For Mid-Career Faculty

At Williams, we identify mid-career faculty as those who have achieved tenure and who are within seven years of having been at that rank.

There is a now well-known double bind when it comes to any discussion of mid-career faculty. On one hand, mid-career faculty are indispensable to the institution.  They form a bridge between faculty generations, fill essential instructional, administrative, and citizenship roles, are instrumental to the continuity and regeneration of educational life at their respective institutions, and make up the largest numbers (nearly 60%) of long-term faculty in the American professoriate. On the other hand, many mid-career faculty express dissatisfaction with their job. They sometimes feel as if they are undervalued in terms of professional recognition, stagnant in their scholarship, and taken for granted by their institutions. They undertake additional service and administrative responsibilities, and worry about limited potential for growth in their scholarship and lack of preparation for administrative roles. Worse, faculty are afraid of becoming stuck in their careers with little to no support for getting out of what is popularly known as the “mid-career hump.”

The Office of the Dean of the Faculty has been formalizing additional support for mid-career faculty into a suite of programming called Three+. The aims of Three+ are simple: to help faculty balance shifting personal and professional demands, especially as they relate to competing claims for time and increased service expectations, feelings of ambivalence and uncertainty about the meaning of academic life post-tenure, and identifying and cultivating healthy mentoring relationships. Included in this programming are Chairs Roundtables, occasional “Middler Mixers,” the “How the College Works” workshop, and other designated programming and opportunities as determined by the Dean of the Faculty.

Below are resources to aid you as you navigate your life as a mid-career faculty at Williams and beyond. This list is not at all meant to be exhaustive. Be sure to return for site updates!

  • General resources on achieving professional balance
    • Manigault-Bryant, L.S. et al, “Getting Over the Hump: Continued Professional Development for Mid-Career Faculty,” In Success After Tenure: Supporting Mid-Career Faculty, edited by Baker et al., (2018), 202-220.
    • Neumann, A. et al, “Agents of learning: Strategies for assuming agency, for learning, in tenured faculty careers.” In The balancing act: Gendered perspectives in faculty roles and work lives, 91–120. (Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing), 2006.
    • Matthew, P.A., Ed. Written/unwritten: Diversity and the hidden truths of tenure. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press), 2016.
    • Baker-Fletcher, K., et al. “Taking Stock at mid-career: Challenges and opportunities for faculty.” Teaching Theology and Religion, 8 (1), January 2005, 3–10.
    • Mills, N, “Now that I’m tenured, where do I go from here? The vitality of mid-career faculty.” Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly, 20 (4), 2000 181–183.
  • General resources on navigating additional service demands, including especially chairing a department and/or program.
    • Chu, Don, The Department Chair’s Primer (copies available in the Dean of the Faculty’s Office). This is a short introduction to some of the key elements involved in chairing a unit, from working with different constituencies (students, colleagues, staff, administrators) to managing logistics and budgets, to thinking about developing a longer range vision for the unit within the institution.
    • Crookston, R. Kent, Working with Problem Faculty: Managing personnel can be one of the most challenging aspects of being chair. This book provides examples of realistically complex situations that can arise and describes approaches to handling them.
    • 5 Tips on Surviving Your First Year as Department Head