Maria’s Outcome and Success as a Junior Faculty

I have discussed my colleague Maria several times (here, here, here). The final word came: her last appeal was denied. I suspect that given her R01 that she will be able to get another job. Whether she has learned anything from this is not at all clear to me.

I think that had she stayed here, she would have been angry and not particularly enthusiastic about participating/helping in her department. She would feel justified in retreating into her lab and doing the minimum for the department. Going somewhere new may give her a sufficiently different perspective and a new start that change and growth might happen.

But when we talked yesterday, she said things that made me shake my head. She said over and over “no one told me” and “I don’t understand”. In particular she was offended that they had expected more productivity given that she had had significant protected time (i.e., no significant clinical or teaching duties for the first 2 years, and then a reduced load in year 3). “No one told me that because of protected time, I was expected to do more than average”. I do not think this expectation was what she perceives now. As I mentioned original (links above), she published nothing in the first four years she was a jr faculty. There are lots of reasons/excuses, but the bottom line she is that she didn’t publish. In the midst of our talking yesterday I asked her whether she wanted to complain, and that I would be happy to listen, or whether she wanted answers to her question about why they would not give her another year to prove herself. She said answers.

I said (as diplomatically as I could) that another year would not change how much she didn’t publish in the first four years. She answered that she would have 3 more papers coming out in the next year, that she had two grant submissions in. She was, once again, not listening. I said so. She got angry, and then checked herself and asked me to explain again. I said to her that my take was that people (dean-level people involved in her appeal) had the fear that she only produced when she was immediately threatened, and that the first four years was likely to be indicative of her post-tenure productivity. I know that she did not agree with me, but she also did not argue back. I excused myself (since this interaction could become a black hole of time and emotion).

Anyway… tomorrow… implications for current junior faculty.


2 thoughts on “Maria’s Outcome and Success as a Junior Faculty

  1. Pingback: Life lessons from Maria | Mistress of the Animals

  2. That someone who has obtained a junior faculty appointment and an R01 would think that they were not expected to me more than average in the search for tenure is horrifying to me.

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