Friday, February 03, 2006

sanity during evaluations

Originated in a comment to One Bright Star.

During evaluations (re-appointment, 3rd-year, tenure, etc, etc): staying away physically and mentally from the arena of your evaluation is a good idea, but here's an additional thought:

Part of what we have to do in academia is to sell the content, value, and interest of our research and teaching not only to the principle targets (disciplinary peers and students) but also to those who hold the purse strings and the appointments. There's nothing wrong with thinking about ways to clearly, engagingly, and collegially explain what we're doing and why to colleagues who may not otherwise understand it. In fact, it's a great opportunity to learn new ways to articulate our research to diverse and non-specialist audiences.

So, if you get dossier-comments that seem to betray lack of understanding of the content, value, and/or relevance of what you're doing, you can use that as an opportunity to think about new/more accessible/more direct ways of articulating that value.

Mostly, if the mentors and various-stage evaluators are doing their jobs, a candidate knows far *before* the watershed date if there will a problem, and most candidates therefore are fine at the actual date--but the feedback, *especially* if it is less-than-uninformed or "doesn't get" what you do, can be a useful tool for honing self-presentation.

No comments: