Webinar Archive: S1W4
Job searches, tenure & promotion, and other considerations in the Corona age
2 April 2020 — Compiled by DR. MARK NABOLZ, Chief Editor of Publications
Job searches, tenure & promotion, and other considerations in the Corona age
This archival item is a work in progress. The following items are not yet added or completed:
- Editor’s Summary
- Moderator’s Review
- Video for all Parts
- Integration of Attendee Contributions
- Essential Resources exported
About the Webinar
This webinar provides a sharing of ideas of how we can move forward professionally as we navigate COVID-19’s disruption to our lives. Whether a fresh mindset for how to approach the job search, new actions in securing one’s current academic position (for example, leaping over tenure-track hurdles), or considering realistic methods of assessment (such as, for student teachers who are otherwise poised to enter the job market), this panel hopes to share words of encouragement as well as practical considerations for this unprecedented time. How do we account for “lost gigs”? What questions should we be asking our chairs & deans? What is being discussed at the administrative level? How can we reroute paths forward with compassion to others and to ourselves?￼
Elizabeth Swanson, moderator
Vice President, NCCO
Associate Director of Choral Activities & Assistant Professor
University of Colorado–Boulder
Vice Dean, Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts & Professor
Dean of Fine and Performing Arts
Santa Ana College
Associate Director of Choral Activities & Assistant Professor
University of Kansas
Director of Graduate Choral Studies & Associate Professor
Florida State University
Summary, Resources, & Video
[6:45] Our first three webinars have been very student centered. Today we are branching out to discuss the potential impact of COVID-19 on our career paths. Let’s start with an administrative perspective. Rollo, how have things changed for you administratively?
Rollo Dilworth: Our first priority is student care, making sure that they are where they can successfully engage in the learning process. Budget cuts are likely at my institution, and that will have an effect on hiring, purchases, teaching assistantships. There are lots of implications for tenure-track positions. We have colleagues who are trying to move up, or out of a DMA program. These are very challenging times.
Kellori Dower: Our challenges include recruiting for performance-based courses, and how that will impact hiring down the line. If we have a retirement will we hire the same sort of position, or change it to something more appropriate to the current situation? Supporting faculty through this process has been challenging because we are figuring out the needs as we go.
[11:00] Michael, you have DMA students who are entering the job market. How are you advising your students?
Michael Hanawalt: #1, get good at video and Zoom interviews! Also, adjust expectations going forward. One student was offered a job before the pandemic and turned it down. Fortunately, two weeks later that position was still open and was re-offered it, and accepted. If you’re offered a job, take it. Some DMA people may not want to take high school jobs, but may need to in order to have employment next year. My sense is that this whole year will have an asterisk over it. Everyone will understand that this is a strange year, and view future applications accordingly.
RD: I encourage all in DMA programs to expand their educational horizons. Find ways to make yourself stand out by emphasizing a cognate area, a concentration, a certification, whether that is theory, history, applied, technology, or ethnomusicology. More seasoned professors may decide to stay on a few more years than they had planned., as in 2008. Grow where you’re planted until job opportunities begin to surface again.
[16:30] A question from a listener – “I’ve had a couple of Zoom interviews straddling the COVID-19 outbreak. I haven’t heard back and am unsure if I’ve progressed to the next step, or if the outbreak has stalled the process. Is it best to wait for a response or follow up?
Mariana Farah: I have a student in a similar situation, where the search got suspended. She was asked if she was willing to make the move in a “visiting” capacity, and I told her no, she needs to stay where she is. Many searches are being suspended, so it is appropriate to follow up with questions. In my institution we are hearing about hiring freezes, so we are not sure that we’ll be able to have the same searches next year.
[18:20] Let’s talk about how tenure paths are being impacted. For many of us, cancelled gigs and creative work have been suspended for the time being. How can we move forward?
Mariana: Spring is our busy time for conference presentations, concerts, honor choirs, and a lot of those gigs got cancelled. I encourage people to contact the institutions that contracted you and discuss rescheduling. Some gigs can’t be rescheduled. In those cases, it is important to document the invitation for your tenure file. Talk to your administration to see how your invitation can count toward your tenure process.
[20:30] Here at CU-Boulder we received an email from the Vice-Chancellor informing those of us who are pre-tenure that we have the opportunity to suspend our process for a year, effectively adding a year to our tenure clock. I am curious to know what the pros and cons are for doing this?
Rollo: Before making that decision have a conversation with your chair or dean to get a read on how you are progressing along your trajectory. That will help the faculty member know whether they are well positioned to proceed with their regularly scheduled timeline, or if they should wait a year. There is very little down side to waiting a year because you want the strongest dossier possible, and another year of presentations and guest conducting will be helpful.
Kellori: With regard to two-year colleges, the only slight difference is that you should have direct communication with your Dean to know whether it will have any impact on future staffing decisions. Will they have a means to support you? If you’re an online teacher and have been doing it for a while, take the opportunity to shine, and move ahead with the evaluation process. If you teach both in person and online, they will have to evaluate you based on your online teaching, which could be to your advantage.
[24:30] Michael, what’s happening at Florida State with student evaluations right now?
MH: Students are allowed to submit online evaluations but those will not count for tenure portfolios. Faculty are encouraged to designate a separate question to evaluate in-class instruction differentiated from online. That will help make the process as fair and informative as possible.
[27:30] So many of us are 40/40/20 (creative scholarship/teaching/ service). We are rightly being thrown into doing a lot of service right now. Is this a point of negotiation with administrators for our portfolios?
