I mentioned a few days ago that the senior departmental faculty were going to vote on my tenure case yesterday. Well, apparently they reminded themselves that they procedurally should NOT hold an official vote until they get a chance to read my outside-reviewer letters.
You see, as part of the tenure process, junior faculty and their departments come up with lists of distinguished faculty from across the world in (hopefully and usually) in the same area of research. These faculty agree to read and review the research publications of the tenure-track faculty member. They then write a letter critiquing the work and, basically, saying whether or not they think that the nominee should be tenured. In IU's case, in fact, the letter-writer is specifically asked something like 'if this person was going up for tenure at your institution, would he receive it?'
So, anyway, my chair, Walter Gantz and I have come up with a list of 12 distinguished faculty from across the country. This list has been approved by the College's Dean's Office. And now, Walter will send them a letter soliciting their help in my tenure case. If they agree, we will ship off photocopies of my research for them to read and critique. If they don't agree (because their too busy, most likely) then...well, let's hope they all agree!
The bottom line is, the senior faculty decided that it would be best to not hold a formal vote until these letters come in at the end of the summer.
It's a mental thing to not use this "more waiting" as a reason to get down or discouraged. There is nothing I should be doing accept continuing to do my research and teach my classes to the best of my ability.
Still, the waiting is hard to do.