Walking the Tightrope: Reflections on the First Tenure-Track Job

Saturday, January 5, 2013: 3:10 PM
Roosevelt Ballroom III (Roosevelt New Orleans)
Stephen J. C. Andes, Louisiana State University
Walking the Tightrope: Reflections on the First Tenure-Track Job”

You’re a newly-minted PhD, or at least fairly new, depending on how long you’ve been on the job market. You’ve applied to God-knows how many jobs, from the R1s to regional universities in places you’ve never heard of (or if you have heard of them, places you probably never thought you’d actually end up in a million years). The day comes when you’re called to campus to interview. Your interview (or interviews) goes swimmingly; you feel like you knocked it out of the park. The waiting game ensues. Then, without warning, on some random afternoon, you receive the phone call offering you a job. A tenure-track job! Maybe it’s the R1 calling. Great. More than likely, it might not be your first choice. Such are the vicissitudes of academic job-hunting fortune. You take that job, move yourself and perhaps your partner/family/dog/cat/fish/parakeet halfway across the country with stars in your eyes. What now?

This presentation will hopefully demystify the first tenure-track teaching job a bit. In the process, I’ll talk about negotiating the first offer and balancing teaching/service/research commitments, as well as discussing how to get settled in a new location. The first tenure-track job is a joy, but it’s a bit like walking a tightrope. It’s important to get and keep your balance and keep your eyes focused on the goal!