Friday, April 9, 2010

Looking ahead

So as I am regrouping from some of my service work for the year and glimpsing the end of the semester, my thoughts turn toward the future and a question I think about now and then.  So now what?
I received tenure a few years ago and was so thrilled to make it over the bar.  I was almost more thrilled when my spouse also joined me on the other side.  Now that the afterglow has worn off, what's next?  The big next mark for me (other than renewing my R01) was clearly promotion to full at some point.  It's not as all consuming as getting tenure, after all they can't fire me (without good cause) even if I don't make it to full ever.  But, on the other hand there are many  people who stall out at Associate and are become the permanent Associate.  Not the end of the world, but not what I want either.   So I'm thinking about what I need to do for promotion to full.

I have talked to a couple of senior faculty type that are involved in this type of promotion including my chair.  The comments include making sure to increase my international exposure.  Not sure how to do this except through international travel, but of course this is challenging with small kiddos at home.  I do have an international conference that I am giving an invited lecture at this summer, so hopefully this will help.  I'm on the board of directors or similar governing boards for 2 societies in my area of research/field (figure this should be good for visibility).  I am also joining an NIH Study section in the coming year.  I figure the timing should actually be somewhat beneficial in that I will get to see lots of grant in the new format.  My chair is really focused on publication metrics, but he did share his formula for evaluation here, so that is helpful.  Of the recent cases that were promoted to full from my department (each has a somewhat strange career path) I have already passed on or the other in many of the metrics, so I'm just about in the pack by most measures here.   The other big component was what has advanced in my research since tenure.  Actually a lot since I have had several students graduate with their PhDs since tenure, so here I'm feeling like I have a good story.

I feel that there is a lack of mentoring at my institution (and many others) after tenure.  While pre-tenure mentoring is more important, we are not completely mature the day after tenure.  So, it's been a little harder tracking down the metrics for promotion to full.  I also only was present for 1 of the 3 tenure cases that went up since I got tenure due to travel or conflicts, so even the whole department discussion is still unclear to me.

After getting to full, where to I want to go.  Leadership (chair??, research center director?), administration (probably not, given what I have seen at my institution) .  Focus more on research or mentoring??  Interesting thoughts, but now back to the details of the end of the semester.

Any newly (or not so newly tenured) folks out there with sage advice??