A Delicate Balance
Discussions about tenure among postsecondary education dance faculty elicit a spectrum of perspectives and emotions ranging from excitement to confusion to fear. Faculty carefully weigh the potential for academic freedom and job security against the sometimes unclear and potentially unreasonable expectations regarding how to achieve tenure. These issues are complicated by how the mission of each institution—identified as either research driven, teaching focused, or community minded—affects the requirements for tenure and, thus, the make-up of professors’ dossiers. Analysis of published scholarship and 41 survey responses of faculty working in higher education dance programs across the US reveals how some tenure-track dance faculty experience working to achieve tenure. I argue that postsecondary tenure-track dance faculty create innovative strategies to achieve tenure, meet their career goals, and aim for balance in their work and personal lives. By highlighting the participants’ experiences, I shed light on some of the issues tenure-track dance faculty face. Further, this study’s emerging ideas may bring dance faculty more clarity and direction as they work toward or mentor those on their way to academic tenure.