FFPP Mentor Bridgett M. Davis has a lot to celebrate! Her memoir, The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers will not only be the first year text for Fall 2020, but it will be adapted for a feature film — to be released by Searchlight Pictures, the Disney-owned arthouse studio, and produced by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B Entertainment. For details, see The Hollywood Reporter. For more details, see Detroit Metro Times.
In this moment of anxiety and uncertainty, it’s natural to feel even more stress about the already stressful tenure and promotion process. Since we can’t meet in person, we’ve organized this post to include some advice and tools that we would have shared with your in person at our Professional Development Workshop. You’ll see these tips and tools hyperlinked throughout this post.
First, it is important that you start planning for your tenure and promotion. We created deck of slides you can use to plan your success year by year. For instance, your third and fourth year are important moments to show benchmarks in publishing. Have you published peer-reviewed articles or significant creative work? Have you identified a list of ideal publishers for your book? Let’s be clear: there will always be bumps in the road; Matt Brim shared his Response to Fourth Year Review that didn’t go as well as he’d hoped. The moment helped him get clear about what he needed to do to succeed, and he did just that (Matt just got promoted to full professor and his third book was recently published by Duke UP). Remember, this is a marathon. Do not let a setback derail you.
Your sixth year is another important milestone year. By the end of it, you should have the bulk of your dossier ready to go out for national review. Its a scary process, so don’t hesitate to ask for advice. Your department chair and or colleagues who have recently been through the process can share all kinds of insights.
In our experiences, we learned the most from colleagues who were willing to share their candidate statements. FFPP Mentor Katherine Chen shared an Annotated Tenure Statement that shows the logic she used to draft hers. Statements like these provide a narrative of your career–they tell who you are, what you value as a scholar and as a teacher, and they provide the language that sets the tone for a review committee’s discussion of you and your accomplishments. In your narratives, please be sure to describe not just the labor of your work (e.g., archival research, interviews, translations, or grant funding), but also the impact (e.g., citations on Google Scholar, downloads on Academic Works, reviews, or invited lectures). Think of your work not just in the present–what about your past work? What about future projects? Where are they in the pipeline of what will be a long and active career post-tenure and promotion?
Regardless of where you are in your career, its always a good idea to be mindful of the stories you tell about your professional self. Are you always complaining? Do you share your good news? The stories you tell accumulate in your institution’s memory. Bethany Albertson’s Operation Keep My Job offers excellent insight on this point. “4 Steps to a Strong Tenure File” and Publishing as Strategy by Karen Kelsky also offer insight into how you can organize for the long view of a successful academic career.
Finally, always remember the hard part is behind you. You got the job–a tenure track job in a highly competitive market! Now is the time to get over that imposter syndrome and trust yourself. When you feel unsure, ask for help. Your College’s Provost’s Office, or its Office of Academic Affairs, has a schedule for tenure and promotion that you should access well before you need it. It will help you organize. And besides your department chair and your colleagues on your home campus, you have your FFPP Mentor and Fellows–our working groups are always confidential. The PSC CUNY Union will help you understand your rights, and if necessary, it will assist you if you need to file a grievance.
Please dig into our Commons site for even more resources. For instance, we posted on CUNY’s new Guidance Memo that allows tenure track faculty the option to delay tenure and promotion review. You’ll also find a trove of publishing resources. Please let us know if you need something and you can’t find it here in our Commons Community.
Wishing you health, safety, and peace in this chaos. May you have tremendous success in your career.
xo, Shelly, Matt, and all the FFPP Mentors
CUNY’s Office of Research is hosting a Zoom webinar on book publishing and you are invited!
This event will announce this year’s Book Completion Award Winners and the launch of a new web-based resource for scholarly publishing, and it will feature a panel discussion with university press editors for prospective authors.
Thursday, June 11, 2020 3:00pm – 4:30pm
You can register here: http://ybephbsyus.formstack.com/forms/bcaevent
Effie MacLachlan, Interim Assistant University Dean for Research, CUNY
Announcement of 2020 Book Completion Award Winners
June 11Tamera Schneider, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, CUNY
Panel Discussion: ASK UP – the University Press website for prospective authors
Fredric Nachbaur, Director, Fordham University Press
Gisela Fosado, Editorial Director, Duke University Press
Ilene Kalish, Executive Editor, Social Sciences, New York University Press Trevor Perri, Senior Acquisitions Editor, Northwestern University Press
We thought you’d appreciate some advice about the revise and resubmit (r&r) processes that define our publishing careers. In this brief post, we’re sharing two bits of excellent advice on how you can successfully survive the double-sided challenges that go along with the dreaded/welcome r&r.
First, please read Cathy Davidson’s “How to Cope with the Dreaded–I mean, AMAZING–“Revise and Resubmit”” from HASTAC. Some of you may know that Cathy was scheduled as our Professional Development Day keynote speaker. Her advice is always on point, and we both think of her as a Mentor.
We also attached an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, How Your Journal Editor Works by Devoney Looser.
We know it helps to remember you’re not alone.
Shelly and Matt
Former FFPP Fellow and Kingsborough Community College (KCC) faculty just earned an ACLS/Mellon Community College Faculty Fellowship Prize for her project, In the Footsteps of Emmet Till: And Intellectual and Experiential Engagement with Civil Right Movement Legacies. Her award will support a participatory research trip with six KCC to civil rights sites in Mississippi.
