I am now at a critical stage of my career and would very much like your advice and suggestions. Let me first briefly introduce myself. I am a female assistant professor in physical science STEM field in a top 10 school in my discipline. I am up for tenure this year (the beginning of the sixth year). The tenure evaluation process is long; there are decisions by three committees (department, college, and provost/university). The department committee consists of all tenured professors (both full and associate). If the candidate gets majority votes from this committee, his/her case will be forwarded to the college committee, for which the college Dean is the chair. The college committee consists of all department chairs plus one faculty representative from each department and several associate deans; it seems this is the most important committee. Also it seems the dean has a big power: he can support a case to move on even if it didn't get majority votes. I guess vice versa also holds... Lastly, the university committee consists of all deans plus one faculty representative from each college, chaired by the provost.
department committee have met and they all voted for me. So now my case has been moved to the college committee which will vote in December. The univeristy committe will vote next March. Finally the Board of Trustees will approve in April or May.
My question is whether I should go on the market this year. Many departments have just posted their job ads; the review and interview processes will start soon. My department thinks I have done a good job (I have $1M funding from NSF and DoD, for 90% of which I am the single PI, including a Young Investigator Award; I've published about 20 papers, all on good journals; my external letters are very good - according to my chair). My record of funding and papers are good, but I am not a super star (several assistant professors in the other departments who are up for tenure this year have funding over $2M; our university really emphasizes $$$. However, my funding is quite impressive in my field). The thing that keeps me nervous is that my Dean dislikes me. I cannot share with you the incidence how I offended him greatly, but I can tell you that he dislikes me (and he is very powerful). So my biggest concern is that the Dean may kill my case at the College Committee. I guess the Dean can always find something missing or not good enough in my CV... Nevertheless, I want to be prepared for the worst scenario.
In such an event, should I apply to other institutions to secure an offer in case of tenure rejection? Two other top schools in my field have shown interests in me (they want to have more women and minority faculty), but they seem to want to recruit me after I have gotten tenure at my current place. I just don't know how things would work (the timeline) out if I apply for other schools now (because the tenure decision in my university will be made till next April)....
I would very much appreciate if you could share some thoughts and suggestions. Would you mind asking the blogosphere about their opinions? I'd like to know whether I should apply this year and if so, how to apply.
Concerned Assistant Prof
So what say you, blogosphere?
- Do you think Concerned is in real danger of not getting tenure?
- Do you think she should go on the job market just in case, or do you think she should stay put and wait it out?
- If you think Concerned should go on the market, do you recommend that she apply as broadly as possible, just like most people do in order to get their first job, or should she target only those places from which she has had interest?
- In general, is applying elsewhere so close to tenure a good or a bad idea, and why?