The Path and Timeline of Your Tenure Application

Part 2 of my series on Tenure

Every institution has its own conventions, expectations and practices for tenure, and the single most important thing you must do, if you are on the tenure track, is bring your research A-game to the task of figuring out what those are for YOUR field, in YOUR department, in YOUR college, on YOUR campus.  No general advice of the kind I can provide here can anticipate every variation on tenure timelines and policies.

Speak first and most often to your department head, but don’t stop there – also talk to other senior members of your department. The fact is, your head may not be experienced or savvy, and may have only the dimmest ideas of what constitutes a normative tenure case. So, seek information widely.  And, utilize ALL resources at your disposal, including any and all tenure workshops given by your department, college, or campus. And go to these regularly each year, so that you can track evolving tenure expectations. Because these are always in flux, especially at “aspirational” mid-tier campuses, which are getting increasingly greedy for research outputs. More on that later.

Anyway, all of that to say that the path and timeline of tenure on your campus may deviate from what I write here. In particular, be aware that small teaching colleges and regional public institutions may not include any external reviewers in their tenure process. They may rely only on selected internal reviewers.  And likewise, some campuses may have a 5, 7 or a 9 year tenure timeline (instead of the more typical 6), while for some individuals your timeline may be shorter because you have arranged to come up early.

But in all four of my departments on two public R1 campuses, this is what it looked like:

Late Spring of candidate’s year 5, the Head calls you into the office to tell you your tenure process is starting.  She tells you who is on your committee and the timeline, with a deadline for your submission of all publications to be sent to external reviewers in about May.

Late Spring of candidate’s year 5, the chair of the tenure and promotion committee schedules a meeting, goes over the timeline, asks for your list of approximately 5 names of external reviewers. Your list will be added to the department-generated list of approximately 5 names, and the committee chair and/or the department head will cull that list to one master list of approximately 6 names, with 3 or 4 from department list, and 3 or 2 from your list.  The departmental names will “count” for more in the ultimate tenure evaluation, as they are perceived to be more “objective.” [I will discuss the criteria by which names are chosen in another blog post].

Possible:  the committee chair will quietly, behind closed doors, ask you for some names that you’d like to see on the department’s list, so that he/she can be sure and propose those, and work with you to ensure that the final master list has all “good” names on it. The purpose of this exercise is to make sure that the departmental list has no dangerous names on it, and also that the “best” and highest status people come from the department rather than you, the candidate. Note: not all departments will do this informal step for all candidates, so it may not occur and should not be expected as a matter of course.

The Head may have to move through many names to get to a list of 6 or so who will agree, due to potential evaluators’ illness, overcommitment, research leave, etc.

End of Spring, Candidate’s year 5, department Head sends out your packet of all major publications and the CV, and sometimes a draft/provisional tenure research statement, to all of the reviewers to read over the summer.

Early Fall of Candidate’s year 6, tenure reviewers send back their external review letters, evaluating the strength of your research and publication record and answering the question: “would this candidate get tenure at my institution?”

Early Fall of Candidate’s year 6, you submit ALL elements of your record to the department:  all publications, syllabi and supporting teaching materials, evaluations, records of service, awards, and so on.  You also submit all required tenure statements, covering research, teaching, service, and any other major element of your position (such as outreach and/or administration). All of these elements are held in a tenure “box” (or digital file), to be reviewed first by the tenure and promotion committee.

Mid-Fall, year 6, the tenure and promotion committee evaluates all of your submitted materials and the external review letters, and writes up a report making a recommendation to the department for or against your tenure.

Mid-Fall, year 6, this committee report is shared with all tenured faculty members in the department, and your complete file of materials is made available for review by them.

Mid-Fall, year 6, a departmental tenure vote is held at a special meeting that leaves time for extensive discussion of your file. This vote is supposed to be confidential but somebody may leak the outcome to you, especially if it’s positive.

Mid-Fall, year 6, the department Head takes the results of the committee report, the departmental vote, the departmental discussion (including aspects of the case that may have been shared verbally but not reflected in the vote), and the recommendations of the external reviewers, and synthesizes them in a lengthy “Head’s Report and Recommendation.” This lays out the case for or against your tenure for the upper-level committees who will be evaluating you next. This document is the most important element of your tenure case. This document will draw heavily from the tenure and promotion committee’s report and recommendation, but will elaborate further based on the department-wide discussion, and the Head’s wider perspective on you in comparison to other tenure candidates past and present.

Late Fall, year 6, the entire file, plus the Head’s Report, is given to the College level tenure and promotion committee for review and vote.

Early Spring, year 6, the entire file, Head’s Report, and completed vote/report of the College committee is sent to the Campus level tenure and promotion committee for review and vote.

Mid-Spring, year 6, all elements of the file are sent to the Chancellor’s office for a final review and approval.

Mid-Late-Spring, year 6, the final campus decision on tenure is communicated to the department Head and to you, the candidate.

While in the majority of cases a successful departmental vote bodes well for all other votes moving up the food chain, it does NOT guarantee it.  Deans have been known to overturn departmental votes, as have Campus-level committees.  There are politics at play at every level.  Some campuses have a culture of trust in departmental judgment, and some do not. In addition, there are departments that due to histories of dysfunction have little or no credibility on campus, and so their tenure decisions are held in doubt and closely scrutinized.

