Search Results for "baylor"

25th 2008
Schadenfreudelicious! Baylor Prez canned Thursday

Posted under Gender & happy endings & jobs

Via Inside Higher Ed, we learn this fine summer morning that Baylor President John Lilley, who merrily tried to fire so many junior faculty this year (and disproportionately women faculty, natch!), was himself $hitcanned yesterday.  It so rarely happens that we get to see an administrator so destructive of faculty hopes and dreams get his comeuppance–so let’s savor the moment.  (See these old posts on Baylor, for more background.)

IHE reports that “the regents had offered Lilley the opportunity to serve out his five-year contract as the board began a search for a new president. He rejected that offer.”  Well, good on all of them for not prolonging the misery.  But, check this out:  “Lilley, 69, said he was retired ‘as of this morning’ and returning to his home in Reno, Nev. Prior to coming to Baylor, Lilley had spent four years as president of the University of Nevada at Reno.”  Hmmm…remember all of those lawsuits by current and former staff and faculty at at UNR I told you about a few weeks ago?  Well, let’s hope he stays good and retired as of now. 

Time’s up, cowboy.  You fell off the bull.  No points for you.  (But welcome new readers from Inside Higher Ed!)


4th 2008
Baylor U. outrage update: backlashalicious!

Posted under Gender & jobs & unhappy endings & women's history

I can has  tenure now?A few weeks ago, in one of my posts on the abuses and bullying that are endemic to the tenure system (see here, here, here, and here, for example), I wrote about the spike in tenure denials this year at Baylor University.  At the time I wrote, based on the information provided here, “and guess what, boys and girls?  The 40% rejection rate this year worked disproportionately to disadvantage female tenure candidates–six of the nine women up for tenure were denied.  Surprise!” 

Yesterday, Historiann correspondent Andrea left a comment on that post that I want to highlight here, because she reports that the situation is worse than even those pathetic numbers suggest.  Andrea is someone who is close to the situation of women faculty at Baylor and she has given me permission to post again on this topic, but Historiann is sworn to protect her true identity.  (Think of me as Commissioner Gordon to her Millionaire Bruce Wayne.)  She writes,

Being someone close to the situation at Baylor, please let me provide some more accurate information for you. There were 12 of 30 faculty (40%) denied for tenure at Baylor in 2008. SEVEN of eleven women were denied for tenure (64% of women) and 5 of 19 men (26%) were denied for tenure. Is this a coincidence? No, I think not. Is there evidence of discrimination? Yes, at every level from departments through administration. Does it affect just those denied for tenure this year? No, in my opinion, Baylor has perpetuated a culture of discrimination for many years.

Small sample size or not, those numbers are significant and speak to a larger institutional problem.

Andrea’s testimony calls to mind Nancy Hewitt’s dire forecast that I published back in January–the part in her paper where she talks about her sense that the climate for women faculty is getting more hostile, based on her observations about the experiences of some of her former graduate students.  In summarizing her comments, I wrote:

Still, sex alone appears to correlate with being denied tenure, especially in the Dean’s or Provost’s office.  Hewitt related some recent tenure cases involving some of her former students.  The details varied, but all three women were denied tenure by administration higher-ups even after winning departmental support (and in two out of three cases, it was a unanimous vote by their departments.)  I’ve heard dispatches from the front that sound quite similar, and Squadratomagico has blogged about the same disturbing trend in her department’s recent tenure cases.  Hewitt followed up in further comments that “it seems clear that there is a growing backlash–especially at the dean’s and provost’s level–against women faculty and women’s history [or] women’s studies at many institutions.”   

It looks like Hewitt’s comments were eerily prescient.  Chilling climate, much?  I like Andrea’s point that the tenure decisions at Baylor this year don’t just affect the 64% of women and 26% of men who were denied tenure, they reverberate across campus and send a powerful message that women’s work and achievements won’t be fairly evaluated and rewarded.  At least this year’s tenure decisions have cleared some things up about the tenure process at Baylor:  rather than the nameless, unreasoning doubt that shrouds the tenure process, women faculty members at Baylor now know that there’s a 64% chance of getting the shaft.


5th 2012
Bill Keller visits sweet, quiet Oxford

Posted under American history & class & Gender & GLBTQ & race & students

. . . and reports on what he calls the Republican Id.

I never experienced Oxford as Republican as Keller sees it.  In fact, it seemed like a little blue oasis in a sea of Butler County red, but maybe that was just me and my neighbors in the Mile Square.  And FWIW, I never met any Miami faculty like Rich Hart (what an ironic name for a glibertarian free marketeer!)  But maybe it has changed in the 11 years since I lived there.

(True confession:  Fratguy and I changed our party registration to Republican on the day of the Republican primary in 2000 so that we could vote for John McCain and therefore–we hoped–stop George W. Bush!  Sorry, America–we failed.  Also, another true fact:  Oxford is the only place I ever voted that used punchcard ballots, as in the ballots with the potential for “hanging chads.”)

This was the most interesting part of the article:  Continue Reading »


4th 2011
DePaul University: safe for white male scholars only?

