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Life on the Tenure Track: Lessons from the First Year
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Life on the Tenure Track: Lessons from the First Year

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  97 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
In this fast-paced and lively account, Jim Lang asks—and mostly answers—the questions that confront every new faculty member as well as those who dream of becoming new faculty members: Will my students like me? Will my teaching schedule allow me time to do research and write? Do I really want to spend the rest of my life in this profession? Is anyone awake in the backrow?

Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 6th 2005 by Johns Hopkins University Press (first published April 4th 2005)
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Sarah Lillo
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a nice counter-balance to James' Tenure Hacks text that I also reviewed (I read the two books back to back... can you tell I'm trying to be mentally prepared for my first year in a tenure track role?). Lang chronicles his first year of tenure-track in an English department within a teaching-oriented university context. I found his narrative style very readable and his stories, relatable. If you're expecting a book of tips, this isn't really the right book. Instead Lang details his own e ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
An honest and thoughtfully written reflection of Lang's first year on the tenure track. Having just finished my second year at a private liberal arts college about the same size as Lang's, I found his observations about the challenges and anxieties facing new faculty members incredibly accurate and helpful in measuring my own experiences. Highly recommended.
Jennifer Millspaugh Gray
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edd-reading
This book was pretty funny to me. His descriptions of teaching *gasp* three classes almost made my eyes permanently roll back in my head. But his depictions of student behavior were spot on, and it was nice to hear someone else talk about the drudgery of student discussions. All in all, I'd recommend it to any first year instructors or anyone considering entering the college teaching field.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended by my major professor. Good information.
MB Shakespeare
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
About an English professor and his first year of tenure. Interesting with great resources.
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lang’s book is a welcome guide/companion for any early career (especially first-year) professor, regardless of discipline (I am fortunate to share the author’s field, English), for a number of reasons.

Lang writes honestly about the fears and anxieties—as well as the accomplishments and rewards—of being a first-year college professor. With refreshing candor, he discusses the challenges he faced with his students (both in an out of the classroom), navigating his way within the departmental hierarc
Dec 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teaching, academics
This memoir of a first year of teaching on the tenure track at a liberal arts college was loaned to me by a colleague, and it was a quick, absorbing read. Encountering it in the winter break of my own first year on the tenure track was good timing. It provides a sense of perspective in what is a harrowing, isolating part of an academic's career. It's reassuring to hear that everyone screws up in big and little ways in their first year, that everyone fears that they can't handle it, and that, non ...more
Jan 13, 2009 rated it liked it
A brief recounting of the author's first year as a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Assumption College in Worcester. Much of what Lang was surprised by (that he's not yet a great teacher; that there are political divisions within his department) might be of interest to someone who hasn't taught much. And there are a few good teaching tips to be gleaned from his account (if people are talking in class, don't stop what you're doing; just walk over and stand next to them while you continue to te ...more
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Even though the author is a professor of English, I think plenty of it is applicable to those of us in different fields. While those lecturing a science class may not think that the discussion-focused approach to teaching would work, it could in smaller classes. I especially agree that "lecturing" is always less-stressful than trying to get student involvement! While the "research" and "publication" cycles of a scientist are different than someone in the humanities, a book written by them would ...more
Apr 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Lang's book is a humorous account of his first year on the tenure track at a small liberal arts college. Lang's best moments are his accounts of faculty politics and his struggle with Crohn's. However, the rest of the book struck me as somewhat arrogant. At one point, he calls the members of the English Club "dorks"--and not in a loving way. The reason for this kind of disparagement was beyond me, especially from someone who claims to find teaching important.
Tristan Bridges
Aug 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
We were given this book for attending a training on the classroom management system at my university. It's a cute story of all the trials and tribulations of the first year of employment on the tenure track. I didn't take much valuable from it, but it's a cute read if you're in the middle of it (or on the other side). :)
Jan 02, 2016 rated it liked it
I had to read this for a class, but I really enjoyed it. It was a quick read, and is probably something I will read again at some point. I really liked the way he wrote it, relying on memory, emails, notes, etc. It was very honest, and quite comprehensive. I could see myself giving my copy to friends and family who want to understand what academia is like.
Aug 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I had seen this book before and yes I judged the book by its cover---it looked annoying. But it came up again as one of the only free eBooks offered by my local library that looked remotely interesting so I gave it a try.

I got a few nuggets from it, but it wasn't the most useful read. More entertaining than informative.
Oct 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Some decent insight into life as a faculty member but it didn't really open up the thoughts of going through the first year as much as being an account of what happened. Less why and more what and how...
Feb 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book was excellent therapy for being a first-year tenure track Assistant professor. There were so many times I could completely relate to what everything I was reading. It made me laugh & it made me think.
Amber Adams
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was hard to put down. As a new faculty member, I could relate to some of his experiences and felt reassured that I am not alone.
Michael Tallman
Sep 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Fun little read.
Andre Harmse
Nov 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is an entertaining and insightful book about what the first year is like. It can be humorous or cathartic, or both.
Jul 30, 2007 rated it liked it
this was a fun read. lang addresses some of the issues i think we assume we'll face with new jobs and some issues that may not even occur to us with humor and candor.
Christine B.
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
Was recommended to me. Kind of interesting? But it was often hard to identify with the author and his decisions.
rated it it was amazing
Aug 26, 2013
Brandi David
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Feb 25, 2012
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Dec 11, 2016
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Jan 10, 2012
Kelsey Forkner
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Apr 22, 2017
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great resource for graduate students in the humanities.
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Mar 15, 2017
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Jun 18, 2015
Don Zhang
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Apr 10, 2016
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Sep 23, 2012
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