Prof-Like Substance has compiled a handy list of what advisors can and cannot expect of their "trainees" (graduate students, postdocs). Among the items under the CAN'T EXPECT heading is this:
3) Trainees to care about your promotion and tenure.
Well, I can agree with that to some extent. We certainly can't (and shouldn't) expect our students and others to care as much as we do. And, although to some extent the promotion and tenure of the professor does depend on how well their research group functions, ultimately the responsibility of managing a functioning, productive research group is the tenure-track professor's.
It is to the benefit of advisees if their advisor gets tenure for a number of reasons, including:
- A tenured advisor has a greater chance of staying around for the completion of graduate degrees and postdoctoral contracts.
- A tenured advisor's letter of reference for advisees might be more respected than a similar letter from a person who was denied tenure.
Those are practical reasons, but the most important one for me relates to my view of what a research group is: A research group is a community, and the various members of that community should help and respect each other. That includes everyone, from the PI to the new undergrad intern. Some have more responsibility than others, but the actions of each individual to some extent affect others.
I am not arguing against the essence of PLS's main point. Trainees can't really be expected to care about our promotion and tenure. I guess I hope that they care, in the sense of caring for the research team in general or even caring about how it affects their own careers in the near- or long-term.
It is time for a poll! Do you care?
Actually, the question is:
Do/did you care whether your advisor gets/got tenure and/or is/was promoted?
That's a lot of / options, but I am trying to be inclusive here. You can answer this question based on your current experience as the trainee of a tenure-track advisor or you can reminisce about how you felt in the past as the trainee of a tenure-track advisor. You can even answer if your advisor had tenure but an important committee member was tenure-track. Or, just so no one feels left out, not even postdocs, you can answer based on how you think you would feel if you were in the situation of having an advisor or mentor who was tenure-track, or if you weren't actually a cat.
And, if you are so moved, you can explain your vote in the comments.
3 days ago