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.


Pretenured Faculty, University Faculty, Faculty Promotion, Academic Tenure, Faculty Retention, Collaborative Autoethnography

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Pamela C. Wells, Ph.D., LPC, NCC, ACS is an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education at Georgia Southern University. Her expertise is in qualitative data analysis. Prior to joining the faculty at Georgia Southern University, she was a college student affairs professional and Licensed Professional Counselor. Her current research interests include mindfulness, rural mental health and wellness, and using qualitative methodologies in counselor education. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: pwells@georgiasouthern.edu.

Kristen Dickens, Ph.D., NCC, ACS is an Assistant Professor in the Counselor Education Program at Georgia Southern University. She previously served as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of New Orleans where she also earned her doctorate. In addition, she holds a master’s degree in Counseling with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy from East Tennessee State University. Her research interests include multiple roles and relationships in counselor education, multicultural issues in counseling, ethics and value conflicts, and family systems work. Dr. Dickens has experience working in a variety of mental health settings, including university counseling centers, inpatient treatment centers for eating disorders. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: kdickens@georgiasouthern.edu.

Juliann Sergi McBrayer, Ed.D. is an Assistant Professor and M.Ed. Program Coordinator in Educational Leadership at Georgia Southern University. She has served as an educational leadership assistant professor, educational program coordinator, instructional school leader, professional development and federal programs coordinator, classroom teacher leader, and classroom teacher. She holds a Doctorate and Educational Specialist from Georgia Southern University, Master’s from Ohio University, and Bachelor’s from SUNY College at Buffalo. As a scholarly practitioner, her research agenda includes educational leadership and teacher preparation programs with a focus on professional learning, specifically professional learning communities and programming to ensure effectiveness and accountability. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: jmcbrayer@georgiasouthern.edu.

Richard Cleveland is an assistant professor in the College of Education at Georgia Southern University where he coordinates the School Counseling MEd program. Prior to academia, Richard served as a professional school counselor in Washington state public schools. Richard’s primary research interests are school counseling, client spirituality, mindfulness, and client/counselor stress response. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: rcleveland@georgiasouthern.edu.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.