I am an Assistant Professor at a directional state school, where I have taught for 4.5 years. I am moving after this semester to a much better, highly ranked private institution (in a much better location! with a job for my husband!) and I am beyond excited about it.
At my current institution, I did way too much service (sitting on university wide committees, directing a program) partially because I didn’t say no, partially because the institution is full of men who think that female professors should be on all committees relating to teaching and do all service, partially because I was thrown under the bus by my chair and dean. Needless to say, I am delighted to be moving. And that I am better at saying no now than I was 5 years ago.
My big question is this: what advice would you give someone who was moving about adapting to the new place? Are there things that faculty who have come to your departments / former departments did that drove you nuts? That you saw as particularly savvy or smart? I am bringing lots of credit on the tenure clock to the new place, so I have one year there before I go through the tenure process, if that matters.
Oh gee, once again we’re pretty useless on this one. Congratulations on the new job and fixing all sorts of problems!
Most likely you’ll be able to dodge excess service this year because you’re new and you’re doing that last-minute tenure push. As a tenured person if you’re in a good place, you’ll take on more service than pre-tenure people do because you’ll be protecting pre-tenure people. Unless, of course, they’re hiring you because they don’t have enough people to do service(!), in which case your load might be a bit higher than expected. Do ask around what the normal load is for pre-tenure folk, and not just for women.
I don’t think there’s been anything off-the-wall with people we’ve had move from other institutions in either positive or negative directions. One of my colleagues delayed going up for tenure for too long (negotiated a really long clock upon coming) which meant ze sailed through tenure, but hir letters read things like, “I thought this request would be for promotion to full,” but that doesn’t sound like your situation since you’ve only negotiated a one year clock. (Granted, ze was able to take advantage of pre-tenure perks like leave and a post-doc.)
People hired without tenure have tended to be a bit more tentative as a group than people hired with. They’re quieter at meetings, and don’t tend to provide opinions unless directly asked. People hired with tenure have come in and changed things up (for the better!) or come in just as quietly as the pre-tenure. It depends on their personality. Who is to say what is right, though? We’ve had first year hires every bit as opinionated and active as people hired with tenure. As long as the goals are good and the environment is supportive and non-toxic, it’s ok to speak up. If everyone has the same goals of moving the department forward, supporting the students, and doing good work, then disagreements become discussions rather than problems. Still, if you’re pushing for tenure right away, there are benefits to keeping your head down.
We do think that the really important thing is to remember that academia is just a job and that there are a lot of other jobs out there. As such, you don’t really need to try to game the system. Do what you need to do to be a good researcher (and good teacher and good citizen) and, more importantly, to enjoy that research and teaching and service. Focus on what gives you meaning. Maybe stepping lightly that first year as you get your bearing, but if anything is too horrible, remember, you can always leave again.
So… not really that great advice above, but we’re hoping our readers can give better advice! Maybe we’ll jump over and ask Historiann if she can signal boost for us so you can truly get some good advice from a variety of people in academia.