networking · promotion

On Feminine Modesty and Self-Promotion

At the interview for my new #alt-ac job, there was only one question that really threw me for a loop. After the Associate Dean asked it, I looked down at my hands. I paused, for more than a second. I might even have blushed. The question?

“Tell me what your peers would say the best things are about you as a researcher and a colleague.”

 Maybe the question shouldn’t have surprised me. Is this the new “Tell us about your strengths /weaknesses”? Maybe those of you who are on hiring committees know. But interview pressure or no, this is a hard question to answer. Because as women–and especially as female academics–we are taught that to speak highly of ourselves, to speak strongly about our strengths, to shine light on our positive accomplishments and qualities, is braggy. Not humble. Unbecoming. Immodest. As Lee puts it,

 Good Female Academics are mild and quiet and work away at their jobs, hoping to get noticed, but well aware that any attempt at blowing their own horn will be met with derision and dismissal….This is the message we’re sent as girls and as women. To believe in ourselves is arrogant, unfounded, untrue.

 So to be asked to do just that, to blow my own horn, even in an interview–which is explicitly an exercise in presenting a public, polished, and promotional version of oneself–was really hard. It felt not unlike realizing that I’d left the house pantsless. And especially hard because of the way the question was phrased. Not only was I being asked to speak positively about myself, but I was being asked to do so on behalf of others–not just to think highly of myself, but to own that others thought highly of me too, and to speak in for them.

I was lucky that I’d already established a good rapport with the interview panel by that point, and so I could laugh about how difficult being asked to answer that question was as I formulated an answer. I told them about qualities and achievements that I thought my colleagues appreciate in me–my work to build opportunities for teamwork and skills development among graduate students, my attempts to create forums where my peers could showcase their research, my ability to effectively coordinate large groups of people and projects with lots of moving parts, the great parties I throw–but it was uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable repeating it here. But I’m doing it, because I don’t think that we, as female academics, will stop feeling like self-promotion–even self-belief–is unbecoming, immodest, or arrogant unless we keep doing it: talking about what we’re good at. Celebrating our accomplishments. Making others aware of our work. Sharing our knowledge publicly. Convincing others that our voices need to be part of the conversation. This is what CWILA is doing in encouraging women to pitch book reviews. And what does when she exhorts us to say yes when the media calls. And what Hook and Eye’s boast posts encourage us to do on a regular basis. 

It’ll get easier. It is getting easier: for us, as women, to answer questions like the one that I got without demurring, or blushing, or laughing. And for those around us to get used to the idea that yes, we are knowledgeable, effective, powerful, respected. And it’s okay to hear us say that. Because it’s true.

What about you, dear readers? Do you find self-promotion an uncomfortable experience? Been judged for doing it? How do you work against the spoken and unspoken expectation of Good Female Academics? Or have you figured out how to transcend them in ways that you’d like to share?

photo by Arturo de Albornoz // cc

best laid plans · promotion · reflection · saving my sanity · writing

30 Minute Miracle: A Measure of Faculty Time

I went up for tenure last July. In these last 18 months I have worked harder and got more done than I ever thought possible. I did it 30 minutes at a time.

This is what 30 minutes means in my day:

