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Promotion and Tenure Confidential

Promotion and Tenure Confidential

David D. Perlmutter

ISBN 9780674048782

Publication date: 11/15/2010

“Sitting down with a young and brilliant mathematician, I asked what he thought were his biggest problems in working toward tenure. Instead of describing difficulties with his equations or his software programs, he lamented that (a) his graduate assistant wasn’t completing his tasks on time, (b) his department chair didn’t seem to care if junior faculty obtained grants, and (c) a senior professor kept glaring at him in faculty meetings. He knew he could handle the intellectual side of being an academic—but what about the people side? ‘Why didn’t they offer “Being a Professor 101” in graduate school?’ he wondered.”

Promotion and Tenure Confidential provides that course in an astute and practical book, which shows that P&T is not just about research, teaching, and service but also about human relations and political good sense. Drawing on research and extensive interviews with junior and senior faculty across many institutions, David D. Perlmutter provides clear-sighted guidance on planning and managing an academic career, from graduate school to tenure and beyond.

Topics include:

— Making the transformation from student and protégé to teacher and mentor
— Seeking out and holding onto lifelong allies
— How to manage your online reputation and avoid “death by Google”
— What to say and what not to say to deans and department chairs
— How meeting deadlines wins points with everyone in your life
— How, when, and to whom to say “no”
— When and how to look for a new job when you have a job
— How (and whom) to ask for letters of recommendation
— What to do if you know you’re not going to get tenure


  • This will be an indispensable guidebook for all sorts of young academics—from graduate students bent on high-powered research careers to newly hired professors at liberal arts colleges. Whether it’s about safeguarding your internet profile, dealing with irascible colleagues, or building your tenure case, Perlmutter has great suggestions for managing the fine points of a successful academic career.

    —James Lang, author of Life on the Tenure Track: Lessons from the First Year


  • David D. Perlmutter is Director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a Professor and Starch Faculty Fellow at the University of Iowa. He writes the “P&T Confidential” column for the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Book Details

  • 224 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press