My application for promotion to full professor has officially advanced to the office of the provost. At all levels to this point, my promotion has been recommended. I was not surprised by the positive evaluation of my materials in the early (department-level) stages, but I am, apparently and irrationally, somewhat stunned that my dean supports my application. Obviously my promotion is not yet a done deal – the provost needs to approve, and the board of regents needs to approve. But barring some unforeseeable glitch, the likelihood that I actually will be promoted is much higher today than it was yesterday. And I’m a little… confused by that.
This is the thing: I have been, I now realize, bracing myself for a denial. This isn’t false modesty on my part. First of all, I had really wanted my second book to be at least under review when I went up for full. The manuscript isn’t even complete. Second of all, administrative turnover and a complete lack of mentorship toward full meant that I really had no idea what the expectations were when I put together my application. I mean, I did my best, but I was definitely going into this process blind. So I guess I had figured that I’d submit the application and that the feedback I got would tell me what was missing, and then I’d resubmit my application next year or the year after. While I really want full promotion, and of course that motivated me to put the application together, that’s not the reason I applied this year. I applied because I figured that it made sense to do it given the other people who were applying from my department. I applied because it was a way to showcase the work that I do to new administrators who don’t know me. I applied because there are changes coming to our processes for promotion and tenure and I figured that I might as well try to do it under the current (admittedly less rigorous) system. I applied because there was nothing to lose in doing so. But I realize now that I did not apply because I thought I would actually maybe get promoted. And now it looks like there is a good chance of that happening, and that feels, frankly, weirder than I thought that it would.
I mean, there is no next promotion after this. There is no next hoop to jump through. I mean, I can create goals for myself, and I can create hoops for myself, but at the end of the day, this is IT. That is so crazy I can’t even talk about it! I mean, who is at the end of the line when she is just 40 years old?!?! That is INSANE. And so I feel a bit lost because of that possibility, frankly.
But you will all laugh at this. So I got my letter, and I was shaking I was so anxious as I opened the envelope. I couldn’t even really read it – I just raced through to look for the verdict. But then I was like, “OMG!!! IT’S HAPPENING!!!” and I wanted to tell my department best friend, CC. She was just about to start class down the hall, and because I’m an impulsive weirdo, I barged into her class and was like, “I HAVE TO SHOW YOU SOMETHING!” And she, who has been almost as impatient about things as I’ve been figured out what I was talking about, and was all, “IS IT GOOD?” and I was all, “TOTALLY!” Now, a lot of her students in that class know me, and they were all sitting in there, and they were like, “WHAT’S GOING ON?!?” and as I was making my exit, I said, “It’s a secret!” And the moment I walked out I heard them enthusiastically questioning CC. She didn’t reveal my secret intel, and then later I ran into one of those students in the elevator, and she told me that CC wouldn’t tell and she tried to get it out of me, and I said, “you will know, but not yet! nothing is certain!” My student then said to me, “well, even though I don’t know what it is, congratulations!”
I love my students. LOVE. THEM.
So this leads to the “other news” of the title:
- I have a (former) student who has made it to the interview process for Teach for America, which is awesome. I also have a student applying to be a Rhodes Scholar, and students applying for internships, study abroad, law school, and grad school. All of them are freaking amazing.
- I heard from a non-trad student whom I had thought dropped out who in fact just needed to stop out in order to get the money to finish and she wants to come in for advising!
- I had a student burst into tears in class yesterday (not good, except) which led to the student coming in for a meeting today and figuring out stuff with her research paper (GOOD!).
- All but one of my modernism students actually showed up for library instruction and they all seemed to be stoked about how much they learned! And I even learned some new things (which I admit is part of the reason I do library instruction – so I can find out the latest features that will make my life easier).
- Critical theory in the intro to the major class! I so love introducing what “theory” is when I don’t actually assign them theory to read! It makes everything so much better when I actually do teach them theory!
And then, in non-student “other news”:
- Footloose is wonderful, deals perfectly with my high-strung-ness because he is like the most low-strung person in the way that he interacts with the world (though he is totally high-strung in his own way but he just internalizes it rather than externalizing it), and he totally doesn’t REACT when I freak out, which, yes, is kind of annoying (because, DUDE, use your words), but which also, yes, is exactly what I need in a person
That’s enough for now. More soon,