...that's better. A little spring cleaning was long overdue.
A few weeks ago, I got The Letter:
Dear Professor Erickson:
News has probably already reached you that we [the provost and chancellor] are prepared to recommend to the Board of Trustees your promotion to the rank of Associate Professor with indefinite tenure. With this letter, we invite you formally to indicate your acceptance of both the privileges and the reponsibilities of tenure at the University of Illinois, preparatory to the transmission of our recommendation to the President and the Board of Trustees.
Snarky grammar question: Did they formally invite me to indicate my acceptance, or did they invite me to formaly indicate my acceptance? Just to be safe, I assumed the latter and formally indicated my acceptance. Thus ends—assuming the Trustees accurately wield their rubber stamp—a long, formal, mostly secret, mildly political, and sometimes very silly bureaucratic process. As my senior colleages warned me many times, the final approval is surprisingly anti-climactic.
I'm once again reminded of F. M. Cornford's brilliant screed Microcosmographia Academica: Being a Guide for the Young Academic Politician:
You think (do you not?) that you have only to state a reasonable case, and people must listen to reason and act upon it at once. It is just this conviction that makes you so unpleasant. There is little hope of dissuading you; but has it occurred to you that nothing is ever done until every one is convinced that it ought to be done, and has been convinced for so long that it is now time to do something else? And are you not aware that conviction has never yet been produced by an appeal to reason, which only makes people uncomfortable?