I was recently tenured.
A friend of mine told me a story about when he was interviewing and one of the people who interviewed him asked him what he would do differently when he got tenure. He couldn’t think of an answer. She said, that’s the right answer. You shouldn’t do anything differently.
I tried to be a pre-tenure faculty member for whom that could be true not because I was living out of fear of who I was upsetting, but because I was doing what I thought was right in teaching, research and service situations regardless of what people thought. I think my friend’s interviewer’s comment can sometimes imply that faculty are so beaten down, well-disciplined in the Foucaultian sense, that they will continue to feel sheepish as they did before they were tenured.
Soon after I learned of my tenure decision, I was back home in Philadelphia visiting my family, and it struck me how freeing it would be if you could address your personal life as if you had tenure–tenure for life, I like to call it. Read more