Finally, in a close case, much hinges on the skill of the department head – is she savvy enough and a skilled enough writer to successfully contextualize any weaknesses and play up all possible strengths?  I once had a department head who truly could only be called an academic Eyeore.  He could take anything, no matter how exuberantly positive, and render it dismal. His praise was so faint as to be invisible: “she usually completed all service tasks in a timely manner and mostly performed adequately in the classroom.”

The best way to get around these issues is not to have a close case. What you want is a “slam dunk” case that cannot be undermined no matter how ham-fisted your Head, how racist or sexist your colleagues. I realize the latter issues constitute a potential penalty in themselves, but there it is: white women and people of color must do twice as much for half the credit. I will elaborate on this point many times in the tenure posts to come. The most important thing you can do is to accurately determine what actually counts for tenure in your department and campus and put laser focus on producing exactly that. Do not spend your time and energy on what you think “should” count, spend it on what DOES count.



#MakeupMonday: I Got Carded Yesterday

I got carded yesterday.  So, that happened.  Thank you, Sabbatical Beauty!  You get ALL the credit.

I’ve posted before about the SB products I use in this post: Skin Care as Coping Mechanism and Catalyst.

Here is the list again:

Sabbatical Beauty products that I use daily, as part of the multi-step Korean-beauty-inspired regimen (which I learned about from years in Japan as well):

  • Goat Milk and Rice Cleanser (day and night)
  • Dorian Gray Anti-Aging Serum (day)
  • Asian Powerhouse Serum (day)
  • Marine Serum (day)
  • Camel Milk Moisturizing Cream (day) [This summer I’m trying out Donkey Milk Cream]
  • Sleeping Beauty Oil (night)
  • Sake and Rice Sleeping Mask (night)
  • Sake Kasu Mask (bi-weekly)

(and full disclosure: I’ve recently upgraded my eye products [to deal with extreme eye area crepiness] from my previous TJ Maxx products to the v. expensive  Perricone Cold Plasma + Eye product series because some wrinkles need SCIENCE, lol. And I also use pretty regular wonderful and cheap under-eye masks by SpaLife and Grace & Stella).

I still have tons of wrinkles —  and think the guy carding me was undoubtedly high, because, come on — but skin care plus really great makeup products sure have made a difference. Look:




Even my neck seems to be aging backwards!  But it’s my eyes where you can really see a difference. (I never use filters btw).

I think one important thing about anti-aging makeup is not to overdo it, because sadly heavy-handed makeup is really aging to middle-aged faces – instead of covering up the wrinkles, it just settles into them.  A dewy, light foundation seems, after much trial and error, to be key. That’s why I love Becca so much. But this BareMinerals leftover holiday combo pack I found really cheap at TJ Maxx (that I mentioned a few weeks because it contained a blush I’d wanted to try) also happened to include a sample of the Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer.  I was so impressed with that product that I’m actually switching to it for summer, because in addition to being incredibly light and dewy and minimalistic, it also contains a physical (non-chemical; ie, titanium dioxide) sunscreen.  I’m allergic to chemical sunscreens so this is a real win for me.  I was wearing it yesterday, so….  I still love my Becca, but this really appeals for summer.

Anyway, that’s the report for this week!  Next week I’m going to tell you about my contouring experiments.  It’s been good. Expensive, but good.  There are WAY too many bad contouring products out there…. I’m spending a lot of time running back and forth returning disappointing products….


Nobody posted a photo or video on FB last week, as requested, so there is no winner of the de-stashing box o’ samples this week — 🙁  I guess asking for pictures is asking a bit too much for the Professor Is In readership!

So let’s go back to just commenting!   Share your thoughts, comments, links, etc. on anti-aging skin care and makeup on Facebook, and I’ll randomly select one commenter for a box of unused or almost unused samples from my stash — brands including Hourglass, Smashbox, Urban Decay, Tarte, etc. etc.

Why Your Tenure Statement Sucks

The Professor Is In has been going for 7+ years now (!!) and lots of our job market clients from years back are now coming up on tenure!  I’m thrilled that so many are getting back in touch for help writing their tenure statements. But I’m horrified — simply horrified — at the tenure statement drafts I’m seeing.

They are so bad.

They are bad the way teaching statements are bad:  weepy, desperate and oscillating painfully between obsequious and grandiose.

I have to confess that I fondly believed that once folks got their jobs and worked as professionals for a number of years, they would leave behind the anxious, pandering, self-sabotaging habits of the new Ph.D.

Sadly, that is clearly not the case.  And actually, I should have known that.  Because when I work with tenured job market clients seeking Associate and Full Prof (and Dean) positions, their job docs are just as weepy, over-emotionalized, and insecure as any new Ph.D.

So clearly, Imposter Syndrome and the “never good enough” ethos of the academy is more stubborn than I realized.

