Women’s Experiences of the Tenure Process: A Case Study
Debra Jennings Cody

Purpose: This study explored women’s experiences during the tenure process, the challenges they encountered, and ways they overcame those challenges. Design: Using a qualitative case study approach, women who had been tenured within the last five years were interviewed. Methods: Two semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant to identify patterns of meaning, understandings, and definitions of the tenure experience. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), which recommends a sample between three and six participants, was used to identify meaningful differences and similarities between participants. Findings: Four themes emerged from the study: just stressed out, someone could do you in, the criteria were not clear, and find a mentor and start early. Conclusions: Commonalities among these participants included concern about lack of information regarding the tenure process; the fact that the process required a lot of hard work beyond that anticipated; women had to do more work than men; the subtle nuanced ways in which gender shapes the academy; and the need for effective guidance and mentoring. Conclusion: The findings of this study can guide the professional socialization of women seeking tenure and help to ensure a more positive experience of the tenure process.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v3n1a1