"s. 


  1. That's whack. Which, I'm pretty sure, is your point.

  2. Thanks for the heads up! If I get a job, I hope that the tenure expectations will be clear, but I'm ready to ask around for sure. I'm amazed to hear that a book can count as an article in some places.