April 19th, 2011

You’ve Just Been Awarded Tenure. What’s Next?

Obviously, the first thing to do is …

1. Throw a party.  Tenure is a big deal. Invite those people who supported you in practical and impractical ways: the ones who fed you and clothed you, as well as those who supplied beverages…

2. Tell your former advisors and members of your dissertation committee so that they can kvell, too.  They will be thrilled. It’s a hugely satisfying moment. These are the folks who would like copies of your book, by the way—just so you know. Signed would be good.

3. Join the AAUP.  Educate yourself about the debate surrounding the very issue of tenure. If you received tenure, it means you worked towards it…

4. Speak up.  If you’re not in the habit, learn how…

5. Make sure you’re not speaking up only for yourself. Speak on behalf of those who cannot or dare not make themselves heard. Your privilege is also your responsibility.

6. Remind yourself—often—that you received tenure not only because of what you’ve already accomplished but because of what you will accomplish. You’re not done. Now you’re just really getting started.

The next steps may require more effort from you than the first step.  The sixth step is probably the most important.  Read them all here. 

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