Thursday, January 7, 2010

More on P and T and maternity

The department chair reported back today after his inquiry to the provost's office.

But first I have to explain to you our P and T process, which is probably NOT representative of other PUIs (but not totally whacked out, either).

We don't actually have tenure. I use the term in this blog colloquially. We have increasing length contracts. When you are hired as permanent faculty, you get 3- 1 year contracts. You don't have to apply for those, but you do need to be making good progress. Then in your third year, you apply for a 3 year contract. This is what I am on now. At the end of your 3 year contract, you apply for a 5 year contract. The 5 year contract review is (relatively?) rigorous, and once you have the 5 year contract, though you must still apply every 5 years for a new one, there is "a long term commitment" to you from the institution. Its basically tenure, with the option to kick you out every 5 years, but a very low likelihood of that happening. I come up for a 5 year contract review in two years.

This is NOT tied to promotion: Titles and levels within titles. This is purely on a points system, and when you have reached enough points, you can apply for a promotion. For example, I am an Associate Prof but don't have tenure. Apparently I accomplished enough to get the title change early. It is up to us to keep track of our points and apply for promotions. The levels within titles are for pay grade increases. It would not behoove the university to remind everyone to apply for a pay raise. Therefore, we are on our own discretion here. Having said that, I applied for my Assoc. promotion at the behest of the Dean.

OK, so how does this fit in with maternity leave? Hub and I decided that one lecture-only course would be the max I want to do for next Fall. If I take on my full load for the following Spring, my yearly load will be more than 1/2 time (more than 12 hours). That keeps me on track for the contract renewal.

I know that tenure processes involve getting a certain amount of stuff done with a certain level of competency within those 6 years. Ours is also like that except I think the competency is more heavily weighted. For instance, at the U across town, you can have stellar teaching reviews, but if you don't get that paper published, no tenure. Here I think the emphasis is more on getting the stellar reviews consistently. I would be more in danger of not getting my long term contract if I was a middling teacher who published two papers, than if I get stellar reviews and no paper. Hear this: I want to do both. But right now, I'm rockin' the teaching. So I'm not sweating the review.

OK, so pushing the "tenure" review back would actually be disadvantagous, because I am still on track for the long term contract. And I can still be eligible for staying on track even if I only teach one class Fall semester. That's what its looking like I will do right now.

What are your T and P processes like?


  1. Mine is the typical tenure process. You describe your tenure process well with all its pitfalls. Having a realistic idea is the best. Certainly yours is better than some places with the traditional tenure but who rarely tenure people finding all sorts of silly reasons to can them.

  2. Very interesting.

    Mine is the typical process for a PUI: need stellar teaching and decent research progress (like, three papers before T&P).

  3. Unbalanced Reaction: what's your teaching load? I can't imagine doing a lot more reasearch than I am with my current teaching load, but its possible that my institution is less demanding than others.