Posted under American history & bad language & Gender & Intersectionality & jobs & race & unhappy endings & wankers & women's history

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?) Continue Reading »


16th 2008
Deep in the Heart of Asshats

Posted under jobs & students & wankers


What are those unscrupulous fellas down at Baylor University up to this year?  (If you recall, Historiann had quite a few things to say about the Tenure Massacre there last year, the gendered dimentions thereof, and the resulting $hitcanning of former Baylor president John Lilley, despite his having tried to walk some of his bad decisions back.)  Well, they’re at it again, this time trying to fix their U.S. News and World Report rankings by paying admitted Freshmen to re-take their S.A.T.s so that Baylor could report higher average scoresOfficially, the university denies this, and says that the Mulligan tests are to make sure that students will be eligible for more financial aid. 

Yeah, right.  The people in charge at Baylor appear to be total dirtbags.  (And that’s more polite than the term I have in mind right now, actually.)  The Baylor adminstration’s bad faith was crystal-clear in its treatment of their faculty last year.  I get it that Baylor is ambitious–they want more productive and higher-profile faculty, and stronger students–but their attempts to up their game seem more like gaming the system.  Firing a bunch of faculty and paying students for better test scores are stupid and short-sighted cheats.  What a terrific example to set for their students:  win at any cost, dump on the faculty, and go for the bucks! 

Try to keep your stick on the ice, Baylor.  You’ve got a lot of things going for you–build on your strengths, set a decent example for your students, and don’t be dirtbags.  How hard can that be?

UPDATED BELOW:  Baylor is now abandoning its bucks-for-bonus points scam, reports Inside Higher Ed today:  “Lori Fogleman, a spokeswoman, said in an interview Thursday night that the university ‘goofed’ by offering the cash incentives. ‘We have heard the criticism,’ she said. ‘It just had the appearance of impropriety. It raised unnecessary questions.’”  Baylor has an interesting habit of walking these dumb decisions back pretty rapidly–how about just not making dumb decisions in the first place, gang?


25th 2008
It all comes together

Posted under American history & Gender & jobs & women's history

In the six months since launching this blog, I’ve written a lot about bullying in the academic workplace.  I’ve also written a lot about the 2008 Democratic primaries (and Hillary Clinton’s candidacy in particular) because I’m a women’s historian and the author of a book on gendered language and rhetoric by profession, and a political junkie by avocation.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the interconnections between these phenomena in the bullying of Hillary Clinton by the corporate media and many Democrats.  (Ann Bartow at Feminist Law Profs pulled together a lot of useful links contributing to the following discussion–see especially Erica Barnett’s catalog of the offensive language deployed by Democrats against Clinton.  See also this entertaining new video by the Women’s Media Center, via Shakesville.)

Bullies, like misogynist trolls in the corporate media and even among Democrats and so-called “liberals” and “progressives,” count on the complicity (or at least the silence) of the majority so that they can work their evil without interference.  Workplace bullies are also in the business of controlling the majority through their bullying of a minority:  their implied message is, “keep your head down, or you could be next.”  Finally, the silent (or enabling) majority convince themselves (falsely) that the victim brought on the bullying herself, and that they don’t need to take action because it’s really the fault of the victim, not of the bullies.  This last parallel seems particularly significant.

cu-527.JPGGo to any discussion thread (even on feminist blogs) following a post on the rampant misogyny within the anti-Clinton forces and/or the corporate media, and early on you’ll see a commenter pop up to proclaim that “I’m not against all women, just this woman,”  followed by a long list of Clinton’s political and personal errors that the commenter finds unforgivable.  I’ve had this conversation with a few of my friends.  (As I have pointed out before, these errors when committed by male presidential candidates get a passAs I have noted before in discussing inequality in the application of tenure standards, women faculty are held to dramatically higher standards than men faculty (while being paid less all the while, natch.)  Unsurprisingly, we’ve seen the same unannounced, secret standards for the Presidency applied to candidate Hillary Clinton that have been applied to no other candidate this year. 

The funny thing is that a majority of the Democratic voters haven’t bought into the media’s preferred narrative about Clinton.  At least half of them see that she’s ready, willing, and more than able, and they are willing to give her a chance.  That’s the silver lining, such as it is, but ironically the support of actual voters isn’t the most important factor in choosing the Democratic nominee.


19th 2008
Schmucks R Us: University Presidents Gone Wild!

