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Nicolas Delon

I have a joint appointment in Philosophy and Environmental Studies. My tenure stream home is in the Division of Humanities, of which the philosophy program is a part (we don't have departments). The ES program is an interdisciplinary program that doesn't have its home in any particular division. My joint appointment is a 50/50, which means my teaching load should be evenly distributed to cater to both programs, which in my case is relatively easy since (1) I was hired on an environmental ethics position, (2) it's very easy to cross-list courses, (3) ES is very open to animal stuff (my AOS).

There is, however, one thing significant thing that a joint appointment affects, it's who will sit on your T&P committee. Rather than having my case examined and voted on solely by members of my Division, members of the ESP will also examine and vote on my case. This means, among other things, that my scholarship, service, and teaching should all be recognizable as aligned with the mission of ES, not just philosophy. Again, this is not a burden. In fact, this seems to provide some freedom to publish interdisciplinary work, outside of top philosophy journals, and on topics that philosophers may not recognize as suitable to pertinent scholarship. On the other hand, because members of very different disciplines, and divisions, will assess my work, they may also have different standards. It's worth clarifying early with your chair and colleagues whether there might be divergent expectations.

Does it all require more work? Maybe a little bit. I sit on the ES steering committee as a member of the program, but this counts as service, and I could also have chosen to do it had I been a mere affiliate faculty member. It was extra service for me last year--my first year--because first-year faculty were not expected to sit on committees, but this was rather pleasant work, frankly.

Is a joint appointment worth it? I guess it's personal. For me, the primary motivation was symbolic. I was hired as an environmental philosopher and met with the ESSC during my campus visit, presenting quite interdisciplinary work. Earlier I had spent three years as a postdoc in an environmental studies department (NYU). It just made sense that I would be working with these people.

But there was also a more material motivation. I want to have a role in shaping the ES program. I specialize in animal ethics, and environmental studies is the natural place to have more animal stuff taught, funded, heard on campus. They actually welcomed it, and our college is so small that working across divisions, disciplines and curricula is very easy.

So, all in all, I saw a joint appointment as a great opportunity to talk to, and be recognized as a peer by, colleagues from various disciplines. I guess I'll find out about the actual costs and benefits along the way, but for now I'm quite content to introduce myself as Assistant Professor in Philosophy and Environmental Studies, even though it's a cumbersome title!


Pre-tenure joint appointments can be very dangerous. Different universities structure them differently, of course, but it is not unusual for it to be the case that you have to satisfy tenure requirements in both departments, and they can be quite different.


I have something like a joint appt. I am in an interdisciplinary core program in the honors college. So, my tenure runs through the honors college, not A&S where the philosophy department is. But I am affiliated with the philosophy department, one member of my tenure committee is from the phil dept, about 25% of my teaching is in phil, and I have to deal with two tenure documents, though the honors college doc take precedence. In my case, most members of my tenure committee are NOT phil, so that can be tricky but also a benefit as they tend to be fairly generous. Also, how closely the UTC decides to look at the phil tenure doc could make a difference. So yes, I think there are some potential pitfalls, but if your research and teaching interests are truly interdisciplinary, I think that the advantages can outweigh the disadvantages. Of course, we'll see what I think after the tenure decision comes down!


I have a semi-joint appointment; I just have one tenuring department, Philosophy, but my teaching is contractually split between it and another department, and I'm expected to participate in its events. I really like my second department, so that's the big upside for me, but there is a time cost to attending two sets of colloquia and other social events, and some day I might be asked to take on service related to the second department as well.

It helps if relations between those departments are good, though. For instance if my second department ever asked me to take on a service role, I might be able to bring that to the Chair of the Phil Dept and ask for a reduction in my phil service obligations. The chairs of the two depts get along well and worked together on my hire.

I will say that everywhere I've been, the *administration* really smiled upon faculty members with joint appointments and (more broadly) faculty members whose work is interdisciplinary. I don't know how much that helps, but it can't hurt.

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