This workshop is my way of helping to start our Faculty Resilience conversation. I’ve used the tools and techniques presented in the lessons myself, and I’ve helped colleagues use them to improve their dossiers. I hope and trust you’ll find them useful, too.
It Takes Professors to Make Professors. And then…?
Many Ph.D. programs are sufficiently structured to take aspiring entrants, apprentice them to supervising faculty’s research, and through course-work, paper-writing, and a series of high-stakes presentations, crank out well-prepared PhDs.
If you’re lucky, as you entered the market you had support from your faculty committee to land a tenure-track position.
Then usually that structured support ends. Senior and mid-rank faculty colleagues at your current institution may extend encouraging conversations about your research; or they may view you as a threat to the department’s established pecking order; or as is often the case, they may be too busy with their own teaching, research, and service to engage in substantive ways about your work and your trajectory.
While you may have great co-authoring connections from the university where you earned your doctorate, it’s unlikely you’ll find rich support from those sources for the process of applying for retention, tenure, and promotion at your institution.
Many of us find ourselves locally lonely as we prepare a comprehensive dossier summarizing years of effort—to create and deliver new courses, to establish ourselves as independent researchers, and to serve our departments, institutions, and the academy.
After years of honing our expertise, we find that, in a dossier, we must be specific enough in describing our work so that experts in our field can recognize it as truly distinctive, while still using language understandable to people who know nothing about our domain. We often feel pressure to present ourselves and our work in ways we THINK others want to hear that don’t sound quite authentic or true to ourselves. Here we emphasize helping you demonstrate your competence in your own authentic voice.