Friday, September 11, 2009

Prayers for Tenure Casebook

My friend (since childhood) is up for tenure this fall.

Tenure didn’t work out so well as University #1 for him.  It was a hard blow, and no one likes to be told to move on, but I think that the culture of that college and that town wasn’t right for him anyway.  He seems to be more comfortable at University #2, and from what I hear, the administration has been treating him better than his former management.  The fit is also particularly good for his wife, as I hear that this town is an excellent location for her profession and that she has developed a well-established network of contacts. 

As with most tenure reviews, this is an up-or-out assessment of his abilities, and the future of his life at University #2 is in the balance.  He is very hopeful about his chances of tenure, but there is still that uncertainty providing a bit of stress to the start of this new school year.

Being in a humanities field, his casebook I am sure will look substantially different from mine.  Books are far more prevalent and expected on his publication list than on mine. I am sure he has topical journals in which to publish, and hopefully he has an ample stack of such papers to show for his years in the field.  In my research area, numerous peer-reviewed journal articles per year are the norm, and books before tenure are an extreme rarity. In fact, I was specifically told not to write a book too early, because it detracts from the regular and expected measures of productivity.

I can only trust that he has received good mentoring from senior faculty in his department (or others in his field elsewhere around the country), that they are advocates for him within the college, and that he has accomplished all that he needs to have done regarding teaching, service, and research.  I can only trust that others in his field beyond University #2 have a favorable impression of his contributions to the field, that they know and respect his work, and that the evaluation letters clearly reflect these positive opinions.  I can only trust that he has mentored one or more graduate students through thesis or dissertation completion, that these former students have favorable impressions of their time with him at University #2, and that they will adequately voice their opinions back to the casebook committee.

So, I hope that you will join me in praying for the success of his tenure casebook, and should it not work out for him, to ask for God to give him the courage and perseverance to move on with his career, wherever it might take him and his family.

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