On June 12, 2012, I posted all of my recontracting, tenure, and promotion documents online along with some thoughts about the recontracting process for faculty and graduate students. I had been meaning to put these documents online for some time now, with my initial goal to do so after being awarded tenure. The birth of my son two days before being awarded tenure prevented me from doing that. If time had permitted I would have made an online version of my tenure application but time didn’t permit back in August 2010. This post briefly explains my rationale for putting these documents online.
To make visible a process that is often opaque, confusing, and intimidating to new (and seasoned) faculty.
Much of what we do in academia is opaque, confusing, and intimidating—to those within the academy and outside the academy. It starts with the dissertation process and continues through the hiring process and the recontracting process. My academic philosophy has been to make visible what is often hidden, which is why all of my course information is online and at some point a few years ago I began the process of putting course evaluations online. Putting the recontracting documents (which contain course evaluations) online is a natural extension of my philosophy. And since the recontracting documents are reflections of my work, they very nicely coalesce and explain what I have been doing in my Teaching, Scholarship, Creative Activity, and Service, why I’m doing what I do, how they all connect, and why the work is important—for me, the department, the university, and the field.
I am also very aware that my department, the Department of Writing Arts, is one of the few stand-alone Writing departments in the country, and perhaps the only one located within a College of Communication. These institutional contexts help inform our department values and the guidelines we have composed to evaluate our favulty. My recontracting documents from the Third Year packet and onward contain the department’s Recontracting, Tenure, and Promotion guidelines. The guidelines, I think, are a model for other such departments and concentrations housed within English departments that are considering the possibility of become stand-alone.