Coming Up for Air, or Life as a Tenured Professor

At least once a week, I make a notation in my notebook about a weekly blog post. I love having the space to work through ideas, to seem “less” academic, and to communicate quickly with folks (as opposed to waiting for the long slog of the publication cycle). Writing this is good for my soul, even when I’m writing about hard or infuriating things.

The experiences people have post-tenure vary. Some folks feel a sense of ennui, wondering where their work goes next. Others experience a sense of depression. When you spend 6 to 7 years working toward a goal, meeting that goal can feel anti-climatic. It’s easy then, I think, to question the amount of life and energy you spent working toward that goal. Earning tenure, apparently, comes with a whole host of complicated feelings.

For me, post tenure life means that I’m expected to be present in many more spaces. I chair two high-profile committees in my college (Faculty Affairs and Diversity*), I’m now part of the Promotion & Tenure committee, and my focus on institutional equity and critical race theories has raised my institutional profile, meaning that I’m invited to talk about these things more often. I enjoy doing this, and firmly believe that tenured professors should do a bulk of the service work.

However, what is taking up the *most* time is supporting graduate students. This will be my post for next week because I have important things to say on this topic–earning tenure makes me much more emboldened in calling out individuals within the institution, not just the institution itself.

Oh, and I’m still expected to maintain the type of research productivity I had while I was an assistant professor (albeit with less anxiety because my job is secure). Sure! Why not? 🙂

Anyway, I plan to carve out more time for writing. There are some exciting things on the horizon and sharing them here makes sense.

* I have feelings about the diversity committee. They can be summed up in this post

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