Administration 101: Why You Shouldn’t Be a Finalist

The Chronicle of Higher Education - When you are in a temporary academic job, no one begrudges your looking for a better position. However, the moment you are on the tenure track — and certainly if you are an administrator — the political risks of "job hunting while on the job" become more treacherous.

If your intellect, your experience, or your sixth sense is telling you to steer clear, you should listen.

Simply being seen as an administrator who is "exploring other options" can torpedo your career instead of advancing it to the new level. Likewise, the turnover and failure rates of deans, provosts, and presidents are so high that ending up at the wrong place in the wrong job can be a career-ending mistake. Don't second-guess yourself if you decide not to go through with a campus visit.

Still, there are plenty of good reasons why you should go through with it. In next month's column I will make the case for becoming a campus finalist.

David D. Perlmutter is a professor in and dean of the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University. He writes the "Career Confidential" advice column for The Chronicle. His book, Promotion and Tenure Confidential, was published by Harvard University Press in 2010.

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