Debra began her work on this amazing project during her time in FFPP, and we are thrilled to celebrate this recognition of her scholarship as an inspiration for students to learn and to engage racial justice.
How are you doing? As we make our way through all of the challenges facing us in this moment, it remains so important that we all practice Self Care. We are doing all that we can to stay healthy and sane in this time of isolation. Have you tried a free dance class with the legendary Debbie Allen? Or the free 90 day trial from Peleton? Their an app offers short stretching exercises, yoga and cardio classes, guided meditation and more.
Of course also, we are doing what we can to remain productive. Some of you may be wondering and worrying about tenure. And since we won’t be meeting in person on April 3 to talk about your questions and your plans, we’ve curated some good advice for you from “The Professor is In” column at The Chronicle of Higher Education. Please follow these links for PDFs of “10 Things No One Ever Told Me About Applying for Tenure,” “Publishing as Strategy,” and “4 Steps to a Strong Tenure File.”
And, in case you haven’t heard, given the current circumstances, The University is offering the option to delay tenure for one year. This option is outlined in the Guidance Memo (March 24, 2020) from CUNY’s Vice Chancellor of Labor Relations. It states that it is “going to permit faculty whose candidacies for tenure are coming up in the fall 2020 semester to receive a one-year extension, if they so desire. Such faculty must request a tenure clock extension by emailing their request to their college Provost by May 1, 2020.”
“Going forward,” the Guidance Memo states that “faculty on the tenure track who subsequently want to request a tenure clock extension based on the circumstances of Spring 2020 must apply by February 1 in the year immediately preceding their tenure review…their request will be subject to a fact-specific review, in accordance with past University practice.”
This announcement might be a much needed reprieve for some.
Whatever the case, we look forward to seeing you all at our revised Professional Development Day on Friday, August 28. Please mark your calendars!
Take care, Shelly and Matt
By now you may have already read our post about the importance of self-care in a time like this. It is more important than ever.
We’d also like to remind you that we’ll be sharing some selections from our Professional Tool Kit—items like tips from publishers and editors, advice from grant makers, and slides about tenure and promotion. You’ll find them here, in our digital community so please continue reading our posts as they land in your inbox.
We know the personal connections Fellows make during our Professional Development day are really important, so we’ll schedule an event early next fall.
Stay tuned and stay well!
Shelly and Matt
How are you doing? We have been thinking a lot about you, hoping that you are finding a way to take care of your mind and your body as we all adjust to this new (temporary) reality of “social distance” and teaching online.
With this goal in mind, we’ve collected some tips and resources for you to help insure your self care.
- UNPLUG OCCASSIONALLY. Take a break from the news every now and then so you can recharge and (try to) relax.
- FIND SUPPORT. Please don’t forget you are part of an academic community. Check in with your Mentors and fellow Fellows. Message us, if you need to (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com), or try meditation. The Breathing App is a free option. And Tricycle, a Buddhist magazine is offering free meditation practice sessions online (using Zoom).
- STAY SOCIAL. Keep in touch with your friends and family. Group chat, set up a virtual happy hour, or even a virtual writing session.
- MOVE YOUR BODY. Now is a good time to develop an at-home work out routine. There are plenty of free, on-demand options on Youtube and on Spotify. Try Yoga with Adriene, FitnessBlender, or Tiny Workouts.
Most of all, please be sure to honor your feelings and remember we’re in this together. We’ll get through it together.
In the coming days and weeks we’ll post some gems from the Professional Tool Kit we were going to share at our Professional Development Day. We’ll also schedule an in-person, abbreviated workshop in the fall so we can gather and celebrate our community of scholars.
Stay tuned and stay positive.
XO, Shelly and Matt
FFPP’s co-director Matt Brim won the MLA’s Crompton-Noll Award for Best Essay in LGBTQ Studies! The article became the introduction to his new book, Poor Queer Studies: Confronting Elitism in the University (Duke UP).
You can read it here.
Congratulations, Matt! Your scholarship, your leadership, and your commitment to quality education for everyone makes us so proud!
Happy New Year, Everyone!
Today is a great day to work on your writing project. So many of us have big plans for the coming year, and its important to look for the tools and strategies that can help us stay on track. We hope that FFPP’s academic community will be a resource for you as you build your career and set your writing goals. Carrie Hintz former Mentor and Friend of FFPP offered some great advice “On Distraction and Tomatoes” about how to get a little bit of work done every day–even when teaching, committee work, and life make their demands on your time. You can also read it in last year’s “New Year, New Goals” post to our community of scholars.
FFPP Mentor Mark McBeth’s new book, Queer Literacies: Discourses and Discontents was just published by Rowman & Littlefiled. Congratulations to Mark! He has some excellent advice about how he planned his work and worked his plan:
- Set a “Backwards Calendar” that sets a manuscript completion date as well as benchmark achievement of tasks that contribute to the final goal. Some folks call it a “Reverse Calendar,” which you can read about here.
- Don’t beat yourself up when you miss a deadline. Instead, reset it.
- Keep a journal that notes your accomplishments. These notes can reassure you that you are indeed getting work done–and sometimes you need to pat yourself on the back.
Our Professional Development Day will take place on April 3. We’ll have seminars and workshops on publishing books and articles, finding and writing grant and fellowships, on organizing your tenure and promotion files, on self-care and so much more.
Your Working Groups will meet from 10AM-1PM on these days–you can use your presentation dates as benchmark achievements toward your final goal:
February 7; February 21; March 6; March 20; April 24; May 8