Do’s and don’ts for tenure trackers

| Michaela Nesvarova

The Young Academy of the University of Twente ([email protected]) organized their first meeting dedicated to tenure track today. The lunch discussion was led by Hans Hilgenkamp and Peter Apers and aimed to bring various tenure trackers together and provide them with useful advice: ‘Dare to be a leader.’

Today’s event was the first in a series of lunch discussions that will be held by [email protected] every two months from now on. It carried the theme ‘Do’s and don’ts for a successful tenure track’ and focused on providing the present scientists with tips and tricks for their careers. The future meetings will cover other tenure track relevant topics, such as selecting the right PhD candidates or dealing with work-life balance.

Don’t be afraid

For the first meeting, [email protected] asked Hans Hilgenkamp (dean TNW) and Peter Apers (former dean EEMCS) to share their opinions about a successful tenure track. ‘Some tenure trackers are expressing feelings of fear and uncertainty about their evaluation and their career-development,’ began Hilgenkamp. ‘Don’t let yourself be ruled by this fear. You were selected because we believe you’re the future leaders of the university. Don’t be afraid to make choices based on what you think is best, not based on what you think the committee wants.’

'Don’t let yourself be ruled by fear'

‘Dare to be a leader. Showing leadership is very important,’ added Apers. ‘Take responsibility and work on your weaknesses. Get a mentor, ideally someone not from your own field. It’s also important to share and stay connected.’

Come together

Staying connected was indeed one of the main reasons why [email protected] decided to start hosting meetings for tenure trackers at the UT. ‘We’ve found that, after several years as tenure trackers ourselves, we’ve learnt a lot of things the hard way. It would have been better to know some of it upfront,’ said one of the organizers Ivo Vellekoop.

‘At the Young Academy we know a lot about the tenure track, but others might feel lost,’ added [email protected] board member Wieteke Willemen. ‘We wanted to bring peers together and let them hear not only the success stories, but also examples of common problems. Let them see that things work out. Also, as Hans Hilgenkamp said – if everything works out – this group of people is the future of the UT. 'We need to work and grow together.’