RD: There may be more emphasis placed on teaching and service simply because we know that faculty are at a disadvantage for research and creativity.
[29:30] Kellori, as an administrator, how have your standards evolved with regard to assessing your employees, and how they are assessing their students’ online work?
KD: We’ve become very comfortable with “flexibility,” and I’m requesting that they do the same with their students as well. I meet with my faculty on Zoom once a week, and committees are starting to meet on Zoom. Their meeting attendance and engagement has been spectacular.
[31:50] Rollo, how are you evaluating your faculty?
RD: As normally as possible. Adjustments to the 40/40/20 are going to have to be made, and we will look more carefully at the service component. Be sure you have an understanding from your administration about how they will be evaluating you, and get a sense of how your peer evaluations and external reviews will be weighed.
[33:30] How are you evaluating student teachers this semester?
RD: We are still waiting for the state Department of Education regarding waiving the 12-week minimum for certification. We believe that they will, and we are going to grade the students based upon in-class observations that have been completed.
[35:00] Do our panelists want to jump in with anything else?
MF: I have a question: Is it important to get changes and exceptions to tenure and promotion processes in writing?
KD: You will want to get something in writing. Memories fade, so at least an email trail is important.
RD: Any change to your process needs a binding communication indicating that everyone is on the same page.
MH: FSU is encouraging faculty who missed presentation opportunities to input those activities into the online system we have for capturing that information as if they had occurred. They are working to figure out a way to designate those as “during the COVID era.” Stay on top of those announcements from your institution.
RD: Especially if you are presenting on a regional or national level, be sure you are documenting that. This is another reason that you may want to consider taking that extra year for tenure/promotion, because a high-profile engagement may have led to you being invited to do something else. The extra year gives you the opportunity to build the connections you lost due to that conference cancellation.
[38:30] Mariana, what is happening with your recruitment and retention of international and graduate students?
Mariana: It is highly questionable whether international students and scholars who are not currently living in the United States will be able to obtain a visa in time to enroll for next fall. This will have a huge impact on our program and campus diversity and our ability to hire faculty from other countries. We will have to work extra hard to help international students who are here and unable to return home during these difficult times.
[40:40] Kellori, your thoughts on undergraduate recruitment and retention?
KD: Maintain close connections with area high schools and community colleges. Offer to be a resource for them via Zoom to share strategies you’ve been using. Help them to see you as a resource.
[41:40] A question from an attendee – “What implications would there be for higher education music programs in general if we are not able to start our usual activities in the fall? Are administrators forecasting a loss of tuition for many experiential programs? Are there any plans for mitigating impact of such a tuition loss?”
RD: We can’t be sure that classes are going to start in the fall. Many schools have gone 100% online for summer sessions. Administrators are preparing for two scenarios: starting face-to-face, or starting classes online and then morphing into face-to-face.
[43:50] Another question from an attendee – “Before C-19 there was a push to teach online. Will the current predicament have a larger impact on face-to-face classes going forward, and are ensembles in danger?”
MH: So much of what we do requires interpersonal interaction in ensembles, conducting classes, etc. If anything, I hope this will highlight the unique nature of what we do and how important it is to have people time. So much is being said about virtual choirs, but choir at its essence is a bunch of people in a room listening to each other and reacting in the moment to what they hear going on around them. I would hope that it will make what we do even more special to those who are making decisions.
KD: We will come back different. For instance, adopting cleaning protocols for the areas where the choir and band meet – we’re thinking differently about how to keep those spaces clean and how rehearsals might look different.
[43:50] What is happening with study away and summer programs at your universities?
MH: We have a 3-year summer masters program, the third summer of which is spent at our campus in England. FSU has cancelled all semester abroad programs for this year. We are involved in conversations about how we will handle that – do we double up next summer? Do we give people an alternative through independent study or online substitution? What about students who planned to finish the masters this summer and enter a DMA program in the fall? There are a lot of issues to consider, but we’re all in agreement that the London experience can’t be replicated. We’re hoping many will be able to defer until next summer.
A lot of our summer camps have been cancelled, and that’s a recruitment pipeline. So we’re looking for ways to fill the gap there as well.
Rollo: We’ve cancelled summer courses on campus, and moved online.
[51:45] Any final thoughts on how communities are being impacted?
Mariana: I think next year will be a wonderful opportunity to step up and center our work in collaboration and community engagement, reaching out to our colleagues in local schools and churches to be a resource. Also, we should not be afraid to ask for help as we face decreased budgets. So much of what we do is collaborative, and this will be an opportunity to collaborate even more.
[54:05] Another question from an attendee – “Would the panel view a move to another institution with pre-tenure status as ill-advised in the era of CARONA?”
MF: If you are in a good position, I would stay.
[54:05] Final thoughts from our other panelists?
MH: There is fear that changes we make now might be a slippery slope. This is a temporary situation. Yes, it will have long-term ramifications on operations, but to a large extent we will get back to the way we used to do things. So we shouldn’t be afraid to make needed accommodations now in order to make this situation work.
KD: Things happen for a reason, and this has forced me to think a lot about my “why.” Conducting is “what” we do, but when you know your “why” your “what” has more value. Use this time to focus in on why you do what you do and your “what” will become more meaningful.
RD: I teach a choral pedagogy seminar, and the first day of class we talk about what kind of conductor will you be – one who focuses on people, on process, or on product. We are usually told to engage on all three of those concepts simultaneously. But as we become more advanced, we begin to think more about the product. This is an opportunity to think more about the people we are serving, and understanding that choral music is a tool to bring people together and lift them, educate them, and inspire them.