Start the Clock

The six-year-long job interview begins now.

Reflecting on the beginning of a lengthy process known simply as ‘tenure.’

Friday, August 18, 2023

Generated with Adobe Firefly. Prompt: “Tenure”

My faculty career began in fall of 2014 when I was finishing my Ph.D. and was hired to adjunct a class on human-computer interaction at the University of Arizona. The next semester–spring of 2015–I was hired on as full-time teaching faculty in the Educational Technology program. Titles over the next eight years progressed in sometimes strange ways, from “Senior Lecturer” to “Assistant Professor (Career Track)” to “Assistant Professor of Practice” to “Associate Professor of Practice” and now to “Assistant Professor (Tenure Track).” (It sounds like a demotion “back” to Assistant but it’s not. It’s an artifact of institutional organizational changes over the years.)

During the time I spent researching others’ experiences and tenure processes, I ran across some who blogged their time on the tenure track. It occurred to me that I might benefit from doing the same for reasons including intentionality, reflection, and accountability. So, here we are.

The Timeline

As I said, my tenure timeline began just a few days ago. The timeline here at UArizona is pretty standard, as far as I can tell: six years on the clock with a mid-point three-year review. We also get one or two sabbaticals, depending on how things are organized.

Tenure timeline

What will end up in those empty boxes? That remains to be seen. The best laid plans and all that. Still, having some direction and goals is better than floundering, so let’s set some for year one!

Year One Goals

Taking a formatting note from Toddler on the Tenure Track, I’ll break this down the same way. I think her goals are reasonable and attainable. Mine being similar is no mistake.


In the service of transparency, the goals I’m listing below are aspirational. Having been almost entirely teaching-focused with the occasional conference talk over the past 8 years, I’m at the relative disadvantage of being somewhat distanced from the post-PhD research momentum. I luckily have a tremendous support system and am surrounded by colleagues who have also just started down this path.

This is also a time for me to–if you’ll pardon the expression–“find myself” in terms of my scholarly niche. I’m thrilled to have found the communities of writers focusing on fields like postphenomenology and posthuman inquiry, as they’ve helped me clarify my own thoughts, revealing and naming interests that I’d had bubbling just below the surface but was just unable to grasp. (Not to mention my recent pivot into the cyber domain, which is practically overflowing with need and opportunity.)

  • Journal articles: submit 3 first-author or solo. (Currently 2 in review, 2 in draft.)
  • Conference proceedings: submit 1-2. (1 in review)
  • Conference talks: 2-3 (I find these help me clarify my thoughts and force me to answer the “So what?” question; 2 in review).
  • Grants: submit 1-2 depending on number of active/funded grants. (2 in review)
  • Review: be a reviewer on 1-2 articles (and don’t be Reviewer 2)
  • Co-author 2-3 papers with students as first-authors. (This would be done through the MA{VR}X Lab.)

I also hope to spend more time producing public scholarship. Revitalizing this blog, for example.


I have a fairly good idea of what my teaching load will look like this year but there’s always a certain degree of chaos as people come and go and classes potentially over-fill. (This is precisely what happened this fall with APCV 302 that I teach: the class filled but enough students need the class that I doubled it, placing me in a position of having my fall teaching load covered by just one course. I then accepted a request to pick up CYBV 529, our first offering of the graduate Cyber Ethics course, so I’m a course over my contract for fall. That means my spring will shrink by one course… but which one? Stay tuned to find out!)

  • Fall
    • APCV 302: “The R Class” (x2) (fully online)
    • CYBV 529: Cyber Ethics (Graduate) (Fully online)
  • Spring
    • HNRS 195H: Posthumanism (Fully online)
    • APCV 302: “The R Class” (Fully online)
    • CYBV 329: Cyber Ethics (Undergraduate) (Fully online)
  • Summer
    • Nothing unless it’s in dire need, as I will be participating in an intensive grant academy to support funding-seeking.

The CYBV 529 course includes the prep, as, again, it’s the first time it’s being offered. I’m really looking forward to it, though.

Other Teaching-related goals:

  • Participate in 1 professional development opportunity focused on curriculum and instruction.
  • Successfully advise my 2 graduate advisees.
  • Participate in the development of a doctoral program.


Most of my energy should be going toward my scholarship during the tenure process but service certainly can’t be overlooked. We consider a wide range of engagement under “service,” thankfully.

  • Sit on 1 search committee
  • Continue my position on the university’s Graduate Council.
  • Provide support for college-led community events.
  • Assist in the Student Showcase in spring.


I fully recognize that I need some work-life balance goals and I plan on formalizing those. Not sure where to start, though, as it feels a bit like guesswork until I see how I settle into this new work routine. The plan, at least for this series of reflections and posts, is to write an update every 2 weeks. Every week seems like overkill and once a month feels too infrequent. So, buckle up if you want to ride with me!

These posts can be followed specifically with this feed.

Bodes Well

I wanted to begin this on the day my tenure-eligible contract technically began, which was 2023 August 14, so being nearly a week late on something before the semester even begins is just 👨‍🍳💋.



BibTeX citation:
  author = {Straight, Ryan},
  title = {Start the {Clock}},
  date = {2023-08-18},
  url = {},
  langid = {en}
For attribution, please cite this work as:
Straight, R. (2023, August 18). Start the Clock.