So from today I’m going to do a series of posts on tenure documents.  And please remember: I do edit tenure documents.   The work I do on tenure documents is intensive and highly targeted to the type and rank of institution and conventions of your field.   At present this work is done entirely by me (ie, not the TPII editing team) as I am the one with experience as a) tenure and promotion committee chair, b) department head in charge of tenure cases, and c) external tenure reviewer. If you wish to learn more about working with me on your tenure file, please email at


If you are writing your statements for your tenure case, you are probably doing it wrong. I say this based on the 25+ client tenure statements I’ve worked on in the last few years.  This is a growing part of the business, as more and more former clients get to the tenure review stage and come back seeking help. I’m very glad they do, because I believe I’ve helped prevent some potentially calamitous missteps in their tenure processes. I’ve read statements invoking childhood dreams, grandmothers’ admonitions, family histories, and personal philosophies … statements filled with sloppy errors of spelling, grammar, and capitalization… statements that are nothing but an endless series of cherry-picked student praise from narrative evaluations… statements that are stream of consciousness word-salad of current pedagogical jargon…

Indeed, the tenure statements I’ve reviewed have actually shocked me in their badness. And I did not think I could still be shocked by anything in the academic world.

Of course I cannot know what the clients’ outcome would have been without my help.  But what I can say is that many of the tenure statement drafts I’ve seen would have been entirely unacceptable at my former institutions. They made the same mistakes that I rail against in job documents: they substitute sentimentality for evidence.  They pander.  And they show no awareness whatsoever of the actual agendas of their readers.

While perhaps the facts of the record may have overcome these dreadful statements (because generally the facts of the record have been solid), in my experience in tenure cases — especially now in a drastically contracting academy where institutions are trying to jettison full-time faculty members —  any red flag at all can have dire consequences. Poorly conceived and executed statements can cast a pall on the candidate that in a close case may prove decisive. And rest assured that tenure committees are always hoping the case will be a “slam dunk” because NOBODY wants the hassle and expense of a failed tenure case and its frequent associated litigation.

Tenure committees require the same thing as search committees:  they need concrete evidence of your achievements in research, teaching, and service (and outreach and/or administration, if those are formal parts of your job).  The fact that you are “passionate” and “enthusiastic” and “caring” are not pertinent to these achievements. Yes, at small teaching colleges–especially those with a religious identity – your claims of emotional investment will matter more than at an R1, where they matter not at all.  But, even at small religious colleges, incessant, tedious, repetitive invocations of passion and care do not a tenure statement make. Even there, they need to know the facts: what you teach, how you teach, and the outcomes of your teaching.  That you are passionate about the teaching comes through far more in the substance that you SHOW, than in the feelings you CLAIM.

The reasons that you need to emphasize evidence over feelings is that the statements will be read by a range of people who know and care about you less and less, the higher they are in the college or university hierarchy.  So, your immediate departmental colleagues may overlook a substance-lite, sentimentality-filled tenure statement because they know you, know your work ethic, know your grant and publication record, and know your successful students. So they are filling in for evidence that may be lacking.  But when your packet moves up to the college level, and from there to the campus level, those reviewers who are in fields ranging from Physics to French, from Chemistry to Classics, from Engineering to English… will not be swayed by your earnest bleatings about care and commitment. They will need to know the outcomes of your work: the number of rank of publications, the amount of grant money raised, the number of students and credit hours, the specific named courses you taught and how you taught them, your quantitative evaluations, and the number of committees on which you served.

While the framing of this evidence will vary based on the rank and type of institution in ways I’ll be explaining in future posts (tl;dr: a little bit touchy-feely at small religious teaching colleges, dry and factual at R1s) the core content a tenure statement demands does not vary, because people who do not know you or care about you at the highest campus levels of review must evaluate you, and they have no particular investment in your staying if they don’t believe you yield concrete benefit to the institution.

In future posts I will be digging into all of this in more detail. Topics I’ll be blogging on include (order may vary):

  • The path and timeline of your tenure application
  • External tenure reviewers: what do they do and how are they chosen?
  • The role of your tenure committee and department head
  • Tenure documents at R1s vs. teaching colleges
  • What goes in a tenure research statement
  • What goes in a tenure teaching statement/portfolio
  • What goes in a tenure service statement
  • What goes in a tenure administrative and/or outreach statement
  • Tenure pitfalls for women
  • Tenure pitfalls for faculty of color
  • Why people get turned down for tenure
  • Appealing a negative tenure case

Stay tuned.   And I’ll gladly post on any other topics related to tenure in this series.  So, please feel free to put your questions below.

And remember: Nobody wants to hear about your grandmother.



#MakeupMonday: Tightlining is the Bomb

First, two funny makeup things.


And: “I Don’t Wear Makeup For Men, I Wear It Because I Love Supporting Corporations” from Reductress:

Thanks to the free market, there is an ever-growing number of corporations that produce and sell makeup products, and I feel a personal drive to support them in any way I can. For example: When Revlon first announced their new line of lipliner, I was less interested in feeling a sense of feminine power, and more interested in the opportunity to directly support Revlon, which is a subsidiary of MacAndrews & Forbes. Yes, the MacAndrews & Forbes!!! If you’re not a corporo-ho like me, this might not ring a bell, but MacAndrews & Forbes is owned wholly by corporate billionaire bae Ronald Perelman. I’m a huge fan!

Thus capturing the various ambivalences of being a feminist makeup user in 2018.

Anyway, as promised two weeks ago: the upper waterline lining technique I’m now addicted to, called tighlining.  This is where you dot or line beneath and between your upper lashes, for an amazing effect! 

