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2nd opinion

I absolutely second this - it is crucial to get a sense of these requirements, if you're lucky enough to be deciding between job offers. I disagree on some of the details, though. I went on the market last year, after 3 years in a TT position. For what it's worth, out of four fly-outs (so beware, this is a small sample size), I asked every department head about past denied-tenure cases, where the denial had happened (did the department vote against them? did the dean or provost say no?), and why. No one seemed to think it was inappropriate, and everyone gave me really helpful information. Again FWIW, every fly-out I had told me that they would count all of my publications and at least 2 of my four years on the tenure track towards my tenure requirements - although a few places did say that I'd have to continue to prove "trajectory" while there. It's also worth saying, though, that 3 out of 4 department heads were explicitly unwilling to commit to tenure standards in writing - although they did all give me off the record senses of what the requirements would be.


About committing in writing to tenure requirements. Of course it is a reasonable expectation. But not everything can be put in writing. Also, as soon as it is in writing, it is usually binding ON BOTH SIDES. So if it says, for example, three article are required, then one will be denied tenure without three article, even if they want you. The administration will hold the department to what is in writing. They almost have to for legal reason. Not because it will be wrong to make an exception, but because someone in another department who is being denied tenure will use it against the College to overturn their case. Second, someone can meet the formal requirements but still be a complete A@@hole. A department does not want to have to hire such a person. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to abuse on the part of departments, denying tenure to people with odd personalities and behaviors, though not A@@holes.

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