Friday, January 23, 2009

What I'm Worried About

Post #2 in an ongoing series...

This month I had several friends granted tenure. Which led me to think, what if I don't get it?

This is the kind of torture exercise I seem to enjoy wallowing in, so I looked up some statistics. Did you know:

Among 1997-1998 tenure-track entrants at 10 of the top research universities (specifically: Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and my own UW-Madison)....

Only 53% were awarded tenure by 2004-2005?

That tenure rates were 8 percentage points higher for men, compared to women, and 2 percentage points higher for non-minorities, compared to minorities?

Sure, some will raise the reasonable excuse that folks fall off the tenure track long before their year to go up for tenure. This is especially true for women who "opt out" (again, gag me), to go home.

It's next to impossible to find hard data on the percent of people who, having given 6+ years of their life to family/exercise/pleasure-sacrificing efforts all in the name of job security suddenly find themselves turned down-- and without a job? I know, in this economic climate those of employed should simply be grateful- heck, we could be tenured and laid off, too.

But it's simply nauseating to think about where the bar is now set, how many reams of pubs one is supposed to have, and yet how insanely political, personal, and downright random the process remains. It's enough to make one stay up far too late blogging, instead of caving into sleep.

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