I’ve been thinking lots about this last school year. It was a really amazing one in terms of my academic career. In the Fall I was unanimously endorsed by my colleagues for reappointment. While I hoped and suspected that my reappointment would be smooth to have it behind me was a big relief. I can only imagine the stress involved with the tenure review. I have now loaned my binders to a friend for her own review.
If you’re up for your first review here are some points of advice. I assume and hope that some of my friends will respond and add in their two cents about the review process.
- Document all that you do. This is easier said than done. Make sure that your CV follows the department or faculty norm.
- Speak to a colleague or mentor familiar with the department or faculty process, so that you have an inside view.
- Review the Faculty Agreement/Contract or similar document to make sure that you are familiar with all the guidelines.
- Meet with the department Chair to review the process. Get as much input as you can from the Chair.
- Make sure that someone else (mentor/friend) reviews your dossiers.
- I had to put together a Teaching Dossier and Service Dossier. But, most will need a fulsome Research Dossier.
- I made photocopies of thank you cards and emails from students and included them in the latter part of my Service Dossier. I also contacted some current and former students and asked for some short statements of support. They were (thankfully) willing to do so! I included these in a sub-section entitled, “Solicited letters of support.”
- I had to include all my course syllabi and Course Experience Surveys. I was also able to include the verbal comments from courses of my choice, but if I included comments I had to include all. I opted to include comments from one 1st year, 3rd year, and 4th year seminar. I teach an array of courses and felt that I needed to demonstrate my effectiveness among all my courses. It’s easy to pick the class with the wholly positive reviews, but you might want to think about the comments that best highlight student learning. (Remember that my position is full-time, tenure-track, and teaching focused). Related to teaching–you might have more senior to you colleagues sit in your class and review your teaching. Review the guidelines, as you should have a choice of who reviews you and when. And, you should have a right of response for the review or be granted another opportunity. I was supposed to have one course reviewed twice. I requested two courses and was glad that I did so. Given that my position is teaching focused, I thought that this would best represent my teaching skills.
I’ve included screen shots of my two sets of Table of Contents. These fit the norm of the department, so verify what is the norm for your department. Overall, I would suggest that you take 2-4 weeks to put together your dossiers. And, during the review process be nice to yourself. Try to not stress about the review and stay focused (word choice) on each step that you have control over–which is little! Good luck!