One of the things I realized my first year as a faculty member is that there was a whole world we weren’t introduced to as graduate students. If you think of the tripartite Research/Teaching/Service division—we were well-trained in research, semi-trained in teaching, but service was left as a big black hole. And by service I don’t just mean advising students, etc, but the entire administrative side of being a faculty member. As a graduate student, I knew who the head of the graduate school was. But I had no idea about the difference between a Vice-Provost and a Vice-President. Now that I have a job, I wish I understood these things a little better. (Probably my unread copy of the Chicago Guide to an Academic Career covers it…)

Anyhow, this is a long-winded way of pointing you to Tenured Radical’s advice on writing the annual report. It doesn’t address the same questions I mention above, but it goes a long way to bringing light to a portion of the black hole. And be sure to read the comments.

And by the way—even if you hate the annual report, you are lucky to be an an institution that requires it. Reading various blogs suggests to me that not all institutions operate this way, but ideally, the annual report serves as rehearsal for the third-year review, which serves as rehearsal for the tenure review, so that by the time that comes along, you are pretty comfortable with the system, and with the idea of writing a narrative report about yourself.

Whether you are comfortable with what that narrative report says—totally different issue.