The Tenure Post, take 1

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!  😉

5 Comments

Filed under Job, Wayne

5 responses to “The Tenure Post, take 1

  1. Jeremy Mileo

    Congratulations, Wayne! What a surprise to hear that you are teaching at Chabot. It sounds like you’ve been there about as long as I have been at College of San Mateo. Interesting… You’re also really into Facebook. I will continue to take looks, but I got to go now. I just started with Facebook, so hopefully my learning curve will be fast. But, anyways, I am really happy for you and thanks for looking me up.

  2. Santina

    I’m glad you’re in the right place 🙂

  3. Aleksandra

    I am so happy for you! Sincerely. You feel that your job makes a difference, you love your job, and you are blessed with a healthy and beautiful family – what else can a man desire?! I am one of those people who believe that even small acts can build up to make a great difference and I believe that what you are doing contributes something important to the community and it is not just improving the academic performance, manners and behavioral principles of the students. It requires hard work to teach somebody something and it requires special abilities to explain one and the same material, sometimes boring and complex, in an easy and amusing way, to different students, each of whom requires a different approach. It is through your work as a teacher when the professional and personal experience truly enriches and the most important thing is that you know that by treating every student as an individual and by focusing on little things, one could make a difference in that student’s life and make her “believe in herself”.

  4. Wait…does this mean we can’t EVER get rid of you??

  5. Wayne Pitcher

    Yup! Unless community college budgets are cut by 40% or I do something really bad like kill a student, I should be here until I retire or completely burn out.

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