Ms. Mentor's New and Ever More Impeccable Advice for Women and Men in Academia

By Emily Toth | Go to book overview

The Tenure Trek

Tenure, or lifetime job security, is the crown jewel for professors. Ms. Mentor will tell nonacademics that tenure does not make you rich or beautiful, but it makes you secure—and academics as a group are not great risk takers. The Harvard philosophy department does not field a bungee-jumping team.

What academics want—besides a paycheck, classes, and colleagues—is the assurance that they’ll be able to devote the rest of their lives to cultivating their minds.

That is a rare and wondrous opportunity, earned through five or six grueling years of stellar teaching, research, and service.

It is also a matter of doing your homework precisely and meticulously, one more time. Unless you’re blessed with an exceptional clerical staff, it’s up to you to put your dossier together: piles of material, in color-coded folders or tabbed binders, to demonstrate your prowess at teaching, research, and service. There may be outside letters, which a tenure committee has to fetch and then hide from you (confidentiality), but you’re responsible for everything else.

Of course, you’ve followed Ms. Mentor’s advice and kept everything in your Tenure Diary, so that you’ll have no trouble hauling it out now. (Yes, Ms. Mentor, who knows all, knows you can’t put your hands on everything right away, and you must have powerful enemies who’ve misfiled stuff. She forgives you. Carry on.)

You may need to find and turn in: copies of syllabi; copies of exams; copies of the best student papers; copies of teaching evaluations (quantitative and qualitative); copies of your publications; copies of soon-to-be

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Ms. Mentor's New and Ever More Impeccable Advice for Women and Men in Academia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • The Petty and the Profound What They Write to Ms. Mentor 1
  • Stewing in Graduate School 9
  • Foraging for an Academic Job 43
  • Love and Sex in Academia 68
  • You’re Hired! Early Years in a Strange New World 94
  • The Fine and Quirky Art of Teaching 123
  • Working and Playing Well with Others 146
  • Questions Great and Small 175
  • Adjuncts 194
  • The Tenure Trek 207
  • What Is Life after Tenure? 230
  • Are You the Retiring Type? 238
  • Daring to Create Your Own Life 242
  • Ms. Mentor’s Exemplary Bibliography 247
  • Index 257
  • Acknowledgments 266
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