I’ve turned in my letter of resignation. Funny, it doesn’t really feel any different.
I have had a series of interviews individually with each member of my department, as well as with other people around campus who I felt had an interest in my development as a member of the university community. That was a wee bit tiring.
I am letting the news hit the grapevine—whenever someone asks about my book, or when I come up for tenure, or anything like that, I tell the truth, happily and with a smile on my face, no matter how well I know them or don’t. My book is going great—I’m cannibalizing my favorite parts for articles, stepping off the tenure track, and switching to university administration. I am openly chatting about who they might hire to replace me—the spousal candidate? explore a new and exciting field?
I am now a non-voting but talking member of the tenure-related faculty in my department (I kinda suspect this is technically illegal and unenforceable, but I really don’t care—I’m happy to voluntarily abstain. We don’t actually vote very often anyhow, just talk). I am not planning on talking any less (and I talk a lot in faculty meetings), but I am trying to switch my tone from making strong statements to asking questions and highlighting things that need to be considered. I am a bit confused about when I should be saying “we” and when “you”, but I think I’m handling it okay.
I am still going to meetings because I am using, with the support of my chair and assistant chair, my position as a faculty member without a big research expectation to assist the department in getting a lot of things done: working on the desperately needed website redesign; working on a student advising handbook; working with our diversity efforts; etc. I have the time to do this work at the necessary level of detail, and the knowledge to represent the faculty perspective and see how these individual projects fit into the overall structure of the department. After this year, I will be on a terminal contract, but will continue to do this sort of service, which will also give me some necessary experience to be applying for university administration jobs.
Also, I care about the department, and I want to see these things done right, dammit. I want to leave the department with something to show for my time here, even if it wasn’t the product I anticipated when I arrived in 2004.