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Links to my published articles online
List of Publications with Full Citations

Adolescent Diary Weblogs and the Unseen Audience

Conversations in the Blogosphere: An Analysis "from the Bottom Up". Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-38) Best Paper Nominee.

Weblogs as a bridging genre

Bridging the Gap: A Genre Analysis of Weblogs. Winner of the 2004 EduBlog Awards as best paper.

Common Visual Design Elements of Weblogs

Women and Children Last: The Discursive Construction of Weblogs

Time until my next publication submission deadline
27 March 2006 23:59:59 UTC-0500

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The Performativity of Naming: Adolescent Weblog Names as Metaphor

Buxom Girls and Boys in Baseball Hats: Adolescent Avatars in Graphical Chat Spaces

Time until my next conference submission deadline
31 March 2006 23:59:59 UTC-0500

Adolescents and Teens Online Bibiliography
Last updated July 8, 2005.

Weblog and Blog Bibliography
Last Updated November 22, 2005.

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My Book2
New books are added but reading status is rarely accurate.

January 05, 2006

Mandatory grad student reading

Inside Higher Ed published an article on December 28, 2005 that is manditory grad student reading, assumign you are heading for a career in academia. Check out What They Don't Teach You in Grad School -- Part III. Here is one section if this very listful article.

p.s. Do not read this before bed as it may cause sleeplessness. *sigh*

I. Tenure

1. The most dreaded experience for an academic is the tenure process. Without tenure, you cannot stay permanently at an institution as a professor and must go job hunting in an uncertain market. Some colleges may consider it as a stain on your record if you tried and failed. On the other hand, colleges that rank lower than the one you are at may want to hire you because that gives them bragging rights. We know of at least two universities, for example, that hired ex-Harvard and MIT professors. With tenure, of course, you remove uncertainty.

2. Things are changing, but it is still true that tenure is the prize in academia. There are many exciting non-tenure track jobs in higher education and in research organizations (Both of us worked full-time for think tanks after our Ph.D.'s prior to our university positions). But most new Ph.D.'s seeking academic careers will want to become tenured professors.

3. Understand why tenure is such a hurdle. Consider the cost of a positive tenure decision to your institution. Assume for simplicity that you are making $66,666 per year and will serve the university 30 years after tenure. Assume your academic raises only cover cost of living (the worst case from your point of view, the best from the university's); that is, your salary is nearly the same in real terms for the rest of your career. From your point of view, you certainly think of yourself as worth the $2 million dollar the university must make. But think of it from administrators' view. If they give tenure when they shouldn't, they made a bad $2 million dollar bet. If they deny tenure to someone and that person many years later wins a Nobel Prize, everyone will conclude "Old Siwash was stupid." However, they will say it only for a few days and it will blow over. Although it will cost something to hire your replacement, with any luck that person will work for even less than you do. Any statistician will tell you that, given these upside and downside risks, universities are absolutely rational to err on the no side, not on the yes side.

4. The tenure clock is really four and a half years, not seven. Remember that the rule is that the seventh contract is forever. Thus, the latest the decision can be made is in year six. Your dossier will have to be completed for the powers-that-be by the beginning of year. Although you can count publications that have been accepted, journal (or book publisher) review time averages over a year in most fields. Thus, you have to submit your work for publication by the beginning of year five. It will take you six months to write up your results. Ergo, four and a half years!

5. Tenure committees look almost exclusively at publications that appear in peer-reviewed journals or in scholarly books. It is, in a sense, a tragedy that you get much more credit for what appears in a "write only" journal (i.e., a journal with minute circulation) than what appears in a high circulation, widely read popular magazine. But that is the way the game is played.

6. If, by chance, you have tenure, never take another appointment without it. The people who promise it "real soon" may not be there when the crunch comes.

7. Like research support, tenure can be negotiated on the way in. Nobody tells you (and nobody admits it) but tenure is, in effect, transferable. Be firm in your position that since you have tenure, you wouldn't think of moving without it.

8. New cross-discipline fields are tougher to get tenure in because you are judged by the standards of people who made their mark in a single, well-established discipline. For example, the field of Information Systems, which is taught in business schools, combines a hard science (computer science) and two soft sciences (organizational behavior and management). People in this field publish at the intersection of disciplines. However, they are judged by people in the pure disciplines and are expected to contribute to these pure disciplines. Research that combines existing ideas from several disciplines is discounted by the purists even though it is the essence of the field.

9. Tenure as we know it today may not be here forever. The problem stems from changes in the retirement law and in public attitudes. Beginning in 1992, you could not be forced to retire because you had reached a mandatory retirement age. Thus, colleges that grant tenure are stuck with you as long as you want to work -- whether you perform or not. The teaching life is fulfilling and the paycheck is better than your retirement income (Your income even gets better if you reach 70 because you can then take out of your tax-deferred retirement nest egg and can still collect your paycheck as well as your social security.) Beside which, what would you do with yourself in retirement? When our late colleague, Peter Drucker (who was still teaching at 92) was asked why he didn't retire, replied, "Why retire at 65? I can't see myself driving a Winnebago for 25 years."

10. Universities have a different objective than you do. They want to avoid deadwood and take age as prima facie evidence of your being past it. They certainly want you out of there before Alzheimer's strikes. If the number of positions is constricted, they prefer to take your slot and give it to a bright young person who is more current, may work for less, and who revitalizes your department. Tenure forces them to hold on to you because firing you for age would be discrimination. They are joined in this view by the younger faculty who want new opportunities. As a result, some universities already introduced a "rolling" tenure arrangement where people are reviewed every five years, and may be encouraged to leave after poor performance.

11. The number of tenured slots in some universities may decrease. Jack Schuster and Martin Finkelstein, in a forthcoming book on the American professoriate, report data that show that the number of part-time and full-time hires who are off the tenure track increased significantly in the last several years, from a few percent in the late 1970's to over 50 percent today. It is not clear whether this change is the result of universities hedging their bets because they fear enrollments will go down in some areas, or whether it is a deliberate move to reduce the size (and with it, the power) of the tenured faculty, or whether they simply want to reduce their payroll. Our advice is not to accept a position off the tenure track because your chances of ever getting back on could be between zero and nil.

Also check out - What They Don't Teach You in Grad School -- Part II

Posted by prolurkr at January 5, 2006 02:02 PM

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