Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Just Checking In… I'm Not Dead

It's been a while! I've been meaning to post, but everything I want to write about is so private that those who actually know me and this blog might get to know me a bit too well! Or, they might get to know my colleagues' misbehaviors too well.

Since July, not much has happened. I've published some papers, given some talks, graduated my first Ph.D ... The usual. I've been greatly enjoying my lab and my teaching. I feel like I finally have a free pass to be myself, dress how I want, say what I want, and just be true. That didn't please our dean too much at a recent meeting, where I was later told that she was upset about my tone of voice, but again, eh.

My sister, Dr. Mom, is still cancer-free, which is fantastic!

Soon I'll be applying for tenure, and it shouldn't be too bad, considering my track record up to-date. I have been given, however, really odd and mixed messages about where the bar is for getting tenure. I don't worry over it because there is no point. Here are examples of the weird things I have been told about getting tenure at my university (some may be true, but I still find it strange):

(1) You must have 11 published papers in which you are corresponding author. 11? That is a really weird number that you must have surely pulled out of your ass. Why not 10? or 12? Hell, let's just make it lucky 13!

(2) Your work at your 1st institution will not count at all towards your tenure here. Really? Really? Because that would mean that my Ph.D. student that I just graduated from my 1st institution doesn't count? Other department heads that I have talked to and that have agreed to write me letters, say that that doesn't make sense and that they would count it in their own considerations.

(3) A paper that is "submitted" doesn't count. Huh, interesting, but I can see the logic in that.

(4) Any tenure letter writers that I recommend outside my department's discipline, say "sheep shearing" will not be asked. This is really tough because my work is really interdisciplinary and I specialize in "sheep shearing", "sheep making", and "sheep butchering". Most of my best contacts are outside my discipline. Hmmph.

(5) You must have given at least one talk at an international conference. So that's not a problem for me, but where in the guidelines does it say that? What about others who didn't know about this secret guideline and didn't have time to submit to and plan for an international talk?

(6) You must bring in funding greater than or equal to the value of your start-up package. Huh - ok.

(7) You must get at least one unsolicited grant from NSF. Are you f***ing me? NSF is closed! Closed!  No really, not all people get their funding from NSF. Some get their funding from DoD or DOE. Even industry. Should it really matter what the flavor of the money is?

Maybe yall have heard some other crazy things. I must say that many of these are conflicting with colleagues on the other side of the hall say. The whole tenure process is nebulous and gray. Can't wait to dive in.

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