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Getting Tenure – According To ChatGPT

Getting tenure – according to ChatGPT

Continuing my conversations with AI, here’s another question I asked ChatGPT. I now asked it about the holy grail of academia: how to get tenure as a professor.

Below, you can find the AI answer in italic and my comments in regular:

Getting tenure as a professor can be a competitive and challenging process, but there are several steps you can take to increase your chances of success. Here are some of the best pieces of advice for getting tenure as a professor:

  1. Focus on your research: Research is typically the most important factor in the tenure process, so it is important to focus on producing high-quality, original research that makes a significant contribution to your field. Yes, but it so much more than that – working on valuable research is typically just one of my factors, and often also something that already landed you that tenure-track job in the first place.
  2. Publish in reputable journals: Publishing your research in reputable journals can help you establish your reputation and credibility in your field. Same comment as above. Just look at Twitter for examples of people with 10000 citations who have been denied tenure.
  3. Seek out grant funding: Grant funding can help you support your research and demonstrate your ability to secure funding for your work. Yes, and how important this part is, depends on your university system. If you need to budget your hours and book them into a system, it is super important to bring in constant funding to keep yourself and your students funded.
  4. Build a strong network: Building a strong network of colleagues and collaborators can help you stay current with developments in your field and can provide opportunities for collaboration and cross-disciplinary work. Let’s not forget the network in your university as well – if they like you, you are more likely to get tenure.
  5. Be an effective teacher: Teaching is an important component of the tenure process, so it is important to be an effective and engaging teacher who is able to connect with students and inspire them to learn. And let’s say: student evaluations play a role here. We all know that student evaluations are random, but they are still considered in the process as well.
  6. Engage in service: Engaging in service to your department, university, and professional community can demonstrate your commitment to your institution and your dedication to your field. For sure, but don’t let it crowd out all your research time.
  7. Communicate your achievements: It is important to clearly and effectively communicate your achievements and successes to your department and university, as well as to your colleagues and peers in your field. Yes – and, as awful as it is, log all these things in the online system of your university.
  8. Seek feedback and support: Seeking feedback and support from your department, university, and colleagues can help you stay on track and address any challenges or obstacles you may encounter along the way. This step is a bit vague. It’s better to get really clear on what your department expects from you for tenure and to keep an open conversation.

These are just a few of the best pieces of advice for getting tenure as a professor. The key is to focus on your work and to continuously strive for excellence in all aspects of your career. Excellence is a loaded term, ChatGPT, and it puts a lot of pressure on early career academics as it gives us the idea that we always have to be doing more and more to compete against that imaginary other researcher somewhere else in the world.

What do you think? What is most important for getting tenure? How smart is ChatGPT?

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