09 April 2010

Here's the process for tenure:

Next fall, I go up for tenure at the U. It seems early to be doing this, but every school has its own way of doing things. The process is extremely complex, and I think I understand most nooks and crannies. Here's how it works (or at least: here's how I THINK it works):

1. NOW: Create a series of documents that summarize all of your academic and creative work at the U and in you research area since you joined the U. This brick of content should include: photographs, audio, video, class materials, published articles, books, etc. My packet will include: two color photograph/press booklets, four scores, four DVDs, one booklet of classroom materials. Optional (but strongly encouraged): a multi-page document outlining why YOU think you deserve tenure. A bit of interesting minutia: the document must lay down flat: no three-ring binders allowed.

2. SOON: Copy that entire brick-of-content six times.

3. MAY: Send the brick-of-content out to readers around the world. 'Readers' means 'tenured faculty at research universities who don't have a personal relationship with you.' Fortunately, I don't have major inroads in academia, so there are plenty of people to choose from. Unfortunately, there are approximately 6 sound designers who fit that bill, and I know 4 of them.

4. SUMMER: Those readers will read through my file and write letters that (hopefully) support my promotion to tenure.

5. SEPTEMBER: Revise my brick-of-content to include the work I did over the summer.

6. OCTOBER: Deliver the brick-of-content to the Drama faculty for their review and (hopefully) support. The faculty will generate a letter stating their view. After that, my department chair writes a letter. After that, the Dean writes a letter. After that, the whole brick-of-content (now accompanied by letters from readers, my colleagues, my chair, and my dean) goes into the bureaucratic mess of the greater U. I'm not really sure what happens there. There might be the reading of chicken bones or tea leaves. Eventually, a final decision will be made.

7. MARCH(ish): I get a response from the U as to whether I've been awarded tenure. If I get tenure, then I get a small bump in salary, a promotion from Assistant Prof. to Associate Prof., and some financial stability (as much as one can have in California). If I don't get tenure, then I finish the school year and am out of a job on 1 August 2011. There's no middle ground. Yikes!

So, this is the kind of thing that I've been working on for a few months now. I think I have a good shot at it, but there's no real way to tell...

05 April 2010

new banner!

So, I changed the banner from yet another beautiful midwest landscape to a flowering branch from The Getty Villa.

Today, after a month of relative stagnation, I'm back on the weight loss wagon. I've got 12 pounds to get to the ubergoal, at which point we celebrate and drop a dime on some new clothes! In the meantime, I'm punching holes in old belts (tonight I punched hole #3) and feeling alternately like a kid in his daddy's clothes or a clown (depending on how S chooses to tease me).

With USITT behind us, we're now thick into the last quarter of classes at UCI. Both of the classes I'm teaching this quarter are ones that I've taught before, so the prep for them is much much less. These days, I'm trying to get some paperwork out to the printer in time for my early May deadline. Yikes!

04 April 2010

An amazing USITT

The annual United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT) conference was in Kansas City over the past five days or so. This was my third conference, and I had a terrific time. I flew in on Tuesday night, getting to the hotel shortly before midnight. On Wednesday morning, I had breakfast with Chris and Dianne, my in-laws. They took me to a great locavore restaurant, and we had a nice visit.

Then, the debauchery began.

USITT subdivides itself into smaller topical commissions. There is a lighting commission, a safety commission, a rigging commission, and naturally, a safety commission. Each commission programs a series of meeting sessions (panel discussions, roundtables, product demos, etc.), and conference attendees are free to go to any session at any time. There's also a large showroom floor, where companies and schools set up displays and talk to potential customers and students. Naturally, I spend most of my time with the sound session.

Days were spent in sessions. John Leonard, a sound designer from the UK, talked to us about his career. Students presented portfolios. Drew Dalzell out of LA chaired a whole day on live v. recorded sound effects. Brad Berridge from MA organized a session on sound for dance. Nights were spent eating well and drinking well. We spent a good bit of time in The Drum Room, a historic bar in the Hilton President. We also closed down a bar called Quaff a couple of nights in a row.

Brad and his pal Jeff (who was a classmate of mine in undergrad) maintained a blog for LiveDesign Magazine. There's video, photos, and not too much text. One of the highlights for Brad and I was the sound playback party, where sound designers can make a short presentation of a recent project, as a way to cross pollenate and show off a little bit. Brad and I had been playing with our iphones earlier in the session, and we decided to do a little impromptu iphone symphony. You can check it out here:

All in all, a tremendous trip! Next year: Charlotte! See you then!