A tenure party is cause for celebration. Professors have spent years researching, publishing and struggling to gain acceptance by the academic community. Obtaining tenure is the ultimate proof that they have achieved their goal. Gifts are welcome at tenure parties, as they acknowledge the hard work that achieving tenure takes.
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A Popular Novel
When professors are working toward gaining tenure, they spend an enormous amount of time doing research and publishing papers. For most people, this means that reading for pleasure is a distant memory. Giving the newly tenured professor a popular novel acknowledges this, and expresses the hope that life will be a bit more settled with the recent change in stature. For hilarity, gift him a graphic novel or comic book.
Ball and Chain
For fun, make a ball and chain, with the ball decorated with the university mascot or department name. After a professor obtains tenure, it is unlikely that she will be teaching at another university, unless it is as a visiting professor. The Chronicle of Higher Education suggests that walking away from a tenured position can be very difficult to do, especially if a spouse has tenure at that same university. A ball and chain playfully suggests that the professor is forever tied to the university that granted her tenure. Only give this gift to individuals who you are certain have a good sense of humor.
Pocket protectors are pretty much a thing of the past, but for intellectuals on the move, pocket projectors are the next big thing. As the name suggests, they are easy to transport and can be pulled out in an instant to share videos or presentations. A pocket projector will provide your tenured professor with instant technological credibility.
Tickets to a memorable event can be a nice way to ensure that even more good memories will be linked with achieving tenure. Give the tenured professor tickets to a comedy show, a concert or dance performance. Give enough tickets for him to take his family or a couple of good friends.
Give a lighthearted T-shirt to commemorate the event. A fun T-shirt is the one that asks "Got Tenure?" in the style of the "Got Milk?" campaign. You can find a link to one such shirt in the resource section.
Purchase DVDs of The Nutty Professor, Wonder Boys, The Absent-Minded Professor and any other movies featuring professors that you think the recipient might enjoy. Bundle them all together and place in a box with popcorn and movie candy.