This might sound esoteric, but it’s actually really easy and kind of obvious once you try it the first time.  It’s a “why didn’t we think of this before?” kind of technique.  Read about it here and just google “Tightlining” for many other useful tutorials.

The piece I linked to above uses a brush and pigment pot, which I’m sure is great, but I actually used a product I had sitting around my stash, which I got in one of my many sample hauls:  Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner.

Now, I am actually not a huge Stila fan.  I know people swear by this brand, but I never find that it’s “stay all day” products actually stay even part of the day, or like even an hour or two.  I just don’t get it.  But this particular eyeliner, used for tightlining, has been extraordinary.  Effortless, quick, and exactly the look I’m seeking.  And very lasting!  Also because it’s EXTREMELY dark and very “wet” it applies like a dream.  This is in contrast to two other liquid eyeliners I had around, a Steve Laurant from some old Ipsy bag, and a MAC, that I got at Nordstrom Rack super cheap a year or so ago. Neither of these worked for tightlining, because the product is more dry, and so doesn’t adhere to the waterline without a lot of strife and struggle.

Also, the Stila Eyeliner also comes in a variety of colors – ie a lighter brown for those with ligher lashes, or blues and greens and purples for those who are daring, AND it comes in a micro-tip option, which might be even better for tightlining.  I use basic black, and I’m very pleased with it for this technique.

Unlike lining the lower waterline, which can shrink the eye and be harsh on older faces, tightlining has a lifting and opening effect. Particularly for anyone with sparse lashes, it would be transformative!  And it’s subtle–so very doable for campus wear.  It just basically makes you look like you have 2x the lashes.

I’m really bad at precise makeup-selfies (I need a millenial to teach me!) but here are some efforts to demonstrate how it looks.

Notice I’m also now doing a nude(r) lip for summer!  And… can you see the contouring?  I’m enjoying experimenting with that these days and promise a post soon. Miyako is home for the summer so we’re doing lots of research on products and, particularly, brushes.

Stay tuned!


Professor Katy Pearce won this week’s random drawing for a package of unused or barely used samples and full size items from my stash!  Remember: just comment on FB and I’ll use to pick one commenter at random for a box of makeup/skincare samples and items.  This week’s package includes Blinc Lash Primer (a cult item that unfortunately I am allergic to), Smashbox UnderEye Primer  – I use Becca so this is almost full – and things by Laura Mercier and Peter Thomas Roth.

Let’s keep this up – it’s fun hearing your thoughts about makeup and I still have more stuff to give away!  But this time, please comment on Facebook with a photo or video related in some direct or indirect way to makeup.  Don’t let me be the only one posting makeup selfies!









On Being a Grad School Quitter, Part 1 – Guest Post

Adrienne Posner quit grad school cold turkey in 2015 mid-dissertation and now works at Google as a Program Manager for various educational initiatives.  She received her BA in Art History from UCSC and an MA in Art History from UCLA, and then an MA and a CPhil in Comparative Literature from UCLA. She lives in Oakland.


When I was 5, I told my mom that I wanted to be an English professor. I imagined that being a professor meant that I would read and write constantly, that I would wear brightly colored, perhaps asymmetrical glasses (it was the 80s), and that people would really listen when I spoke. Since I was an extremely shy kid who already read and wrote constantly, I thought the latter two fantasy elements would transform me into someone glamorous and authoritative. When my mom told me matter of factly that being a professor meant that, after high school, I would spend more than a decade in yet more school, I was thrilled: I could do something that I was good at doing and that I enjoyed doing, and at the end of that would be a job where I could simply continue doing more of that. Perfect.

I went straight to a good four year college, and I graduated with highest honors in Art History, right on schedule. Immediately after graduating, I became a research assistant for my undergrad advisor, TAed in my department, even published some things. At 22, I moved to New York for a fellowship in Critical Theory at the Whitney Museum, co-founded a non-profit, and continued to write and publish. In short, I did all the things you are supposed to do to make yourself a great candidate for grad school; I never really considered any other path, even when there were red flags all around me.

When it came time to apply, I applied to all the “best” schools. At the time, I would not have put the word “best” in quotes because I was a true believer: I listened only half heartedly when people talked about the importance of “fit, and though I absolutely should have known better, I thought a big name school and a big name advisor was the most important thing. When I got an offer to get a PhD in Modern and Contemporary Art from UCLA with no funding guarantee, I didn’t hesitate. I moved straight to LA believing that this was the exact thing for which I had been preparing.

More or less as soon as I got there though, all hell broke loose: though I was academically and intellectually prepared, I was not culturally or emotionally prepared. I was intimidated by the other students, my advisor terrified me, and the general environment felt competitive and unwelcoming. It didn’t help that I was absolutely flat broke, taking out loan after loan while I frantically cobbled together part time jobs to pay the rent and feed myself. About one month in, I started experiencing symptoms from what I would only much later find out was an autoimmune disease. I was sick and beyond stressed, panicking my way from research paper to research paper.

I will say now what I’ve never said publicly before: though I ended up making some wonderful friends there, I hated my program top to bottom, and, though my primary advisor proved in the end to be a decent enough human being, the other one was such a nightmare to me that, when I think of it now, it is both hard to believe and almost funny. But not quite.

