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Tenure tips from the pros

Workshops can help take the confusion out of the portfolio process.

By Lindsey Coulter

September 17, 2018

Center for Faculty Excellence staffAt most institutions, achieving tenure is a sink-or-swim proposition — and faculty are generally left to navigate the often-confusing process by themselves. Luckily for Metropolitan State University of Denver faculty members, the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design and the Office of Faculty Affairs offer a level of tenure support rarely found on university campuses.

Achieving tenure is a significant accomplishment, so tenure portfolios must meet fairly stringent requirements while also making the best possible case for the submitter’s contributions to the university. Tenure-focused Portfolio Preparation Workshops are designed to address both.

The CTLD and Office of Faculty Affairs will host two tenure-portfolio preparation workshops Sept. 21 and 25, and any faculty member readying to embark on the process is encouraged to attend. The workshops are designed to ensure that faculty know exactly what is required and what reviewers are looking for.

“No one going up for tenure wants their portfolio sent back because something is missing or because they haven’t completely understood the requirements,” said Meredith Flynn, Ph.D., associate director at the CTLD. “Attending the workshop will help prevent this from happening, and it will help the faculty member understand how to present their best case.”

Tenure workshops are typically small, averaging about 10 participants, and walk participants through each step of the otherwise-daunting process. The sessions also include a crash course in portfolio development using Digital Measures, an online portfolio-management tool, so participants are encouraged to bring a laptop to work on their portfolios in real time. Participants further receive a portfolio-preparation guidebook that offers information, examples, illustrations and overall insight to the process of portfolio preparation.

As the tenure review requires applicants to submit a portfolio and a narrative, the CTLD offers tailored workshops on both. While the portfolio workshop does briefly discuss the narrative portion of a tenure submission, Flynn recommends that those seeking tenure also participate in the more specialized Narrative Writing Workshop on Oct. 19. The companion workshop is interactive in nature and offers tips, strategies, hacks and best practices for writing a compelling narrative.

“By attending both the Tenure Portfolio Preparation Workshop and the Narrative Writing Workshop, faculty will have the knowledge they need to submit a top-notch narrative and portfolio for their tenure review,” Flynn said.

For more information, contact Flynn or visit the CTLD workshops and events calendar to register for an upcoming workshop.

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