  • freewriting 400 words on a research/writing project
  • writing 100-200 words on an article draft
  • grading 2 response papers
  • reading / commenting on 8-10 pages of grad student draft writing
  • reading 15 pages of a textbook, or 6-8 pages of an article
  • revising 2 pages of my own writing
  • preparing for a meeting by reading all provided materials
  • copyediting 10-12 pages of my own writing
  • reviewing 3 grad course proposals
  • reading 5 online news articles, from my Twitter feed
  • reading / commenting on 3 blog posts
  • meeting with one grad student or two undergrads
  • ordering 1-100 books on Amazon 🙂
  • prepping a repeat 80 minute class
  • writing half a peer review of an article
  • answering 5-10 emails (depends on complexity)
  • book a flight / a rental car / a hotel and fill out a reimbursement form
In the process of working to get tenure, I saw what happened when I really made use of my time, its wee little increments, 15 or 30 minutes at a time. For me, this is what a year of 30 minute increments looks like:
  • create and teach a new first-year course in my area, with excellent reviews
  • revise and teach a grad course, with very good reviews
  • revise and teach 200 pages of writing handbook MS to my editor for a new edition
  • write three articles and had two published
  • co-author a short piece for University Affairs with Heather and Erin
  • give four conference presentations (two invited, two international)
  • give one invited academic presentation at another university
  • give two hour-long public lectures
  • apply for and won a SSHRC Standard Research Grant ($58K)
  • teach a week-long workshop at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute
  • supervise an honours thesis
  • supervise an MA Major Research Project
  • peer-review four journal articles and one book MS
  • serve on department-level graduate and appointments committees
  • serve on two university-level committees, and was appointed to a third
  • write something upward of 30 blog posts for Hook and Eye
I have learned, through this incredibly productive year, that 30 minutes is actually a pretty important unit of time. I’ve learned that even 15 minutes have real substance to them, and that my day, week, semester, career is actually made up of a vast but not limitless series of 30 minute increments. Now here’s where it gets interesting: because I have discovered that I can–and do–get a lot done in these increments, I have recently come to see my time as valuable
This insight has been both incredibly empowering, and incredibly guilt-inducing.
(Of course, right?)
As a junior faculty member, out of an aim to ingratiate myself and out of a general tendency to be very social and with a further predilection towards saying yes no matter what the question, I said yes to everything: need it right away? Sure, I can drop what I’m doing. You’re going to be 10 minutes late? I’ll just sit here. Of course I’ll come to campus for a 20 minute meeting. Oh, someone screwed this up somewhere and now it’s a rush? No problem. No one else wants to be on this committee? Yeah, I’ll do it.
But this year, I transformed my career by saying no to things I used to say yes to: those yesses were hindering my ow productivity as a researcher, as a teacher, as a colleague, out of some misplaced agreeableness. Now I say no: No, I can’t meet you today. No, I won’t be able to attend that event. No, I can’t answer your email within two hours of you sending it. No, I can’t serve on that committee. No, I can’t supervise that thesis / project / reading course. No, I’m not willing to be nominated for Senate. No, I can’t work extra fast to make up for your missed deadline. No, I can’t just drop what I’m doing right now.  
I feel kinda like a bitch, frankly, insisting in the ways that I now find myself doing, that my time is valuable and I will split my 40/40/20 to maximize my own productivity. Before I give it away, I measure my time by what I could get done with it: if a 20 minute meeting on campus means 30 minute commute each way, then I know I could read an entire article, or prep two classes, or write 1000 words of freewriting–is the meeting that important? Or can it wait until I’m already on campus and it will ‘cost’ me less time? Or, better, can we do it over the phone?
I know that I was saying yes for maybe the wrong reasons and to little purpose, and that no one wants to take advantage of me, or watch me martyr myself on the flaming pyre of my own career, but saying no still feels like a really hard thing to do. I try to treat my own time with as much respect as I hope I have always treated everyone else’s. But I still feel selfish and awful about it, at the same time as I feel so great about what I’m accomplishing in all areas of the job.
Dammit. How do you protect your time? What can you get done in 30 minutes, and how do you make sure you get to keep those minutes? And can you do this and still feel like a ‘nice’ person?
promotion · teaching

Promotion for Teaching Excellence, Part 2: early lessons

Tell me, Dr Zed, what have you learned about this promotion business so far?

Well, Reader, I’m glad you asked.

Here’s what I wish someone had told me – or what people did tell me and I forgot/disregarded – or, in a couple cases, what’s just totally friggin’ obvious (but I had to figure it out for myself):