Despite everything, I made progress toward my degree and finished my MA on schedule. In my third year, once the fog started to clear a little from my illness and I started to get my financial feet under me a bit, I began to explore and eventually to accept the feeling that had been nagging at me since day one: this program just wasn’t going to work, for so many reasons. I still thought I wanted to be a professor, but I knew that Art History – the department, the discipline, the very framework it purports to provide for thinking about “culture” – was not actually for me.

I considered, very briefly, quitting altogether. I even applied for a couple of jobs. But in the end I just really couldn’t fathom a decision that would involve walking away from everything that structured my daily life: the reading, the papers, the classes, the people, the whole system that largely defined, I believed, who I was. After talking to some trusted mentors, I decided to formally apply to the Comparative Literature department at UCLA and to start over – another MA, another PhD program, but this time with a little more support and with full funding.

It was a great decision. My new advisor was a gem. Most people are being tongue-in-cheek when they say “he’s a scholar and a gentleman,” but in the case of my advisor, it was really true. As a mentor, his feedback was always warm and constructive, and he actively looked for ways to support me and give me more opportunities. The other faculty were on the whole also generally supportive, taking in someone with an unconventional background and even letting me incorporate my interest in visual art into my literary work. It was wonderful, a grad school experience diametrically opposed to the first one. I loved teaching, I loved writing, I loved my committee, and I advanced to candidacy in record time. I felt back on track and I was settled, if not happy, in my work for several years.

But during my first 6 months of dissertation writing, something strange started to happen. Despite having the best possible grad school situation – adequate funding, a great advisor, opportunities to publish and present – I was losing focus and motivation. Mostly, I couldn’t stop thinking about the job market. I had a list of unanswerable questions running constantly through my head: What kind of jobs could I even apply to? As someone with an unconventional background for Comp Lit, was I competitive? Was I willing to move anywhere? What about 1 year post docs? Would I do that? Wasn’t that risky? For every word I wrote, I felt like I was performing a double labor, first having to lift the weight of my own anxiety, and then having to lift each word itself to put it down on the page. It was exhausting.

One day, tired and frustrated by the whole thing, by my own looping, anxious inner monologue, I closed the massive document that was my halfway finished dissertation. I never opened it again. Seriously.

The same day that I closed my dissertation file for good, I started applying for jobs in the tech industry. Despite not at all having an abiding interest in tech at the time, I had a vague sense that “they” might welcome someone with an unconventional resume. I could lie and say that it was very difficult and I had to apply to a million jobs, but instead I’ll risk sounding immodest and tell a truth which I hope will be encouraging: I got traction pretty much right away. Though in the end I did apply to a a couple dozen jobs and it did take a couple months start to finish, it was nothing compared to the academic job search for which I had been steeling myself for years. I’ve now been at Google for 3.5 years. I’m a Program Manager and I work in internal education, and I love my job.

Continues next week….

#MakeupMonday: Makeup As Motivator

I’m late with Makeup Monday this week, and didn’t post my usual academic career related post last Friday at all, because Kellee and I were travelling, first to a conference we spoke at in Victoria BC, and then to see our son Seiji, 17, who is confronting some mental health challenges and not currently living at home. The latter part was a challenging visit, and we came home anxious and drained.

We got into town at about noon (having  been up since 3:30 AM), and I proceeded to crash on the sofa, eating chips and chocolate and binge watching weird television (ie, a badly made Smithsonian Channel “documentary” about the lifestyle of 1960s flight attendants). In short, my usual mode of dealing with emotional stress.

I determined there was NO WAY I was going to my dance class (hip hop) this evening.

The day passed, and I felt mostly worse and worse. Not only from emotional upset and eating terrible food, but also from knowing I’d missed all my dance for the previous week while also gorging on large quantities of junk food (inc repeated visits to the spectacularly over-the-top Chocolats Favoris in Victoria —>), and was about to miss it again.

But then, I remembered the two samples of NARS PowerMatte Lip Pigment that had arrived while I was gone.

How exciting! I needed to test those out!  And testing while lying on the couch watching TV and eating chips is meaningless. The only worthwhile testing is at dance.

Ergo, I needed to get off the sofa and go to dance.

Not because I wanted to dance. Not because I wanted to see my fellow dancers.  Not because I wanted to see my marvelous teacher.  No.  Because I wanted to test my new lipcolor.

And, off I went.  Wearing NARS PowerMatte Lip Pigment in Le Freak.







We danced to this 🙂 :

So, how did my NARS do?

Amazingly well.

Here’s after class.


Le Freak clearly lasts WAAAY longer than American Woman, which is the other shade that came, and which I far prefer.  But as I discovered in last week’s post, it doesn’t have anywhere near this staying power. Too bad.

If you’re wondering why I am interested in other long-wear liquid lipcolors besides my beloved Beauty Bakerie Lip Whip…. well, that’s because Lip Whip can be a little bit heavy and cakey for regular wear. I do love it, and wear it for talks and webinars all the time. But for running around town in a place like Eugene, it can be a bit much.  So when I learned about the flexible, lightweight “stain” effect of the NARS, I wanted to try it out.  It’s a good product–i just have to figure out the shades that work.

But, the larger outcome?  I went to dance!  I danced!  I saw friends, and I felt substantially better.  Better enough to write this post, in fact, and tell this story.

