Year in Review

Every year about this time, most untenured folks like me have some sort of review process they undergo. It’s usually not a pressure-packed thing (though at some places it can be very much so), and it can entail everything from a brief chat in the chair’s office to something much more formal involving review boards.

Here at The Citadel, our “Probationary Review” involves the production of a thick binder (I use the 2″ variety) full of materials that document our year’s work in the three vital areas of the professorial life: Teaching, Research, and Service. This is accompanied by a multi-page write-up (mine are usually 5-6 single-spaced pages) summarizing it all. The completed package is called a Personal Data Sheet, or PDS. Never mind that it’s more like a hundred sheets — each of which needs to be in one of those plastic sheet protectors. Seriously.

Putting together the PDS is, in a word, tedious.

I’ve never been one to enjoy paperwork “hoops,” and the PDS could hardly be called anything less. I try to make it easier on myself by keeping all the documentation I’ll be including ready in a pile in the office, but I invariably don’t have all that I need, which is always a pain. All told, PDS-making usually blows out a weekend of my life.

So guess what I’m doing this weekend?

On the plus side, I imagine that having done this each year will make the production of my full tenure review materials much easier — though that kind of forward-thinking is of little consolation just now, as I slip yet another piece of paper into a thin plastic pocket in a binder.

Once completed, my PDS will be passed around among all the tenured faculty, along with whispers about the 4 class visitations I will have undergone at that point. They will then all gather to pass judgment upon my future sometime in March.

Assuming they don’t give me the boot, the process will then begin again.

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