“If I Don't Laugh, I'm Going to Cry”: Meaning Making in the Promotion, Tenure, and Retention Process: An Auto-Ethnography

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2019

Publication Title

Qualitative Report


Utilizing Chang, Ngunjiri, and Hernandez’s (2013) collaborative autoethnographic research approach, we investigated our experiences as pre-tenured junior faculty progressing through the tenure and promotion process within a college of education at one public university in the southeastern United States. The review of the data (transcripts and photographs) revealed challenges and stressors common to junior faculty. Data analysis yielded four emergent themes centered around demonstrations of self-care and resiliency including community, balance, coping strategies, and process. Through data analysis, these major themes and their sub-themes were explored in depth. Recommendations and implications for personnel navigating the academic tenure process (i.e., new faculty, tenured faculty, and administrators) are presented.