A few months ago, I became a full professor! Much like when I earned tenure (I just changed that word from received to earned), for a while I was in a haze of disbelief. Was the quest really over? Was anything different?
In both cases the resounding answer for me was yes. I’m really happy at the new opportunities, freedom and empowerment the promotions have provided.
Our blog focus on real difficulties, impediments and challenges the road to tenure can contain for women. In a later post, I’ll talk about why entering grad school significantly later than most people may have made the road a bit smoother for me than some. Meanwhile here are my top 3 reasons each promotion has been awesome.
Three reasons becoming a Tenured Associate Professor was Awesome
- I could explore research, writing and outreach projects that may not lead to grants or publications, while continuing existing productive projects in order to continue to advance in scholarship.
- I could take on a position in the upper administration and develop new initiatives for my institution, which was viewed favorably in my review for Full Professor. In this position I regularly interacted with the Dean and Associate Deans and work with faculty of all stages. It gave me a new appreciation and a more holistic view of my institution.
- I could say no to “being a new shiny happy prof face” for visitors and parents because there were new people to do that, while saying yes to some important all-campus committees.
Three reasons being a Full Professor is Awesome
- Interacting with other professors feels different. At a recent conference I had more confidence to approach other full professors as a peer. I still have less experience, but many of them are my age (or younger) and it feels nice to (at least in my own mind feel like I) belong at the table. After I served on a career panel, many untenured professors came to me to ask advice. It was great to be able to share my experience and be generous with my time.
- I can serve in roles that are important to my institution, such as member of the tenure and reappointment committee or Dean.
- I have been freed from the looming promotion-centered hoops that must be identified, understood and jumped through. That is so liberating. I can take greater risks in my teaching and research without fear. Teaching evaluations will inform my practice but not threaten my job status. I can devote time to professional service at a national level.