Thursday, February 25, 2010

Is this the exception or the rule?

Blogging is new to me, and this is my first post in my first blog. It starts with a few questions I've wrestled with the last three or so years, ever since the tenure time clock I was on began to run out:

Is it usual or unusual for a university which labels itself a "research institution" to expect junior faculty to teach four different preps, including graduate classes each semester, to do service comparable to that of already-tenured faculty, and to publish at the same level as universities where faculty have 2/3 teaching loads or less?

Is this expectation realistic?

Does a one-course reduction from the normal four different preps, given during a junior faculty member's first semester of employment, really constitute support of that junior faculty member's scholarship efforts?

Is it usual/standard practice at research institutions for book contracts and publications in-press NOT to count toward tenure?

Is a peer review committee really a peer review committee if it consists of all men when the person seeking tenure is a woman or vice versa?

Is teaching really not important?

Is service really not important?

If these questions sound stupid to anyone, perhaps I may be forgiven for asking them when they're about to have a serious impact on the rest of my life, and when those whom I've asked in my own small circle of peers and friends in academia have given me mixed responses.


  1. This is an important issue that I'm sure many have opinions about. Since its' a "buyer's market" in academe, even 4/4 schools can post steep tenure requirements and get away with them. That's probably the hardest thing about this issue - when a good teacher becomes an incredibly busy teacher and still has to function as if she worked as a pampered research school employee. (And I'm speaking AS one of those lucky research-school workers - yes, there're other kinds of work to be done, but the flexible schedule and markedly lower grading load make big differences.)

  2. Thanks Jacqueline. Yours is the first comment on my blog. It comforts me to know I'm not too far off in thinking that I could perform better on my scholarship if I had a more reasonable teaching load. Cheers