  1. Documentation: Keep copies of your stuff, and do your best to keep it organized. I’m a Type A OCD freak and I still had trouble finding things. (Related: I do somewhat regret using bubble sheet course evaluations as Scrabble scoresheets in a fit of pique over the limitations of quantitative instruments of evaluation in the late 1990s – but whatcha gonna do?) If you have a particularly good class, take a picture of the whiteboard. If you take your students to a conference, jot down their names, and the name of the conference, and the name of their presentation, and the date, etc. Many people recommend keeping copies of student work, but this doesn’t sit well with me so I don’t. The point is, you can only send representations of classroom practice, so make sure you have a good range of them.
  2. Evaluation: Get your teaching evaluated broadly, by different constituencies, routinely. Ask a peer to evaluate your classroom practice, but also consider asking someone to review your use of technology, your class website, or your assignments. If your centralized teaching service offers videotaping, do it – and do it soon, so that you can redo it in the (highly unlikely) event you’re unhappy with take one. If you’re senior, make yourself available to review your junior colleagues’ teaching practice and materials: asking senior colleagues for a “favour” can be awkward and difficult. Evaluating teaching is not a favour; it’s a professional obligation. 
  3. Word process your comments on student writing.
  4. Put full course information on each assignment. Okay, I know: this makes me sound like a dimwit. But especially once I started loading assignments into course management software, I stopped putting the course number and date (especially the date) on every assignment. Yes, the system takes care of that for the students – but you will not believe how mystifying it is to look at a final exam for a course you’re sure you taught, a course you must have taught (or else how did you get your hands on the final?) – but damned if you can remember when. Repetition, here, is a virtue.
  5. Archive your course sites. How? I do not know. But I sure wish I did.
  6. Finding good reviewers takes a lot of time. If you’re being reviewed on the basis of teaching excellence, your field is not exactly eighteenth-century literature or European history or any of the typical ways we think about “fields” or “disciplines.” That also means that good reviewers won’t come to mind readily, and they also don’t always come readily to screen, either. Australia struck me as pretty well organized, university-teacher-wise, but most places won’t have Teaching Councils that organize great university teachers for you. What I found useful was drilling down through the department level of schools that have a reputation for being progressive. I also asked colleagues for recommendations – after all, an excellent creative writing teacher is closer to my field than an engineer who’s brilliant in the classroom – and I followed up leads in pro-teaching articles published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, University Affairs and other professional journals. Still, identifying appropriate reviewers was a major, major task.
  7. Track your administrative service. Every year, consider writing a self-evaluation of your admin work: one page, single-spaced, audience = you. These records will remind you of things you’ll totally have forgotten, and they help resuscitate a sense of priorities and key details. “Oh yeah,” I said, on more than one occasion while putting together my promotion package, “I did do that!”
  8. Rethink the CV. My CV is quite different now than it was before I went into this process. For one thing, it starts with a credo, a paragraph at the top that draws connections between teaching, learning, research, supervision, mentoring and service. That credo tells you how to read the CV, because if you expect the research to speak for itself – well, okay, the research will speak for itself, but it can’t speak for me, if you see the distinction. Talk about what you actually do. That line on your CV might stand in for volumes more than the same line on someone else’s – so spell it out. People won’t read between the lines: they can’t. You have to frame this document for them.
  9. Keep in touch with your graduate students. Talk about a white hat brigade: honestly, I can’t bring myself to read the letters from grad students. Every weekend I say I’m going to; every weekend, my courage fails me – I just don’t believe I am the person they describe. Props to you, if you’re reading!
  10. Have a good Chair. I could not have done this without her support, strategic thinking, and just plain hard work – you can see from last week’s list of the submission package just how much stuff she had to corral. No matter how harrowing this process might be for me – and believe me, I find it harrowing – it’s also a first for her: she is taking a risk bringing the first such case forward. How is “have a good Chair” useful advice? Show your Chair the love! It’s a tough job. 

Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned so far is that putting yourself forward on the basis of something you actually do well – for me, teaching; for other people, writing books and articles – feels really good. It feels right. As I’m fond of saying: when all else fails, it’s nice to have your integrity to fall back on.

      academy · change · faculty evaluation · ideas for change · promotion · reform

      Mostly, I just like saying the word ‘dumbass’

