How many articles/books do I need for tenure?

I was just about to delete this from a presentation I’m giving at a conference, but thought it was worth sharing (hard won knowledge, I should add): If you are lucky enough to land a tenure-stream job this year, do yourself a favor. Don’t canvass faculty about tenure criteria that are ipso facto vague because they’ll say things like, “Well, it depends on the quality” or “Sometimes one frequently cited essay can count for x additional essays” or “we hate to put a number on it.”

Instead, ask your department chair if they will share the CVs of the last four faculty members who were tenured in the department (providing they were tenured within the last 5-7 years). What did they have in terms of publications when they went up for tenure? Do you get the sense that these cases considered “slam dunk” or were they contested? Ask the faculty members themselves about their experiences. This will give you a better idea of what the department considers worthy of tenure than almost anything else.

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