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Thanks for the post Marcus! Some questions: if you have already accepted a job offer, is it too late to get tenure requirements in writing? Is this something you do during negotiations? Would it come off as pushy, if, for example, the chair says, "oh we don't put tenure requirements in our hiring contract..". What would a job seeker do in that situation?


If you already have a TT position - but do not yet have Tenure - just ask the chair where you can find the tenure requirements. It is a perfectly reasonable request. They can respond that they do not have them specified anywhere; or they may direct you to a document (that may or may not be outdated).
Otherwise it is something you can ask the dean about. Incidentally, when Marcus says that sometimes the requirements change during your race to tenure, he is not kidding. The most common reason for such a change is that a new provost or dean has been hired and they have a new vision. Indeed, sometimes such appointments are made with the explicit intention of raising standards and giving new direction.


There's a kind of ambiguity in the advice to get the tenure standards in writing that is reflected in Amanda's question. Although most (almost all?) institutions will have written tenure standards, they aren't something that is negotiable as part of the hiring process. So what you are asking for, as tenured says, is to be given or directed to the existing tenure standards for your department. How helpful they are is highly variable and that they can change is certainly the case. Not everything relevant will be contained in the departmental standard since there will be institution-wide norms and policies that themselves are often, but not always, written and may be collected in a document. One thing that is sometimes negotiable and can be important is the timing of the tenure review if you are coming from another job. You will definitely want to ask about tenure-review timing if considering a new job because it can make a big difference to your chances of getting tenure.


Thanks tenured I appreciate the advice!


3. I'm familiar with two general approaches. Some schools ask the candidate to request and present letters from external reviewers. At other schools, the candidate is asked to suggest a few reviewers, and the tenure review chair and/or dean suggest a few more. The chair or dean then contacts some reviewers from the combined list.

4. I was a visiting professor at my school before I was hired there tenure-track. When I was hired tt, I was offered a year of credit for my previous work. This meant I could apply for tenure four years from my tt-appointment date instead of five.

8. Some schools grant research leave to pre-tenure professors. Other schools grant research leave only to tenured professors.


I would like to follow up on some of the issues Rex addresses.
On getting external letters for your tenure file. When I went up for tenure at a State college, we did not need such letters. But people applying for tenure could include them. In my time things changed, and I think they are now expected.
As a senior person I have been ask by an institution to assess someone else's tenure application. It was their tenure review committee that contacted me.
On counting previous time toward tenure ... to reduce time to tenure. Where I work they will not let you count time spent in non-tenure track positions at the college. So if you were first a VAP for two years, you would need to complete another 6 years to get tenure.


How did those of you who are on the tenure track or have tenure deal with the stress of long hours (seriously long hours), teaching prep, service, and research demands - especially in the first year? I'm in my first year of a TT position and I feel like I'm both drowning and losing sight of what I love about the philosophy profession. Is this normal?

Marcus, it would be so very helpful if at some point there was a discussion about life during the first year of a TT job and this seemed like the most relevant thread. Am I missing a post on this?


Do keep your head on. Reach out to trusted colleagues from the past. Senior people are great sources of advice, and they are often far enough along to be able to see clearly where you cannot. Also, find someone on your new campus who seems sensible and supportive. Try to find someone outside your department (as well as someone in it). You can afford to be more frank with the outsider.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Anon: Good questions. I’ll get a post/thread up on this in the next day or two!

recent grad

Could you create a poll or a post asking tenure-track folks to list a) the lengths of their pre-tenure contracts, b) any raises those pre-tenure contracts involved, and c) what kind of review, if any, was required for each additional pre-tenure contract?


Marcus Arvan

recent grad: great questions. I'll post a thread on them soon!

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