Over the past few weeks my inbox has been inundated with people saying things like “You haven’t posted much lately but I hope that you’ll still do the ASA Scavenger Hunt!” and “MAGIKARP DEMANDS TO KNOW WHEN THE SCAVENGER HUNT WILL BE POSTED!!!” and “Find the best Medicare supplement plan.”* Fear not, readers, on the eve of the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting, the hunt is ready to be scavenged. Use a Sharpie to cross off completed items on your computer or mobile phone or, if you prefer, download a PDF version here.
2016 ASA Scavenger Hunt
- Attend a friend’s presentation even though it is outside of your area
- See somebody playing Pokémon Go during a session
- Make a joke about economists
- Attend the Sociologists for Justice session on Saturday night
- Attend a talk in which the presenter is reading from his or her paper with no apparent preparation
- Check out the poster presentations
- Time how long it takes the ASA app to load when you haven’t used it recently
- Attend a session with fewer than five audience members
- Go to a business meeting and sign up for a committee
- Overhear a sociologist make a racist/sexist/homophobic (etc.) comment
- Talk to somebody about SJMR
- Ask a good question in a session
- Look at somebody’s nametag in an obvious way
- Find the unisex restrooms and rate their implementation on a scale of 1-10
- Attend DAN and/or a department reception
- Get a free drink at a section reception
- Go to the blogging party, say you’re John Smith
- Talk to somebody from a liberal arts school about his or her research
- Talk to somebody from a research school about his or her teaching
- Talk to somebody on the job market about his or her ideal job
- Introduce two people you know to each other
- For Faculty: Buy a student coffee or a meal; For Students: Accept coffee or a meal from a faculty member
- Eat a meal alone, confidently
- Talk to somebody whose name you can’t remember
- Post on social media about ASA
- Catch up with a colleague from another institution
- Visit the Space Needle
- Spend an entire day in Seattle without attending a session
- Get a coffee at Starbucks, ironically
- Complain about the heat
*Only one of these is an actual e-mail I received.
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Posted in Uncategorized |
The goal of being on the tenure track is to receive tenure and there is lots of available advice about how to do that. There is less information available about what happens when tenure is denied. Even when our colleagues are denied tenure, it can be hard to find out the details while respecting the fact that they likely do not want to talk about the situation. For these reasons, recent guest posts at Historiann and a blog started in May by Jennifer Diascro are intriguing (and often frustrating and devastating).
“Hannah” at Historiann recounts her experience with a Dean who seemed to be against her case from the start, despite the support of colleagues, and her successful appeal the next year. Diascro, who had been previously tenured at the University of Kentucky, details her experiences with tenure denial at American University where the messages she received from her colleagues leading up to the tenure decision directly contradicted their recommendation. Hannah’s account is interesting, but Diascro’s is even more illuminating due to her willingness to post many of the documents from her tenure case at AU.
Both stories have (eventual) happy endings, which probably makes their authors more willing to share their experiences but makes them no less illuminating.
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Posted in Rank and File, The Ivory Tower, The Publication Gauntlet, Work-Life Balance | 1 Comment »
Since my days in graduate school I have sought opportunities to learn some new information. Whether this is attending a presentation, joining a reading group, or signing up for a workshop, I’ve done a lot of things not because they were particularly important to my success but because they sounded interesting or fun. (The fact that I have a high tolerance for boredom also works in my favor, since the snippets of useful information are often surrounded by useless information.) This semester, though, I think I have found the limits of demands on my time. Between preparing for class, meeting with students, grading, writing, and trying to get a new research project started, I have finally reached the point where I literally do not have time for a lunchtime discussion of teaching or a book discussion about gender.
Luckily, student meetings are winding down just as midterms are ramping up. I would look forward to spring break if I didn’t have so much work to do during it! In the future I may have to reduce some of my teaching efforts in order to increase my sanity (and, you know, the chance of getting tenure).
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Posted in The Ivory Tower, Tracking the Transition, Work-Life Balance | Tagged Academic Life, Memoirs of a SLACer, Time Management |
At my previous institution, a few peer-reviewed publications and evidence of continued “scholarly activity” (such as conference presentations) were enough for tenure. These publications could be on any topic in any publication as long as it was peer-reviewed. At my current institution, the picture is considerably less clear.
The major change is in what counts and how much. As at many institutions, all peer-reviewed publications are not created equally. Nobody is expected to publish in ASR or AJS but things like impact factor are considered. The type of research also matters. As one colleague stated, publishing in outlets like Teaching Sociology is like a cherry on top of a sundae, but it isn’t the sundae. They also like to see progress in these areas, so one high-profile publication followed by three lower-ranking publications is not as desirable as the reverse would be.
