Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This year, I will...

So, my big plans for this year revolve around tenure...but perhaps not in the way you might be thinking. I go up for tenure this fall. My plans for this year are not to make a big push of grants and papers to secure my promotion. The way things work here, as soon as my binder goes in front of my committee early this fall, it is written in stone and nothing else that comes out after that moment counts. So, if its not already in the pipeline (or about to enter it), it's too late.  This is a major reason I became such a hard ass last year; I knew that was my critical moment to turn around my productivity and set myself up for the tenure process. By staying on top of things, I had several papers make it out by the end of the last year and I have several more making their way through the review process right now. I also now have two grants wending their way through the bowels of NSF.  I feel I'm in as good a shape as I can be right now (it'll be better if I get at least one of those grants, but that is currently out of my hands). Don't get me wrong, I'm not planning on stopping writing papers this year - I have various things (a book chapter here, a reviewy thing there, another proposal being submitted in a couple of months) that I have promised, but I have grander plans for this year.

Since my last remaining tenure goal is staying on top of papers going through the review process to get them out before my binder is turned in, now seems like the perfect time to take a breath and assess what I want to do with my research time for the next five years. The last few years have been a whirlwind, which has felt a bit like I was living the infinite loop of the shampoo bottle instructions. Instead of lather, rinse, repeat, the instructions have been: analyze, write, submit, repeat as fast as humanly possible while dodging people in the hallway who want you to do more service. (Apparently assistant professor instructions are more verbose).

In part, I've already started looking ahead. One of the grants I just submitted is focused on taking an idea I've been puttering with for years now and really getting serious about it. In the past, I have felt like that idea was viewed by many as being borderline insane, but this year I felt like perhaps it was an idea that (some) people were ready to consider - thus the grant proposal. If it worked, it would be really exciting. But this is just taking a lot I bought in the past and finally building the house. If I don't always want to be doing the same old things, I need to figure out where to buy new land. And that's the goal of this year: to read the literature, think about where the field is going (and whether or not I agree with that), and plan what new area I want to explore. Last year started with grim determination. This year...this year I think will be fun.


Dr. No said...

I'm in the midst of the tenure process as well...here's to starting the new year as future ASSOCIATE profs (insert glass clinking sounds)!

DamnGoodTechnician said...

Sounds like a wonderful plan - hopefully '09 will be involve more "chasing" than "being chased".