Posted under Gender & jobs & wankers

Well, it’s May, and those of us chained to the delightfully anachronistic agricultural calendar of academe are slathering on the sunscreen, filling up the industrial-sized insulated mug of iced tea, and sitting out in the garden to finish grading exams and calculating final grades.  Inside Higher Ed today provided a good roundup of recent controversies that have been covered here at (or should have been!)  So while most of you are mired in the details of the work that universities are supposed to do, here are some stories about a few university presidents and administrators (you know, the people who have the power to fire you) who are doing a heckuva job.  To wit:

  • West Virginia University President Mike Garrison, a politically-connected appointee without academic credentials or experience, continues to be a universally recognized embarrassment.  (It’s under Garrison’s watch that the business school awarded an M.B.A. to the governor’s daughter despite her not having actually, you know, earned it.  The Dean of the business school and the University Provost resigned recently, but not Garrison, despite his insistence that he “accepts responsibility” for the fraudulent degree.)  The most recent related dust-up reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is that two professors are filing a grievance “after being told their offices are being relocated, a decision they were informed of the day after one of them called for President Mike Garrison’s resignation.”  Anyone who’s worked in an academic department knows that some faculty are very particular about what kind of office they have, its proximity to the department office or bathrooms, how much or how little sunlight, noise level, views, etc.–like Goldilocks, they must have an office that’s “just right.”  This strikes me as the kind of petty, thuggish retaliation that’s characteristic of a political hack, but one who is clearly very attuned to the bizarre obsessions and status games of particular academics.  Well played, Mr. Garrison!  (How long will this guy be permitted to circle the drain at WVU?)
  • Next, in a move that makes Mike Garrison look like Kingman Brewster, Jr., Baylor University’s President John Lilley has apparently reversed 7 out of 12 of his tenure denial decisions on appeal.  (Historiann has reported and commented on the Baylor outrage here, here, and here.)  The Waco Tribune reports that “[t]wo of the cases were reversed after candidates bolstered their publication records, Lilley said, and external letters about the quality of some of the candidates’ research was influential.”  Yeah, right–anyone who knows anything about tenure files knows that it’s utterly impossible to produce something in two months’ time that would reverse a tenure denial, aside from embarassing publicity, poor fundraising, and the wrath of the Board of Regents.  Good news for those faculty members who are now among the elect, but this may make the gendered nature of the tenure denials at Baylor even clearer:  “Names of candidates awarded tenure were not revealed in Lilley’s e-mail, but the Tribune-Herald was able to confirm that three of the seven were engineering faculty Russ Duren, Randall Jean and Carolyn Skurla,” two men and one woman.  (Andrea, if you’re still out there, let us know what you know!) 
  • Finally, Phyllis Schlafly was awarded an honorary degree at Washington University.  Historiann was just flabbergasted by the news that any university (other than Bob Jones or Oral Roberts) would honor Schlafly in this fashion.  What’s next?  Spellman College honors Clarence Thomas?  Calvin College invites Christopher Hitchens to deliver next year’s commencement address?  Memo to Washington University:  next year, try to find a non-self-hating woman, m’kay?  It’s not about “freedom of speech,” it’s about choosing to honor someone whose life’s work is in accordance with the professed values of your institution.  What constituency at Washington U. (or anywhere in the nation) was demanding that Schlafly’s dubious achievements should be honored?  When you choose to honor someone like that, it make you look confused and un-self-confident too.

Here’s an entirely serious end-of-the-academic year question:  Why can’t they just emulate our students and get drunk and act like a$$holes?  It’s easy, it’s fun, and as long as you don’t drive, there’s little chance that it will make the morning papers.



1st 2008
Mebbe dey shod brung Cheezburgers?

Posted under Uncategorized

With reference to the 2/3 of all women candidates denied tenure this year at Baylor University (see this post below for details):

Humorous Pictures

(From, the best timewasting website of 2008!)


No Comments »

31st 2008
Tenure, again? Oh, noes!

Posted under jobs

Virtually Me  I’m posting briefly here to direct you to this discussion of the tenure debate at Inside Higher Ed featuring Tenured Radical, which also mentions Lumpenprofessoriat‘s rebuttal and Slaves of Academe‘s discussion of tenure as hazing.  (The article totally neglects the brilliantly informed disucssions of this subject at Historiann, and Professor Zero‘s ongoing meditations on the topic of tenure, however!  Shocking!)  I love this quote from the Radical about why transparency is so threatening to the tenure regime:  “A private institution is like an allegory for the WASP family when it comes to talking about tenure — it’s like you’re not supposed to say that Mommy’s drinking. Whatever happens, the real crime is talking about it.”  I think it works pretty much the same way in public institutions too, but that quote struck me because I used to have a tenure-track job at a private university, and I regularly compared my department to an alcoholic family, where I was cast as the “bad daughter” for talking about and questioning the abuse.

Stay tuned–Prof. Zero and I may be cooking up a Modest Proposal for tenure reform. 

RED ALERT UPDATE, 4/1/08:  Click here to read about the insanity at Baylor, where administrators have applied new tenure standards that were apparently pulled out of their a**es after this year’s tenure candidates submitted their dossiers!  And guess what, boys and girls?  The 40% rejection rate this year worked disproportionately to disadvantage female tenure candidates–six of the nine women up for tenure were denied.  Surprise!  My favorite part of the article is where President of the Faculty Senate Matt Cordon suggests that he’s worried that this will hurt faculty recruiting, a worthy point, especially considering that you’ve already got to recruit people to WACO, TEXAS!  Come on, people–you’ve already got a weak hand to play.  Abusing people and denying them tenure is bad enough, but the ones you “reward” with tenure have to live in Waco, Texas.