All of this makes the publication gauntlet that much more daunting. There is also uncertainty, though, about when one wants things to be accepted and published while moving along the tenure track. The third-year review, for example, is less of a formality and essentially the same in practice as the tenure review (requiring the exact same documents). This means that publications are essential for passing the third-year review but there are cases in which individuals with a few publications at this point neglected to tell the tenure and promotion committee about a paper that had been recently accepted so that it would be seen as “new” at the tenure review.
The final issue that I’ve encountered is a lack of information about what actually counts as “published.” Accepted papers do not seem to have the same weight as those that have actually been published (indicated in the fact that they are not requested as part of the review). “Published,” though, encompasses a wide variety of things today. Some journals have long lead times before publication in print, others have long lead times but “online first” availability in the meantime, and others have short lead times (or even all-online publishing) but questionable impact factors.
Together, these factors make a process that I breezed through at my previous institution much more stressful (I haven’t even had time to work on my time machine!).
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Posted in SLAC, The Ivory Tower, The Publication Gauntlet, Tracking the Transition | Tagged Academic Publication, Memoirs of a SLACer, Publish or Perish, Tenure and Promotion |
A recent discussion on campus alerted me to the fact that mentoring has changed. Models with a single assigned mentor (or anti-mentor) are no longer preferred. Instead, everybody should have lots of mentoring relationships in which all partners mutually benefit. The result is “mutual mentoring.” According to the NEA’s summary, mutual mentoring involves:
- mentoring partnerships that include a wide variety of individuals—peers, near peers, tenured faculty, chairs, administrators, librarians, students, and others;
- mentoring approaches that accommodate the partners’ personal, cultural, and professional preferences for contact (e.g., one-on-one, small group, team, and/or online);
- partnerships that focus on specific areas of experience and expertise, rather than generalized, “one-size-fits-all” knowledge;
- a reciprocity of benefits between the person traditionally known as the “protégé” and the person traditionally known as the “mentor;” and
- perhaps most importantly, new and under-represented faculty members who are not seen or treated solely as the recipients of mentoring, but as the primary agents of their own career development.
All of these things sound great! Who will be arranging these relationships for me?
That, apparently, is my responsibility. Here are “some good first steps to create a Mutual Mentoring network of your own”:
- If your department already has a formal mentoring program in place, take advantage of it, but keep in mind that the mentor chosen for you, or by you, as part of this program should not be your only source of professional support.
- Ask some key colleagues whom they think you should approach about your specific subjects of interest. Keep in mind that there are many different ways that you can “click” with a mentoring partner. Who teaches classes similar in size to yours? Who uses a particular classroom technology that you’re interested in adopting? Who seems like the best overall personality match?
- Identify near peers (colleagues who are close to your career level). Near peers can be particularly valuable because their experiences as newcomers are still reasonably fresh. Helpful “global” questions to ask near peers include: What do you wish you would have known when you first arrived? What is the most valuable thing you’ve done in support of your teaching?
- Look for mentoring partners outside the faculty ranks. A talented, tech-savvy student may help you navigate a new class management system, while a librarian specializing in your discipline may be able to recommend hard-to-find resources.
I don’t think that new faculty should shirk the responsibility of forming networks and I also recognize that some of these are relationships that many people already have being recast as mentoring, but there also seems to be a disconnect between people saying “we’ve recognized that the best way to be successful here is to meet a lot of people inside and outside of the institution who can help you in different areas” and following that up with, “good luck finding them!” In an ideal world, experienced faculty would reach out to new faculty (who are busy enough juggling teaching, service, and research), not the other way around. I guess that all junior faculty are in charge of changing the culture now.
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Posted in The Ivory Tower, Tracking the Transition | Tagged Junior Faculty, Memoirs of a SLACer, Mentoring, Mutual Mentoring |
For your viewing pleasure, and in light of the response to her video for “Formation” and Super Bowl appearance (backlash to which, according to one Fox News writer, “continues to grow”), here is Saturday Night Live’s brilliant response, “The Day Beyoncé Turned Black”:
Keep in mind that if your workplace is freaking out over the realization that Beyoncé is, and has always been, black, you might need to put on some Adele to sooth them:
Update: Here is a more detailed discussion from Doug Hartmann.
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Posted in Arts and Letters, Gender, Race, TV Time | Tagged Adele, Beyonce, Formation, Memoirs of a SLACer, Saturday Night Live, Super Bowl, Super Bowl Halftime Show |