And that, reader, is how makeup ends up a motivator for me. It’s a strange thing, and I imagine it won’t work for everybody. But right now, it’s working for me. And in the strain and struggle of this season of life, I’ll take it.

In other news, last week I invited all you readers to comment substantively on the Facebook thread to this post, and you did!  You really did! I enjoyed it immensely. 17 of you commented.  And as promised, I chose one reader randomly (#14) to receive a box of barely used samples/full sized items that I am prepared to part with!  Here is the box!


As you can see, it includes items from Smashbox, It Cosmetics, UrbanDecay, Peter Thomas Roth, and MAC.  It’s headed out tomorrow to lucky reader #14!

This week, let’s do it again!  Comment substantively on this post on FB, and I’ll send out another box of samples or full-size items that I bought and only used slightly.  It’s a win-win—I get to de-stash, and you get some items you might never have tried, and we all get to converse about makeup on FB!




#MakeupMonday: Janelle Monae!

Who’s going to see Janelle Monae on her Dirty Computer Tour in Portland in June, you ask?  At an open air concert?  With a group of 20 fierce and feminist dance friends? Who dance to Janelle Monae weekly?*

Oh, just me. And Kellee!

It’s not like I’m excited or anything. I mean, just because I spent an hour on Saturday playing around with a makeup look for the concert ….

(Silver and iridescent Peacock-colored Lorac shadows, black Mac Penultimate liquid liner, my new Bare Minerals blush in Golden Gate, a nude Stila lip in Perla, Bliss contour palette)

I’m sure this is just the first of many such experimentations leading up to the concert, thanks to the ridiculous yet beautiful Lorac Pirates of the Caribbean eyeshadow palette I ended up with, after trading it with Miyako for a Smashbox palette last year, that has 20 vivid pirate-y shades in blues, greens, reds, silver, black, and more (there’s an old Makeup Monday post about that!)

Anyway, as always happens on a cyclical basis, I’ve gotten bored with the wonderful products I’ve been happily using for months, and I’m back deep in experiment phase.

For one thing, I’ve jumped on the CONTOUR bandwagon finally, and I’ll have a post on that soon, once my new products arrive from Sephora!

And, I learned a new upper-waterline eyeliner technique which is totally cool!

And, I’ve started on some new skincare products that I’ll report back about soon.

All this to say, makeup continues to be my delight and my solace in times that seem ever more despairing.  I mean, when did the smoky eye become a political issue, fer cryin’ out loud, when the wearer of that smoky eye spends her days lying, deceiving, and defending those who would destroy the Constitution? Looks like our political correspondents care more about making the powerful comfortable than holding them accountable.  George Orwell said it: “the further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.”

Before I go:  a little secret promotion for everyone who read this far:  comment substantively ON FACEBOOK on this post or on MakeupMonday – related themes in general, and I’ll enter your name in a drawing for a set of unused/barely tried products from my makeup and skin care drawer!  These are the products I’ve gotten in sets or Ipsy bags and never used, or used once and set aside. Brands include: Tarte, Urban Decay, It Cosmetics, Sabbatical Beauty, and more!   Fine print: it must be a substantial comment (ie, not just a “nice!” or “I love it!”) related to makeup  – mine, yours, somebody else’s – on Facebook. In a week I’ll collect the names, and do a random draw, and send a little box of goodies to the winner!

*Here we are in all our glory!


*My regular intro:

Welcome to #MakeupMonday, my weekly series on makeup; academic and postacademic job market and productivity posts will continue on Tuesday and Friday as usual.

Here is my weekly reminder:  I will not engage with makeup-shaming here or on any Facebook or Twitter comment threads. I support your right to not wear makeup, and anyone who dislikes makeup, disapproves of makeup, or wants to argue that no academic woman should be judged on the basis of makeup (which nobody is claiming anyway), I suggest you come back for my other posts on other topics.

For previous posts, see the following:


How I Transitioned From the Ph.D. To Secondary Education – by Dr. Rebecca Simon

Dr. Rebecca Simon got in touch to share her story of transitioning from the Ph.D. and academic job search to secondary education teaching.  I’m delighted to share a long excerpt from her own blog post here, and encourage you to click through and read the whole thing. It’s filled with great advice and links to amazing resources.



In 2 blogs I wrote last spring, I described how I interviewed for an academic job in the US Southeast. Once I returned home, I knew that the academic route was not for me. I decided to turn my attention to secondary education teaching.

The first thing I did was read lots of blogs and articles from academics who turned to teaching, which proved to be valuable resources. I’d also really recommend reading this article from Carney Sandoe (written by a now-colleague of mine!) that advises Humanities PhDs how to go about getting a secondary teaching job. Not only did they validate my choice, but they also offered great advice in terms of the application process.

The second step I took was updating my general cover letter and resume. The cover letter is not too different from an academic cover letter but there are still changes that have to be made (again, read the Carney Sandoe article!). For one, you have to highlight your teaching philosophy: What is your philosophy about student-centered learning? What is your philosophy about project-based learning? How do you approach teaching? How do you differentiate learning? How do you value diversity? How does your expertise/pedagogy shape your methodology? You also need to describe your teaching experience. Yes, you can use your university teaching experience, but focus on your teaching methods and pedagogy – NOT your expertise. Did you use Socratic seminars? Did you lecture? How did you accommodate students with disabilities, learning difficulties, or other special needs? Your resume must be tailored for a teaching job. This is not a CV so don’t treat it like one.

