Full Professor

I started graduate school right after I earned my B.A., in part because I wasn't ready to face "real life" yet. I moved from Utah to Arizona, not exactly sure that it was the right move for me, but absolutely sure that I needed to leave Utah and experience something new.

That first year, I immersed myself in American literature, loving everything about being a graduate student. I read and researched and studied and wrote--and I didn't quite care what would happen to me at the end of that process. But somewhere along the way, I acknowledged that ambitious part of me that wanted a career as a professor--at the same time that I came to understand how difficult it was to get that type of a career as an Americanist.

Would I have pursued graduate school if I had really known how challenging the job market was? I don't know. All I know is that I worked hard and strategized about how to get a job. And, miraculously, at the end of graduate school, I was hired as an assistant professor at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. I felt so lucky that this happened to me, that I was one of the lucky few to get employment as a tenure track professor.

Fast forward 16 years to today--I just found out that I have been promoted to full professor. Over the years, I've thought about the tenure system, job security, and the inequities of a system that focuses so much on publication over any other sort of dissemination of information. I don't like that about my career--and yet, at this particular moment, I have to pause, reflect, and enjoy the moment. I know I have worked as hard as anyone I know to get to this point in my career. Although I don't believe that I deserve this more than anyone else, I do believe that I deserve this moment, this time to feel proud of my career, and to appreciate how unlikely this seemed so many years ago.

So I rest, I accept the congratulations of colleagues, friends, and students. I consider how many people have helped me get to this point. And I'm grateful, so very, very grateful. I can't express how much I am grateful and humble and appreciative that this job worked out for me.

And then, I contemplate my next steps and the kinds of differences I can make given the position I am now in.

3 thoughts on “Full Professor

  1. Kristie

    You have been an amazing influence across our whole Valley in the teaching profession and in the lives of your students and by extension, their students. You most definitely deserve the title, security, and embrace of a university who only gains by having you on faculty.
    I certainly cannot wait to read more of your writing and to continue learning from you!

    Thank you for giving back to teachers and for letting Fresno be the place where your magic happens.
    Hearty congratulations on your great accomplishment!


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