(resignation letter templates available in Office 2007)
As of midnight, I am no longer a tenured member of the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison or a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy at Harvard University.
Regarding Madison, I originally included the sentence "I hope to God I know what I'm doing" in my letter of resignation, but then deleted it. And you don't believe me when I say I've grown up a lot these last two years. Today I sent an e-mail to my chair that I realize now was my last bit of official faculty correspondence. The e-mail included my telling her that she ought to start a blog (check out here and here for examples of why I think this).
Regarding the RWJ fellowship, it didn't turn out like I thought it was, although that in itself was a useful lesson about certain tendencies of mine to be unrealistic. I am certainly glad to have done it. I am also glad to be going back to an academic department, and I am glad to be returning to the Midwest.
My original e-mail telling Northwestern's chair I was accepting their offer concluded, dorkily perhaps, with the paragraph:
I'm sitting here now in my office at Harvard remembering how I once took a class in which an assignment was to write a short story that started with the sentence "This is going to be fun." Few e-mails I will send in my life mark a beginning as clearly as this one, and so I'll close it with: This is going to be fun.I hope to God I am right about this. I am optimistic that I am.
Update: I finished a draft of the preferences paper that has been crowded out other activities for too long now, so it's turned out to be quite a good start to the rest of my life.