Tips from the Panelists

CAS Panelists Tips for Tenure – March 2013

Meredith Newman, CAS Senior Associate Dean
• Overview of T&P Manual (fully online), very clear
• Highlighted importance of Letters of Evaluation
• Emphasis on research

Victor Uribe, History
• Confirmed importance of letter writers and their clear objectivity
• Following directions essential
• Clarify the nature of the journals and presses presented as well as the explicit nature of your research. Those on the committee may not be as familiar with these things as you are.

Tim Collins, Biology
• Chair’s perspective – they really do want you to succeed
• Value of mentors during the tenure process to develop tenure plan
• Service – Importance of collegiality to your department and your research. “Never too early to consider that some of those people could be letter writers.”

Barry Levitt, Politics and International Relations
• Start early to assemble your tenure file
• Narrative is important in tying things together
• Chart out a 5-year timetable

Jaroslava Miksovska, Chemistry & Biochemistry
• Keep doing your research, build relationships with grad students, be excited about your work – it’s not just about the numbers.
• Regretted not opening the T&P Manual in her first year
• Listen only to the good advice!

Kelly Rein, Chemistry & Biochemistry
• Collegiality important – can ask to see colleagues’ files, have them share with you.
• Participate in departmental tenure meetings and in service
• Develop your research portfolio

CEC Panelists Tips for Tenure – March 2013

Ram Iyengar, SCIS
• Research is most important thing but research and teaching are inseparable.
• Do professional service (eg, journal editor, NSF panel), create visibility, document activities, be reliable. Importance of working at a national level as well.
• Collaborate with faculty of similar interests as well as PhD students and an external network.
• Presentation is key! Have to be able to communicate your ideas; articulation is critical no matter how good your research is.

Ranu Jung, BME
• Do what you are passionate about and the rest will follow. Work for your work, not for tenure.
• If there is a lecture series, invite people so they can see your work and get to know you.
• Cultivate your letter writers – not the same as your collaborators.
• A good front page to proposals is important, get help with that – it makes a difference.
• Ask yourself “why” if you are not getting funded and try to improve. Don’t try to do too much too fast. Balance research with teaching and service (quality vs. time).
• If students or post-docs not working out – let go of the ones not doing the work.
• 3M approach – Multimillion, multidisciplinary, multi-organizational.
• Teaching – Think in terms of module components you can streamline as you go.
• Do service at national level, such as manuscript reviews or special issue journals, or conferences – build recognition outside university.
• Ride coattails of senior professors’ proposals to help you along. Can open up new funding sources as well.

Arindam Chowdhury, CEE
• Try to find high impact journals that don’t have a long turnaround time – target 5 papers/yr.
• First 2 pages: include problem, hypothesis, aims and outcome. Can be make or break pages.
• Serve on panels, call your program officer. Submit to more than NSF.
• Go to workshops.
• Integrate research and teaching, include your findings in your classes.
• Identify what’s important in your annual and 3rd year reviews, and try to improve as well.
• “Promotion comes as a process if you do the work you like doing. But even after you have tenure, you will be in that mode of academic excellence and that will stay with you for life.”

Malek Adjouadi, ECE
• Get 3-ring binder and keep up to date, helps relieve stress and last minute mistakes or leaving things out. Include research statement.
• Only teach what you understand, they could become your grad students and work with you.
• ISI web of knowledge for impact factor, ISI page for each published paper.
• Intellectual merit needs to have broader impact and integrate with education.
• Go to the website and read the T&P Manual (updated in 2012).
• Propose up to 5 names for letters of rec, of which only 2 are selected, and think about who you need to get to know along the way.
• Check Carnegie Mellon website, also international sites like Sorbonne.
• Journal pubs – Copy first page and keep in your file.
• Service – Try to do a minimum and not overload while junior faculty, but do your best.

Arvind Agarwal, MME
• Research and publications critical, but there is more to it.
• So important to follow up with your program managers.
• Have to be passionate about your proposals, if you are not, who will be?
• Packaging and presentation are essential. There are NSF workshops to learn how to make it easily presentable.
• Have 3-4 ideas good, don’t spread self too thin.
• DOD – Once in the door it’s a long term relationship (6yrs avg). Attend conferences.
• Don’t think of teaching as a burden.
• Tenure is a by-product of your work overall.

Amir Mirmiran, Dean
• Set your goals high and do your best.
• Have game plan, get activities in order so you can manage time, like a cost-benefit analysis.
• Be intentional and align your goals with your activities.
• 3rd year review – submit proposals! Do not sit it out.
• It’s not a numbers game. Be sure to diversify.
• Once got a bad comment from a program manager so called, and just the fact of following up made a difference the next year.
• Consultants are available at CEC for assistance as needed, including grant-writing
• See faculty chairs and senior faculty as your mentors.
• “Our work is not done when you are hired. Our work is done when you are promoted. That is when we consider ourselves successful.”