A reader recently wrote in:
Hi Marcus - I have a question for a possible post on cocoon. I'd prefer it to be anonymous since I think it reflects poorly on me. Here it is: As an early career philosopher at her first permanent job I am wondering if I am expected to tell my chair / report to my chair every time I receive an honor or publish a paper, or do I just report this info at my end of the year evaluation? That's it! Maybe it's an easy one but I've had people tell me different things so I thought I'd throw that out there.
I'd be curious to hear what people think, as this indeed mostly seems like an easy one me (but I could be wrong!). My thought is that when starting a new job, it can indeed be a good idea to let people know informally that you've published something or received an honor. I think this is a good idea because, early in my career at my current university, I did receive the occasional concerned question from people (who were not necessarily in my department), "How's publishing going? Are you getting stuff out there?" Because new employers care about how you're doing--and because questions like these (in my experience) can be uncomfortable and awkward--I think it is probably a good idea to let people know of your early successes (though, once you get enough successes, I don't think it's necessary any longer).
Still, although I think it's probably best to let people know, I also think it's probably the most tactful to do it informally--like when you run into your department chair or some such (viz. "Oh, by the way, I just got an article accepted at X. Just thought you might want to know!"). I say this because part of what I think one wants to do in a new job--particularly a tenure-track job--is to calmly affirm yourself as everyone's equal: as just another faculty member in the department. I guess I'm inclined to think that, say, sending an email to the chair every time you get a publication could look a bit needy/grad-student-ish. And so, by a similar token, I'm also inclined to think that after one's first few publications, it's probably not necessary anymore--and one should just make sure one's new publications and honors appear prominently within one's end-of-the-year review.
But these are just my thoughts, and I only work in a mid-sized teaching institution. I imagine different advice might apply for a high-powered R1 job (where, say, people are really concerned about journal prestige, etc.). Anyway, what do you all think?