February 26, 2005

The Art of the Annual Review

My annual review is due on Monday, and it's time to acknowledge that there is an art to bragging about oneself in a way that fits with the format of our over-bureaucratized annual review form in my college, with its headings and required entries (how much time were you assigned for this type of teaching, or research?). If one focused on the headings and boxes, you'd never get anywhere with the form.

The key is to remember that this is not a sonnet, and the structure is not fixed. There is usually an option to add one's own statement, a narrative, somewhere (in my college, at the start of the form), and that narrative is where I put most of my efforts. Since this year is the tenth I've been working with essentially the same form, much of the narrative remains the same from year to year. For a few years before tenure, I used the annual review as a rehearsal—could I project my 'academic persona' effectively? And now, having developed a workable form, I spend a few hours fiddling with it, making sure my vitae is up to date, and that's it. Last year, a colleague showed me that she was putting most of her documentation on a CD-ROM, which seemed much more sensible than a carton of stuff, so I followed suit.

I'm sure everyone has their own "tricks" to present themselves, but here are some of mine:

  • A chart to show progress on different projects (for those from different disciplines in my department, where the expectations is for more frequent publications than mine), with one row per project and one column per type of activity (grant proposal, primary research, presentations, publications, and works in progress), and that year's set of activities in boldface (a wonderful suggestion of my chair, Harold Keller, when a colleague and and I were going up for tenure in 2001-02 and worried about how to discuss our productivity")—
  • Beginning my discussion of teaching by talking about the key goals of the discipline (again, necessary because of my interdisciplinary department)—
  • Trying to link my service with goals either for teaching or resesarch—
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Posted in Random comments on February 26, 2005 8:01 PM |