      “I really thought your talk was excellent,” she told me. “I think people really connected with what you were saying.” She paused. Then, “I have never heard a professor say ‘dumbass’ in a lecture before.” Apparently, lighthearted swearing, employed judiciously, appeals to general audiences, and diminishes the perceived unapproachability of the Sage on the Stage. Or at the coffee bar’s jerry-rigged lectern. Or at the public library’s classroom podium.
      I give a lot of public talks. I love to do them, at staff brownbags, in the library, in bookstores with espresso machines, in classrooms opened up in the evening to the general public, to auditoriums full of high school seniors and their parents. Because I keep getting asked to do more and more of these, and because everyone is always so enthusiastic in talking to me afterwards, I flatter myself that I’m pretty good at this sort of thing–I like to think I’m getting more exposure for my research findings, doing public service with my how-tos, drawing students into the major, creating goodwill for the department and university, and drawing good press for everyone.
      Does it matter?
      Heather wrote this week about a new kind of Full Professor, someone who gains promotion on the basis of teaching excellence. We are learning, I hope her post indicates, how to broaden our understanding of what a valuable, effective, and dare I say, excellent professor looks like. Fantastic! I am really cheered by this development, in part because, as studies show, women so very disproportionately aggregate in the teaching-heavy parts of the profession, and to have a research university promote on the basis of what has become feminised labour? Is pretty damn cool.
      Can I push that door open a little wider? I’d like us to think more about what outreach means. I’d like to revisit that buzzphrase a few years back (um, 13 years) to “go public or perish“: we were supposed to focus more on that, SSHRC prez Marc Renaud indicated, instead of the usual academic target to “publish or perish”?
      I take going public pretty seriously. But I don’t take it anywhere near as seriously as publishing: I calculated as a junior professor that my odds of perishing were still very much higher for failing to publish than for failing to go public. I never, not once, woke up in a cold midnight sweat counting out on my fingertips my number of Lunch and Learn talks delivered, desperate to know if it was enough to make the cut. So maybe, actually, I don’t take it seriously. Maybe no one takes it seriously in the humanities, where we’re not usually developing global smoking cessation strategies from empirical research, or, you know, curing cancer and such. 
      Anyhow, I’ve been parking all my outreach activities in the service section of my annual reports: you know, the part that’s worth the least, that puny “20” dwarfed by the “40/40” of teaching and research. But is outreach not, in many ways, teaching, research, and service all at once? Especially if it draws explicitly on your research expertise? 
      [Note! Let me be clear! I’m not griping about my annual reports or my raises or anything particular to my own situation. Everything is pretty awesome, frankly, and I by no means wish you to think otherwise. But. I’m trying to think more abstractly.]
      So I ask you: Does outreach–going public–really matter? Do you think outreach is ‘real’ academic work? Do you do it? Do you want to? And does being really good or really poor at it matter? How does going public promote excellence, or detract from it? 
      promotion · teaching

      Promotion on the Basis of Teaching Excellence, Part 1: the package

      In a recent post, Tenured Radical argued that one way to reform tenure and promotion would be to make the process more transparent by breaking confidentiality. Hear hear! I’d settle for translucent. Hell, most days I think opaque would be an improvement.

      While my March to-do list is a little too full to add “full overhaul of tenure and promotion practices in the global university,” it’s in the spirit of TR’s call that I offer this post on how I put together a promotion package based on teaching excellence.

      Background: a few years ago, my university made it possible to apply for promotion to full professor on the basis of excellence in research and/or teaching (the italics mark the radical change). Here’s the wording from the Faculty Agreement:

      For promotion to professor, the staff member must demonstrate a strong record of achievement in teaching, research, and service, including excellence in teaching and/or research, or, in rare circumstances, a record of exceptional service.

      That was effective 2008, if memory serves, but to date no one in Arts has tried it.

      Readers, I’m going for it.

      Because I’m in the middle of a year-long process governed by confidentiality, a process that won’t conclude until 9 December 2011, there is a lot I can’t say. But in the hope that what I can say could prove useful, I thought I might offer a few loosely linked posts on this over the next little while. (Let me know if this is of interest to you, right?)

      The first challenge was trying to figure out what to send. Research is relatively easy: photocopy your articles, add the books, write a connect-the-dots narrative and send it off. But how do you get arm’s-length strangers to review teaching?

      Mindful that teaching is more than classroom practice, I put together a prose document of approximately16 single-spaced pages or 8000 words composed of the following:

      1. Intellectual commitments (most people would call this a teaching philosophy, but I was spooked by my friend Kevin’s argument that “teaching statements are bunk” so I call it intellectual commitments – to the field of cultural studies, postcolonialism and feminism) 
      2. Overview of teaching responsibilities (it’s important for reviewers to know what’s normal in your area/institution: classes of 400? a teaching load of 3 per term? do you teach a bunch of new courses or develop one over years and years?)
      3. Classroom teaching: approach, experience, experiments, goals, strategies (including course design, assignments and grading, projects with undergrads)
      4. Graduate supervision & mentorship (including award and placement info for PhD students and a complete list of all the supervisory committees I’ve served on)
      5. Contributions to the teaching of others (in the department, in the Faculty of Arts, in the university, in the profession)
      6. Scholarship on teaching and learning (research, grants, publications, presentations, adaptation of my materials).

