The Road Toward Tenure

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Judith Ableser

Keywords

Tenure, Teaching, Research, Service

Abstract

This paper/presentation outlines a “top ten list” of key strategies that will aid in the tenure process for new faculty members.  Research and focus group comments are interwoven with the experiences of one faculty member.  The strategies described include; integrating teaching, research and service, learning the culture and politics, organization, devoted time to research and planning, focusing on your passions, setting goals, setting high standards, learning from others, prioritizing and balancing, and celebrating your accomplishments.  As one begins an academic career, the thought of earning tenure can be daunting and overwhelming, yet by approaching it as a planned journey, one can enjoy the road along the way and celebrate the destination.  In September, 2008 I earned tenure. The purpose of this paper is to provide insight into the steps and strategies that guided me during my process.  Although I will cite recommendations outlined by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the American Council on Education (ACE) and other research (Boyer, 1990; Bradley, 2005; Caesar, 2004; DeGeorge, 1997; Fox, 2006; Holly 1977; Mullen, 2000; Ward, 2004; Sotello, 2000; Zellers, 2006), my intent is primarily to share my own experiences.  I will contrast this with conversations I have had with other colleagues during focus group discussions to demonstrate that we must each follow our own path to arrive at our destination.  Hopefully, this will assist you as you plan your journey.  But please note that this is what worked for me.  Do not follow my precise path; I encourage you to set your own course. Know where you are headed and plan, intentionally and deliberately, to ensure that you will not only be successful in reaching your destination but to grow and develop throughout the entire journey.

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