Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fair and Balanced Promotion and Tenure Reports and Informative Letters

As for promotion/tenure committee reports. Committees seem shameless in producing stuff that won’t pass the sniff test; or they are quite ignorant of what needs to be done. Hatchet jobs, or “rose” jobs. Unbalanced, misrepresenting the letters by cherry-picking, somehow thinking that their position (as senior fancy faculty) trumps the weak argument they present in writing.This does not happen often, but often enough so that this phenomenon is troubling.

Some years ago, a new faculty member in my then department asked me how did X get tenure in our department. He admitted that he had written a letter that was positive but surely not very positive.  In effect, he reaped what he had sown. People are more careful in buying a car or a home.  It does a candidate no good if they are tenured but are unlikely to have a good career at an institution. It might seem cruel to send them away, but  then they have a chance for a better life.

Of course, candidates who are marginal might well find a way of having a terrific career.

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