We’ve gone over this here before, friends–in “DePaul tenure process takes a turn for the . . . ” last May, and in “Women in Catholic higher ed: do we exist yet?” last January, it sure looked like DePaul University was in the running to beat even Baylor University’s record of discrimination in advancement! (I know–daringly ambitious, isn’t it?) We read this morning that DePaul University is back in the news at Inside Higher Ed, which reports that last year, race was clearly a factor in the outcomes of tenure cases there:
In the 2009-10 academic year, all those who were denied tenure were minority faculty members, and all white candidates won tenure. Of 43 applicants, 10 self-identified faculty members of color went up for tenure, but the University Board on Faculty Tenure and Promotion – the final committee to review candidates and, DePaul’s president said, the one with the most weight – voted to deny six of them (despite previous reports of more applicants and more approvals). The president ultimately signed off on an appeals board’s recommendation to reverse one candidate’s denial, meaning that in the end, 100 percent of white candidates got tenure, compared to half of minority candidates.
Of course, sex discrimination appears to have been operative in many of these cases too–the reporting over at IHEis a little difficult to follow, but it’s clear in the case of Philosophy Professor Namita Goswami that sex bias was a part of the package. (How else to explain comments and opinions like these?)
One person said her best article was one written with her husband. Her colleagues cast her as a women’s studies scholar, saying she was not a good fit for the department; that her focus on postcolonial philosophy was too far outside the realm of traditional philosophy(though she was hired to teach postcolonial philosophy).
Philosophy departments at Catholic Universities are notoriously conservative. But–if you don’t want a feminist postcolonialist on the faculty, don’t hire one, Father Dingus! I should know–it happened to me, too. Once upon a time I was hired to be the American women’s historian at a Catholic university, and was criticized by my (all secular) colleagues for teaching feminist and anti-racist views of American history and engaging in feminist service on campus. (My religious colleagues were very supportive of me, I should note.) Fortunately, the Illinois AAUP is on the case and issued a report IHE describes as “highly critical of the department’s tenure committee. ‘The department was exhibiting a severe case of buyer’s remorse. . . . What they were doing was – astonishingly – punishing her for doing her job.’”
A few days ago, Tenured Radical wrote a fascinating post about her recent decision to commit bibliocideon a project she’d been working on for the last decade, in large part because of the bullying she experienced from colleagues who disputed its quality and significance. Even though she recognized the bullying for what it was, and even though she protested and eventually won promotion to Professor and a nice raise, the experience still poisoned her relationship to that book. Now, we might well ask, what will be the toll of Professor Goswami’s experiences? Will she commit bibliocide, too? Scholarship suffers when scholars are treated badly by their colleagues. How many important projects have been strangled in their cribs because of the malice of others?
Don’t miss the fourth comment on the IHEarticle that claims to be by a DePaul faculty member and former department Chair. Of course, take it for what it’s worth (not much!), seeing as it’s the non-peer reviewed world wide timewasting interwebs, and anyone at all could have written and posted it. But, if it’s legit, it adds context to understanding the wider culture of faculty advancement at DePaul.
Speaking of timewasting–well, it’s time to go break the ice in the troughs and spread some fresh hay in the barn, friends. For the rest of the afternoon, it’s four legs good, two legs bad for me!
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