Third, I applied to two teaching recruiter agencies: Carney Sandoe & Associates (who are nation-wide recruiters) and Cal-West Educators (who are California and West Coast recruiters). These programs focus on the independent school sector. You can also go to the National Association of Independent Schools job boards, but for a first-time secondary teacher I’d really recommend you to work with a recruiting agency. Schools turn to those companies first because recruiters interview and vet you thoroughly.

Why did I go this route and not public school? For one, although I earned a California teaching credential, I never cleared it and it expired in June 2017. Another reason is that in California a doctorate would make me too expensive to get hired in the public sector. Education funds are dire and districts are strapped. This is an unfortunate reality. Another reason is more personal rather than logistical. I don’t believe in the standardized state testing that public schools are subjected to. I feel they are culturally, socially, and economically biased and that they do not measure teaching. I also feel they put too much pressure on schools, teachers, and subsequent funding to cater to high scores, which takes away educational creativity and a love of learning. I trained in that area and I had no desire to be a part of it.

Carney Sandoe rejected my application due to a lack of full-time teaching experience, but Cal-West agreed to represent me. The process was simple. I filled out the online application followed by an interview. (This will be either in person or over the phone.) One of the big questions you have to be prepared to answer is why are you interested in secondary education? They want to make sure that a teaching job isn’t just a holding place before you take off back into the academic world. They want to make sure that their candidates are committed. It looks badly on the recruiting agencies if new-hires put in their notice 6 months into their new job because the new teacher took on something academic. Schools pay the recruiting agencies so they lose out. Plus, that hurts prospective PhDs who are genuinely interested and passionate about secondary education because recruiters and schools can be a bit more cautious about those applicants.

Once Cal-West agreed to represent me, I had to complete my online profile. This consisted of several uploaded documents that included: all university transcripts, teaching philosophy, cover letter, resume, and three letters of recommendation. The last part was tricky because I no longer had contacts from my credential experience 5 years ago, so I received references from professors who observed me teach.

The most important thing is to focus on your teaching experience and area of teaching expertise. You have to be flexible. (Research expertise can and will come later on the job, especially if you take part in curriculum development.) In my case I had to stress that not only could I teach British and US History, but also World History, AP-level history, any area of social studies, humanities, political science, economics, and English literature. How did I know I could teach those subjects? Several reasons.

  1. 1) I did my student-teaching in 7th grade social studies (Medieval World in California), 9th grade World Geography and Cultures (multidisciplinary), 10th grade World History, and 11th grade US History.
  2. 2) I was a Teaching Assistant for Western Civilization 1500 – Present, Early America and the Atlantic World, and Problems in US History to 1865 (all of which I wrote and delivered lectures).
  3. 3) At King’s College London I was a Graduate Teaching Assistant for The Worlds of the British Empire 1700 – 1960 for 2 years and Power, Culture, and Belief in Early Modern Europe 1500 – 1800.

So as you can see, I had experience teaching in many different and varied areas of history. Each class encompassed a different part of the world at a different time so it was not hard to make any world connections.

This is an opportunity where I was also able to draw upon my research and you can too. All research is multidisciplinary. If you study history, you’ve also studied literature. Therefore, you can teach literature. Humanities encompasses all areas of history, literature, and social studies. If you’ve studied history, you’ve studied literature and therefore you’re familiar with social studies and thus you can teach Humanities. (Plus, PhD in the Humanities? There you go!). Did you have to look at rulers/leaders, governments, trade, or any kind of cultural exchange? BOOM! You can teach political science, government, and economics. Did you write a thesis? I sure hope so because then you can teach writing. Was your area of expertise and teaching experience limited to something specific, such as early modern Europe? Brush up on how early modern innovations spread throughout the world and affected the 19th and 20th centuries. Not sure how that happened? You’re a seasoned researcher and an expert, so you can learn this easily. I believe in you. Your interviewer wants to make sure you can teach all aspects and time periods in World History? You can. I promise. If you’re not sure, pretend you can and read up over the summer.

END OF EXCERPT.  Be sure and click through to the full post to read the rest!


#MakeupMonday: A Great Lipcolor Sample from Ulta

Becca! Eyeko! More!

[May 3, 2018: This post and title have been updated. I originally thought this story was about a Sephora purchase, but later remembered it all came from Ulta!  Mea culpa!]

PSA:  If you like Ulta, make sure you order online. All orders get free samples, first of all, but you can also use one of the loads of Offers they always have going —————> and ALSO google for promo codes to get additional money off. The trick is deciding which one promo code you want to use, because each one brings a different free item or set!

Make sure you de-spamify (and de-Promo, if you use Gmail) their emails because those have great same-day deals sometimes too. (And don’t forget Ebates for any Ulta or Sephora purchase, for an additional 3-6% off. PLUS when you get your Ebates rebate, you can choose an Ulta Gift Card and get the amount boosted by 12%!!!  Free Ulta money!).

<——Look at this haul!  It’s an 18 piece sample set; added to the 3 free samples, I got 21 things!  All just for replacing my usual mascara (Eyeko Sport) and lipcolor! (Covergirl Outlast). Sadly, I just checked and this promo is no longer available.