      I supported that with the following:

      1. Course outlines: a selection from different levels, areas, and years
      2. Sample assignments and assessment of student work (NB not students’ own work, which I would find ethically suspect, but my word processed comments on essays)
      3. Complete run of bubble-sheet teaching scores (NB complete: I’m always suspicious of selective quantitative data)
      4. Excerpts from students’ verbal evaluations, chosen by my Chair
      5. Peer evaluations of teaching, including analysis of classroom practice, course materials, course management site, and graduate supervision
      6. Self-evaluations (we are required to produce a self-eval of each course: excellent discipline and very rewarding pedagogical strategy)
      7. Letters from grad students, solicited by my Chair
      8. Teaching award descriptions, criteria and application packages (to prove commitment to teaching excellence over a whole career, and not just at the point of applying for promotion)
      9. Teaching-related presentations or publications.

      That came to about 5cm of double-sided photocopies.

      Then the research dossier, truncated a little (no book reviews, no publications that aren’t peer reviewed, only tables of contents for books, etc) and prefaced by a narrative of approximately four single-spaced pages.

      And that’s the package, the physical representation of How I’ve Spent My Time as a Professor, bindered and sent off to – well, obviously, I don’t exactly know who! Which is weird, to say the least, but perhaps the topic of another post.

      equity · job notes · promotion

      How to solve the problem of women "standing still"

      I sat down to key the solution to the gender inequity in promotion that Julie so eloquently blogged about yesterday – and to refresh my mind about the issues, I revisited the Modern Language Association’s report “Standing Still.” On rereading, I couldn’t help thinking that if we implemented just some of the following, we’d be making progress.

      Here are the MLA’s recommendations.

      1. Colleges and universities should establish clear guidelines and paths for promotion from associate professor to professor in alignment with their institutional mission. With the MLA Task Force on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion, the committee recommends that colleges and universities adopt a more expansive conception of scholarship, research, and publication; rethink the dominance of the monograph; and consider work produced and disseminated in new media. The committee also recommends public scholarship as an important avenue of research.
      2. Colleges and universities should offer substantial increases in salary when a faculty member is promoted from associate professor to professor. At institutions of higher education across the country, the increase in salary at promotion generally offers little incentive to aspire to and strive for promotion.
      3. Colleges and universities should create programs for mentoring associate professors. At its best, such mentoring inspires a sense of responsibility across ranks and a sense of intergenerational connection and reciprocity.
      4. Colleges and universities should establish leadership training explicitly for newly tenured women faculty members in the recognition that promotion to associate professor often entails appointment to leadership positions.
      5. Colleges and universities should sponsor training and development sessions for their
        department chairs on key matters:
        • the importance of the ongoing development of associate professors, with an emphasis on long-range planning over a period of at least five years and on encouraging the continued scholarly progress of faculty members at the rank of associate professor from the time they are promoted
        • the assessment of the allocation of responsibilities of faculty members to ensure that they are equitably and appropriately distributed across the ranks of probationary and tenured faculty members
        • the monitoring of how long associate professors have been in rank in relation to the mission of the institution. Nine years might be used as a metric for measuring an institution’s progress in promoting associate professors.
      6. Colleges and universities should devote specific resources, in addition to leaves for
        research, to support associate professors’ scholarship. They have the obligation not only to require and encourage but also to help underwrite the scholarship of faculty members at all ranks and across the span of their careers. Scholarship is a public good and should be supported.
        equity · job notes · promotion

        Guest Post: Heliopause: Becoming a Female Full Professor

        In 2007, I received the Letter from my Dean. Like my favourite spacecraft of all time, Voyagers I and II, I was approaching the equivalent of the Heliopause. I think that Heliopause fits the problem of promotion in the academy better than the idea of the Glass Ceiling. The Heliopause marks the very edge of our solar system, the place where the magnetic field generated by the sun declines, and magnetic fields coming from beyond the solar system become stronger. Beyond the Heliopause, there is interstellar space. Nothing made by human beings has ever travelled so far and no one thought that it was possible to approach this boundary. And even Voyagers I and II weren’t built to travel there. They were supposed to break down after their missions to the outer planets in the 1980s, but they did not. Their intelligent design meant that ten years into the millenium, decades after they transmitted the most beautiful pictures ever made of the planets Saturn, Neptune and Uranus, they are still out there, providing new data about what is largely unknown.

