How to Become a Professor With Tenure

Beyond a mark of respect amongst your colleges, achieving your tenure designation means you have contributed to your field of study while representing excellence in the classroom. A tenure position is a designation which colleges give to deserving professors, guaranteeing a position for life in the university. Earning a tenure position requires hard work and dedication to your field as you work to improve your classroom techniques while contributing regular studies and written papers.


    • 1

      Look for college teaching jobs advertising for a tenure-track professor. Remember, each college is limited in the number of tenured professors it can hire, and it is important for you to know whether your position could be considered for tenure before you apply. If you are offered a non-tenured position, ask about transitioning into a tenure-track position.

    • 2

      Review the responsibilities associated with your tenure track. Note the number of years required for you to teach at the university in order for you to earn a tenure designation, and consider this time period as a guideline for you to finish your other tenure responsibilities. Write down a date, one year prior to the time it will take for you to reach the required experience, as your goal to have your papers and required presentations completed.

    • 3

      Begin researching, in your area of expertise, immediately, collecting information from other people’s research, gathering your own past research and noting specific areas where you can advance your specialization. Write a series of topics, or experiments if your field is science based, to research.

    • 4

      Prepare papers, or experiments, based on these topics, and present them at regular conferences. Plan to travel to distant conferences, especially conferences focused on your specialization or on the specific focus of your research. For instance, if your focus is romantic gothic literature, attend and present papers at conferences focused on gothic issues. Submit your work for publication in appropriate, peer-reviewed, journals.

    • 5

      Concentrate on improving your classroom techniques, working to reach difficult students, improving the way you present information and reading new pedagogical techniques, which could benefit your students. Remember, your tenure board will consider your classroom success as part of your qualifications to receive your tenure designation, and a poor class record, extensive complaints from students and overwhelming student difficulties with your class can prevent you from earning tenure.

Tips & Warnings

  • A tenure track can take between five and 10 years to finish.
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