I'm in my 4th year on a tenure-track position. In June, I received an outside offer for associate professor after applying at a university where a former colleague of mine had moved to. When bringing up this offer with my current chair, he told me that, if I stayed, he would make sure that I can be reviewed for early tenure and promotion at the end of the current academic year, and my case will have no issues passing. He reiterated the same thing during an email exchange after our meeting. As the uncertainty of getting tenure was what triggered me to seek the outside offer in the first place, I was happy enough and declined the other offer. (I'm sure you can see where this is going...)
Well, now the year has ended and, after inquiring about the tenure review process, I found out it was decided that I'm not going to be reviewed for tenure this year. No more information was given to me, as the chair is still on leave for a couple of weeks.
I've discussed my situation with some senior colleagues at other institutions and the sobering advice was that I shouldn't have relied on anything that a chair/dean assured me, even if it's in written in an email, as only a signed contract has any real significance. Thus, there is basically nothing I could do. Also, I was advised to better avoid rocking the boat, as I wouldn't want to be derailing my tenure-review next year...
- Anything I should/could do about the current situation? E.g., should I bring this up with the dean or even the provost? (One friend suggested this but it's unclear to me what this would achieve.)
- Did I make a strategic mistake during this process that could have avoided this outcome? Is it generally considered to be a risky move to bring up an external offer with your current supervisor?
I believe to have reasonable chances of eventually getting another position elsewhere, and I'm not too worried about burning bridges. However, it is very likely that I would still need to spend (at least) the coming academic year at my current institution.