5 Essential Tips for Achieving Tenure: A Guide for Tenure-Track Faculty


Landing a tenure-track position marks the beginning of a demanding journey toward achieving tenure and promotion. With years of experience supporting faculty, here are five essential tips from Kate Vacek and Letitia Henville to help you succeed on this path.

5 Essential Tips for Achieving Tenure: A Guide for Tenure-Track Faculty

(Photo : PEXELS / Cottonbro Studio)

1. Understand Your Institution's Tenure Requirements

  • Get Clear on Expectations: The first step is to understand what is required for tenure at your institution. Guidelines can often be vague or general, so take these steps to gain clarity.
  • Ask Colleagues: Seek out colleagues who have recently gone through the tenure process and ask to see their dossiers.
  • Investigate Criteria: Determine how many publications are needed, what types of publications are valued, and if specific journals are required.
  • Clarify Authorship: Understand how single-authored versus co-authored works are viewed.
  • Assess Funding Requirements: Check if external research funding is necessary and in what capacity.
  • Evaluate Service and Teaching: Learn how service activities and teaching performance are assessed.

Building relationships within your department can help in obtaining this information. If necessary, reach out to peers at other institutions, keeping in mind that standards may vary.

READ MORE: 6 Strategies To Address Service Inequity In Academia: Insights From The ACAD Conference 

2. Establish a Sustainable Research and Writing Practice

  • Balance Commitments: Teaching and service have clear boundaries, but research often falls to the bottom of the priority list.
  • Develop a Routine: Create a weekly schedule that includes time for teaching, research, service, and personal well-being.
  • Review and Adjust: Regularly review your schedule to ensure it works for you and make necessary adjustments.
  • Get Assistance: Joining a writing group or collaborating with a coach can offer you extra help and keep you on track.

A sustainable practice means achieving your goals without sacrificing well-being. While occasional sacrifices may be necessary, consistently overworking is not sustainable.

3. Test Strategies for Presenting Your Accomplishments

  • Use Annual Reviews Wisely: Your first annual review is a great opportunity to practice presenting your achievements.
  • Experiment with Formats: Include cumulative summaries or comparative data in your CV or teaching dossier.
  • Gauge Reactions: Use the review to gauge your department head's response to different presentation methods and adjust accordingly.

Institutions have different expectations for how accomplishments must be presented. Some value contextual data, while others may find comparisons inappropriate.

4. Focus on Themes and Threads in Your Work

  • Highlight Key Themes: Annual reviews are an opportunity to refine the overarching themes in your work. Focus on presenting your highest impact work.
  • Prioritize High Impact: Avoid diluting your strongest evidence by including too many average contributions.
  • Align Opportunities: Recognize and prioritize opportunities that align with your strengths and goals.

Fine-tuning these themes helps develop a cohesive narrative for your tenure dossier, strengthening your case for tenure.

5. Plan for the Long Term

  • Proceed Intentionally: Understanding what is required, establishing a sustainable practice, experimenting with presentation methods, and focusing on key themes will help you navigate the path to tenure.
  • Stay Informed: Regularly update your knowledge of tenure requirements and adjust your plans accordingly.
  • Build a Support Network: Cultivate relationships with colleagues and seek out mentors who can provide guidance and support.

Navigating the tenure track is challenging but achievable. With careful planning, a supportive network, and a clear focus, you can succeed in achieving tenure and promotion.

RELATED ARTICLE: 8 Principles For Designing Mobile-Friendly Courses To Support Student Parents 

© 2024 University Herald, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join the Discussion
Real Time Analytics