        Okay, back to the letter from the Dean. It told me that I qualified for promotion to Full Professor and it invited me to apply for promotion. After more than a decade at my university, I knew what the letter really meant: I was approaching the end of the pay scale for Associate Professor and was being “invited” to make the jump to Full. Like the Voyagers, I wasn’t “supposed” to get this letter this early in my career. But there I was, staring at my the evidence of my own Heliopause, a magnetic field I couldn’t see but which nevertheless powerfully determines the direction in which I move.

        Like magnetic fields, lines of power and authority are hard to detect, but they move through everything we do. This is particularly evident in the mysteries of tenure and promotion, processes which affect everyone who has a permanent position in the professoriat but which are little understood. For example, it is not a given that every professor becomes a full professor in the Canadian system. In my institutions, there are few overt benefits: our pay incrementation does rise, but only for a few years and the standards for getting increments rises too. And there isn’t a bonus for getting promoted. But the hidden benefits are considerable. Even though the criteria for promotion primarily are based on research record, it is tacitly assumed that full professors can take up all kinds of leadership roles in the university. This isn’t actually true, because I know a lot of Associate Professors who are better at administration and teaching than many Full Professors. But it’s a common assumption, and so in the academy it takes on the force of truth. Becoming a Full Professor is a personal milestone, but it also brings cultural capital with it. Cultural capital is what guarantees other kinds of capital in the academic world.

        So, I knew that I was being “invited” to apply for promotion, but the invitation was not really all that open. I didn’t have to apply. If I did, there is no measurable way to ensure that I would be successful. Like everything else in the academy, getting a promotion depends on the evaluations of my colleagues in my department, my faculty and my field. I would be judged and hopfully not found wanting. It was scary just thinking about what being turned down would mean, professionally and personally. I asked myself: “is my record good enough?” I didn’t know.

        Many academic women answer this question by not going for promotion. Fewer women than men apply for promotion to full professor. Of those who pass through the Heliopause of promotion, most are men: in 2007, the Canadian Equity Audit reported that only 20% of Full Professors in Canadian postsecondary education were women. Compare that to the level of Associate Professor where 35.8% were female, and Assistant Professor, where the figure was 42.9%. The figures are only slightly better in English, my area. The Modern Language Association found out in 2009 that only 32% of Full Professors in their membership were female, but almost half of the Associate Professors were (49%). That survey also reported that on average, women take between one to three and a half years longer than men to apply for promotion. In research-intensive institutions, that figure jumps to more than eight years longer.

        It’s clear from these figures that there is a significant gender gap in the professoriate, and that women wait longer than men to make that trip through the Heliopause. There are a lot of reasons why this might be true. The magnetic lines of force in the academy can make the idea of promotion unthinkable for those women who have to juggle more responsibilities at home than some men do, and who spend more time teaching than doing research, the thing which–like it or not–is the key factor to getting a promotion. It’s also about self-confidence and time: women in the MLA survey reported that with collegial colleagues and mentorship, release time for research, a clear system for promotion and the confidence they gained from going to conferences, it was easier to believe that they could apply for promotion and be successful.

        Meanwhile, back at my institution, I wondered what to do. I knew about the Equity Audit statistics. So I asked the last woman in my department who became a full professor to visit my office and talk to me about whether I should go for promotion or not. We got out a list of faculty in my department and counted the number of full professors who were women. Guess what: in 2007, there were twenty-two male full professors, and only six female full professors. Only six! My colleague and I looked at each other. “Okay,” she said, “you had better do it.” I thought so too. Another colleague told me that about fifteen years before, the number had actually been higher because there had been eight women.

        So I applied, and I got the promotion. Even though it was “early” for a woman like me to apply, I decided to buck the statistics and show other women that we didn’t have to wait until we were in our 50s to become full professors. Although I don’t think that there were immediate benefits other than the temporary increase in salary incrementation, I’d say that the supportive letters in my file from my referees and the fact that my junior female colleagues have said that they can see that it’s possible made it worth it. On a personal level, I’m glad that I took this step because I proved something to myself. Now I evaluate tenure cases, and I recently had the satisfaction of fighting for one woman in another institution who almost didn’t get tenure because the criteria for her were made much harder than for her male colleagues. I know that I got to weigh in on that issue because I’m a full professor, and I got to make a difference.

        What lies beyond the Heliopause? I’m only beginning to find out. But I know as my junior female colleagues and all of my colleagues who belong to minority groups join me out there, I’ll be in good company as we make that journey together.

        – Julie Rak
        University of Alberta