Academic Non-Renewal: Don’t Think it Can’t Happen to You
Three years ago this week, I was given my 1-year’s notice that my tenure track Assistant Professor job would be non-renewed. Huh?! But we’ve been pulling together my promotion and tenure package for the past six months! Sorry, we’re not allowing you to go up for promotion and tenure. Huh?! How is that possible considering that I’m on the tenure track? Sorry, the Dean’s Office said you couldn’t be reviewed for P&T because your contract is not being renewed.
Don’t think it can’t happen to you. I had an active $1 million federal grant and it still happened to me.
I remember when my department said in early June, after all the paperwork had been pulled together for entering my year-6-on-tenure-track promotion and tenure package, that the Dean’s Office was addressing some issue. What issue? We’ll get back to you.
I told my husband I’d be ok as long as I wasn’t called into a meeting with my department chair in June. Sure enough, in the last week of June, the meeting was scheduled. I wore my best suit. I walked as tall as I could down that long hallway to the conference room. In attendance were the chair, the professor who represented the department on the P&T committee, and the department business manager. My immediate supervisor was absent and on vacation. They handed me a one-year notice, and verbally downplayed all my accomplishments. (To interject some objectivity, the head of the school’s P&T committee said I was one of the strongest candidates he’d ever seen for Associate.) I made my rebuttal case, but it didn’t matter.
Don’t think it can’t happen to you. When there is a change in your division chief, chair, dean, or university president, anything can happen.
I’ve timed this blog in case some readers are experiencing this now. I’ll share Chapter 2 in a future blog.