Hello, and welcome to my Tenure and Promotion Portfolio. If you’ve found your way here, you may be on this journey yourself, or you maybe just really dig an open process. Either way, welcome.

You’re probably already guessing that this isn’t the same Overview letter I sent my committee. That’s true! It’s mostly full of procedural stuff that isn’t all that useful to someone outside this specific tenure and promotion context. But the rest of my portfolio, by and large, is here — rendered a little more readable for the open web than a stack of PDFs.

This overview, then, is really only to orient you to this project with a few key details.

First, please note that this portfolio has not yet been adjudicated. It was submitted on 1 September 2022 and I expect to know my fate by 31 March 2023. Until then, it is Schroedinger’s Tenure: is my career already dead inside this box? Who can say.

You might be wondering: why release your tenure and promotion materials before you know if you got tenure and promotion. A great question. Many folks choose not to disclose to anyone outside their closest circle that they are even up for tenure, let alone sharing their portfolio for all to mock and judge (please don’t). But some years ago, I was moved deeply by an article I read by Nick Clare called “Can the Failure Speak?: Militant Failure in the Academy.” It helped give me language for my frustration with the lack of models of healthy failure in the academy, and by extension, the lack of models of healthy process. If we never talk about things until after we have succeeded at them, we cannot possibly model process.

To be clear: I hope deeply, profoundly, that I am not modelling failure here. But if I wait to show you this portfolio until it has been adjudicated, I am also not modelling process. So this is what it looks like to apply for tenure and promotion.

And this is what it feels like to leap into this abyss so publicly: very scary. But I think this kind of autoethnographic work has great value. There is so much about the university that is opaque; openness is no salve, but it can reduce opacity.

Second, this is but one portfolio tailored to one set of standards for one pretty weird job. I don’t know whether I have met the standard yet, but I know it’s not likely to be your standard. I think the value here is less in showing you a replicable model and more in one of what I would like to see eventually as many portfolios out in the world at many stages in the process, more conversation about the affective experience of being on the tenure track, more stories and more kinds of narrative.

We know that tenure can be an extremely exclusionary process, fraught with microaggressions and straight-up discrimination against scholars of colour, Indigenous scholars, disabled scholars, queer scholars. I am increasingly suspicious of who is served by “confidentiality” in these processes when extremely qualified people from various marginalized community are disproportionately blocked from tenure and promotion. I am insulated by a series of privileges when I make the choice to put my work in the open pre-adjudication. But I believe that more conversation is better.

Third, you may have a bit of confusion locating the evidence, which is referenced in square parentheses throughout [like this: D.4.2] — I haven’t gone through and hyperlinked it all yet, though I hope to. The majority of the evidence is found in the two Portfolios of Materials, except the Supporting Letters, which have their own section. Everything is here unless it contains confidential information or I could not contact the author to get their consent to share the material openly.

Finally, given that this portfolio has not yet been adjudicated, please do not email me to tell me about any typos or minor errors you find. The text here is lifted directly from the submitted text, which I cannot change, and you will only be causing me to fret. If you find a major error, you should probably tell me — but I may simply walk into the sea.

I am modelling process; I didn’t promise to model grace.

Please note that this open tenure portfolio is also an act of open practice. This portfolio template can be cloned by any member of the TRU community for use as their own tenure and promotion portfolio by going to https://trubox.ca/wp-signup.php and choosing “Sample Tenure Portfolio” as the site template. For those who are not members of the TRU community, the template is also openly available for download as a Worpress XML archive, recommended for use with WordPress theme Twenty-Fifteen.

I have also been working to track the history of open tenure processes and theorize why a movement to open out tenure might be desirable. I presented this early research at OTESSA in 2021 and am at work completing an article on this topic for submission to the OTESSA journal.

This Overview page, like other Section pages, also serves as a Table of Contents for the preliminary dossier section. The other pages in this section are: