I promised in a Facebook post that I’d be posting about getting tenure “shortly.” Well, here’s my attempt at a post about getting tenure. I’m not sure I’m doing it justice, but here it is anyway.
On Wednesday I received a letter notifying me that I have been awarded tenure! It’s official now! Yay!
I am unquestionable happy (ebullient, even) with receiving tenure. It is the culmination of many years of work–not just at Chabot, but also at UMass Boston, NIEHS, and grad school. Still, it’s a weird feeling. There was no defining moment in the tenure process, nothing at all like a thesis defense. My level one tenure committee recommended tenure, then my level two committee signed off on it, and then the board gave it their OK (it was a consent item, along with all the other personnel actions, at the Feb. 16 meeting). I suppose the level one recommendation was the hard part. It’s not like the board was going to override it. Still, I didn’t want to do any celebrating until I received the official letter.
And now I have that official tenure letter. On the global scale, while achieving tenure at Chabot College may not be quite the same as getting tenure at Stanford, I couldn’t be happier with my situation. It’s a function of being in the right place and knowing it. I have found a place to work where I fit very well. I feel valued and respected. I still tell people about the time, early in my first semester at Chabot, that my colleague Laurie came by my office to ask me a question. She asked me (I don’t remember what the question was) as if I had been there for five or ten years! I definitely didn’t feel like a junior faculty member then.
I have been fortunate to have found such a good fit. I love what I do (teach chemistry). I like participating in the running of the college (as Curriculum Committee Chair). Sure, there are things at work I’d rather not deal with, but it’s worth it in the long run. Maybe I’ve looked for a job like this because this is what I saw my dad had–a job that he enjoyed, where he was highly valued, where he was an important member of the company. I too wanted to be an important member of something. And now I am.
I also feel like my work makes a difference. I suppose it’s a bit self-centered of me to say, but I feel I play an important role in society by educating students. In particular, working at a place such as Chabot allows me to reach students who may not otherwise have been interested in science. I also feel I can add to the experience of those students who are interested in science as well. Last year I had a student tell me, at the end of a year of organic chemistry, that I “made her believe in herself.” How cool is that?
So I’m in a good place, work-wise. And I have a wonderful wife and amazing kids. So I will proceed to toot my own horn, now that I have tenure: Beep, beep! 😉