It is difficult to win a game without having a good knowledge of its rules and strategies. Getting promoted from assistant professor to associate professor and being tenured can be viewed as a game that has both rules and strategies. This book is intended to provide college and university faculty who have a tenure-track position and graduate students who will be seeking such a position with some of the information they need to play the game successfully—that is, be promoted and tenured, survive post-tenure reviews, and receive merit salary increases. Specifically, it focuses on the rules and strategies of its teaching component, in a manner that is both practical and candid.
By viewing college teaching as a game, I’m not intending to demean it. I’ve been a college teacher for more than 30 years and am a recipient of my university’s teaching award. I’m viewing college teaching in this way because I’ve found when mentoring junior faculty that doing so makes the dynamics of the process more understandable to them.
Also, to play a game successfully, you must understand its “unwritten” rules and strategies as well as its written ones. Unfortunately, there is a risk of appearing cynical when you describe a game’s “unwritten” ones. My goal is for this book to be as helpful as I can make it. Consequently, I didn’t avoid describing “unwritten” rules and strategies to protect myself from appearing cynical.
While departments differ somewhat in their requirements for promotion and tenure, most have ones pertaining to the following three areas: teaching, scholarly publishing, and collegiality (service). While the requirements for the latter—collegiality—may not be specified, a perceived lack of it is a frequent reason for someone to be denied promotion or tenure. Promo-