As a newly minted Ph.D., the process of tenure and promotion is now an imminent reality rather than a “far away land” I once thought it to be as a doctoral student. As a Ph.D. student/candidate, I learned, among other things, how to think critically, how to scrutinize my own writing, how to write publishable manuscripts, how to be an effective faculty instructor, and how to recognize and navigate the political nature of departments. Still, it is important to acknowledge that I still have much left to learn about how to navigate my space as a junior faculty member in the academy. Other than knowing and seeing the pressure that junior faculty felt while on the tenure clock, only basic information was offered by faculty. I was aware of how different types of institutions (e.g., research vs. teaching) valued and expected junior faculty to meet the criteria necessary for tenure and promotion. In addition to criteria, I was cognizant of the third-year review and how such review would gauge my progress, or lack thereof. Now the tenure and promotion process seems to be, at least in my opinion, a form of “academy hazing”, if you will, that further determines whether or not my work as a scholar will be received and respected by my colleagues.
The expectations and requirements to be rewarded tenure do not evade me. Perhaps what causes me the most concern when I think about the tenure and promotion process is balance—and, I mean life balance. With anything, there is a cost (e.g., time, money, family) associated with pursuing any endeavor in life. As a graduate student immersed in a demanding Ph.D. program, my life, during many times, did not have balance. While I did not eat, breathe, and sleep the Ph.D. program, the demands of working multiple jobs as well as maintaining my educational responsibilities consumed 85% of my time. The lack of balance in the last 5.5 years of my life has prompted me to critically think about how to reach my goal of tenure without sacrificing life balance—again. So, how do I become immersed in the academy and in my quest for tenure without losing sight of who I am as an individual—outside my identity as a scholar? Is that even possible? And, if it is possible … is there a way in which I can do it gracefully with my sanity and with the very core of who I am as an individual remaining intact?
About the author
Rosie Banda recently graduated with her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Texas A&M University. Rosie is a Student Development Specialist at the University of Texas at San Antonio.