Most of this is going to Miyako, since she and her dorm buddies can undoubtedly make better use of it all than I can (especially the perfume samples-perfume gives me a headache).  In truth, I ordered it just as a fun thing to be able to send to them, although I am keeping a few great finds:  an Estee Lauder primer, Perricone Cold Plasma Plus, and the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads. I’ll report back about those.

But one thing I was super excited about was a sample of NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment.  I’m always excited to try a new matte long-wear lipcolor. And amazingly, the sample was in a FANTASTIC natural rose color that I’d actually wear (that never happens) called American Woman, because for whatever reason all of the colors are named after 70s/80s rock songs. —>

Anyway, it goes on beautifully, very smooth and weightless  — much less dense than my other matte lipcolors — yet perfectly opaque, instant full coverage, and a gorgeous shade.

It’s a small sample, so I had to be careful about how to test it out. I wore it one day, and it stayed on nicely. Not like the wear of  Beauty Bakerie Lip Whip or my current beloved Cover Girl Outlast, but also a much more wearable and less “intense” look to begin with. And it wore off in a very natural way that left a light pigment on the entire lip, rather than just a gap around the water line.

But as you know, all makeup must be tested at dance. So today, a hot 75 degree day in Eugene, I wore it to my dance class. Here it is before class, and after:

Unfortunately, I spaced out and wiped my lips right a the end of class, so this isn’t entirely a fair test (also the reason it’s more faded on my left side than my right), but basically, it didn’t maintain through class the way my heavy matte lipcolors do, but it did keep a really great light pigment across the whole lip that looked incredibly natural. I’m going to test it again tonight at my new Hip Hop class, which is even more of a sweat-fest.

So upshot: I really like NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment. It performed WAY better than Tatouage Couture Liquid Matte Lip Stain, which I think it probably a direct competitor that I tried before and didn’t find all that impressive.  And NARS is $10 cheaper than Tatouage!  I’m in love with the color, and I want to try it out in some more contexts. NARS makes a matching lip pencil for all Powermatte colors so that may be in the cards at some point.

But the larger point is: there are all kinds of free samples you can get from Ulta (and Sephora) if you choose your promo codes wisely. And of course if you get a membership, you collect credit to use over time for yet more free stuff. Of course this is how they hook you in. But if it’s a thing that gives you joy, well, it’s a good thing.


*My regular intro:

Welcome to #MakeupMonday, my weekly series on makeup; academic and postacademic job market and productivity posts will continue on Tuesday and Friday as usual.

Here is my weekly reminder:  I will not engage with makeup-shaming here or on any Facebook or Twitter comment threads. I support your right to not wear makeup, and anyone who dislikes makeup, disapproves of makeup, or wants to argue that no academic woman should be judged on the basis of makeup (which nobody is claiming anyway), I suggest you come back for my other posts on other topics.

For previous posts, see the following:


Job X Is Not Job Y (And Wishing Won’t Make It So)

This year I’ve encountered a handful of Negotiating clients who fall into the category of unreasonably entitled.

These negotiators are indignant about the terms of their offers, and feel they should be entitled to more and better.

In particular, these clients view the NTT job with a 4:4 load to which they, in full knowledge, applied, and decide that it doesn’t suit their needs, and that they wish to insist that it be made into a TT job with a 3:3 load.  Ie, to dictate to the department that the job it advertised is unacceptable, and should be altered to become an entirely different job, which better meets the desires of the person hired.

New hires: You are not so special that you get to make job X into job Y.

Of course nearly all jobs can be negotiated. Some a lot. Some a little.  Things like salary, startup funds, moving support, teaching releases, and so on are all possible points of negotiation. You can read about this in my many posts on negotiating (start here or go to the How to Negotiate category on the right). ———————–>

But, what CANNOT be negotiated are the fundamental terms of the job.  An NTT job cannot be made into a TT job because you wish it so.  A teaching-centric job cannot be made into an R1 job because you wish it so.  A 4:4 load cannot be made into a permanent 3:3 load because you wish it so.  Yes, you can ask for a course release in year one, and maybe another in year four.  But that’s it. You cannot, without other formal extenuating circumstances related to the position that arise over your conversation (ie, that you will also be editing the department’s academic journal, or will be directing a campus or departmental program, or will immediately take on an unexpected administrative role on campus) attempt to dictate that one teaching load is replaced permanently with another, easier teaching load, just because you’d “prefer” that.

Who wouldn’t prefer that?

Who wouldn’t prefer to get a TT job rather than an NTT job?

What department wouldn’t prefer to be hiring TT rather than something else?

Do you think they wouldn’t be doing that if they could?

This is just how it is.

And whatever you think about what makes you so special and your record so extraordinary…  you nevertheless applied for an advertised job that clearly stated, in the ad: NTT, 4:4 load.  So, it is operating in bad faith to apply for the job, interview for it, get it… and then try to dictate an entirely different job.

What will happen if you try this?  In the worst case, the job will be rescinded. In the best case, the department will patiently (or impatiently) remind you of the terms of the position, and sketch what they can and cannot move on. But even in this best case, the department will be annoyed, maybe alienated.  It’s no way to enter a new job.