Search Results for "tenure"

30th 2014
This just in: Men favored over women in employee evaluations and tenure review letters

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

cowgirlcomingrightupWell, burn my bacon!  Via Amanda Marcotte at Slate, we read of an informal study of managerial performance reviews in the tech industry by Kieran Snyder at Fortune that concludes that of the participants who volunteered copies of their performance reviews, women receive far more critical feedback:

The first thing I wanted to understand is how many reviews included critical wording in the first place. These were almost exclusively strong reviews, so I wasn’t sure. My own reviews have all contained critical feedback, both those I’ve received and those I’ve given. But I wasn’t sure what to expect.

105 men submitted 141 reviews, and 75 women submitted 107 reviews. Of the full set of 248 reviews, 177—about 71%—contained critical feedback. However, critical feedback was not distributed evenly by gender.

When breaking the reviews down by gender of the person evaluated, 58.9% of the reviews received by men contained critical feedback. 87.9% of the reviews received by women did.

Next, the study demonstrated that the critical feedback women and men received was very different in kind.  Women were overwhelmingly the recipients of negative feedback focused on their personality and their willingness to take credit for their work: Continue Reading »


28th 2014
What I learned from the comments thread at Tenured Radical

Posted under American history & bad language & Bodily modification & class & Dolls & Gender & GLBTQ & jobs & the body & unhappy endings & wankers & weirdness & women's history


Why weren’t we on the cover?

Did any of you see Tenured Radical’s post yesterday about the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue 2014, “Happiness is a Cold, Plastic Doll?”  This year it features Barbie on the cover, but the same old soft-core porn inside.

The point of TR’s post was to comment on the cultural significance of SI’s annual swimsuit issue.  She noted her confusion when she first saw it in the 1970s, a decade in which porn was pushing into the mainstream, and Playboy had come to her campus to take some photos for “Girls of the Ivy League.”  (This was 1978; recall that most Ivies hadn’t admitted women until the early 1970s.  Welcome to campus, ladies!)  TR writes that the swimsuit issue wasn’t porn, but yet it “wasn’t not porn, because everything was exposed except, as Monty Python would say, the ‘naughty bits.’”  And yet–

The women were definitely chosen for their porny qualities. No model was included who didn’t have (as they used to say back in the 1970s) a “great rack,”  or was not able to spread her legs, tip her butt up alluringly for potential rear entry, or cock her head back in that time-honored fashion that says, “Come and get it, Buster Brown.”

But like those who reject changing the name of the Washington Football Team, the swimsuit issue is spoken of as a tradition. Hence it is harmless, right? Wrong. The swimsuit issue is the porn that gets circulated in public, as if it were not really porn, which to me – makes it more sexist than the tabletop magazines that just say brightly: “we’re all about porn!” It’s the porn that gets delivered at the office, and it’s the porn that people think it’s ok for little boys to have, like the Charlie’s Angels and Farrah Fawcett posters that were so popular back in the day, because it helps them not grow up to be fags.

This is not what all but four or five of us commenting on the post learned.  Instead, several porndogs wanted to turn the comments thread on this post into a strange personal porny fantasy involving fetishizing women’s bodies and insulting feminists and feminism at the same time.  This is a fair summary of their threadjack: Continue Reading »


23rd 2013
Is it really “higher education” without tenured faculty?

Posted under American history & jobs

How many of you college or university faculty members would have gone into your line of work without the hope of tenure?

I was thinking about this with respect to a survey of provosts published by Inside Higher Ed today.  Among other interesting findings, the provosts surveyed said this about tenure:

The survey found that 70 percent of provosts at public and private four-year institutions (and 54 percent of those at community colleges, where tenure is less common than it is at four-year institutions) agree that tenure “remains important and viable at my institution.” (Not surprisingly, the figure was only 3 percent of provosts in for-profit higher education, where tenure is rare.)

But while 70 percent see that as the status quo, support for tenure among provosts appears soft at best. Asked if they favored or opposed a system of long-term contracts for faculty members over the existing system of tenure in higher education, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of provosts said that they favored such a system. Support was strongest among for-profit provosts (80 percent), but at majority-plus levels in every sector of higher education, two-year and four-year, public and private. At private doctoral universities, 67 percent of provosts favor such a system.

Another question sought provosts’ thoughts on the long-term future of tenure. They were asked to agree or disagree (on a five-point scale) with the statement: “Future generations of faculty in this country should not expect tenure to be a factor in their employment at higher education institutions.” The percentage agreeing or strongly agreeing: Continue Reading »


17th 2012
Marshall College scandal: Dr. Jones denied tenure!

Posted under fluff & jobs & students

Love you anyway!

Sad, but true.  Here’s an excerpt from the Archaeology department’s T & P committee letter to Dr. Jones (h/t Monocle Man for this one):

January 22, 1939

Assistant Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones Jr.
Department of Anthropology
Chapman Hall 227B
Marshall College

Dr. Jones:

As chairman of the Committee on Promotion and Tenure, I regret to inform you that your recent application for tenure has been denied by a vote of 6 to 1. Following past policies and procedures, proceedings from the committee’s deliberations that were pertinent to our decision have been summarized below according to the assessment criteria.

Demonstrates suitable experience and expertise in chosen field:

The committee concurred that Dr. Jones does seem to possess a nearly superhuman breadth of linguistic knowledge and an uncanny familiarity with the history and material culture of the occult. However, his understanding and practice of archaeology gave the committee the greatest cause for alarm. Criticisms of Dr. Jones ranged from “possessing a perceptible methodological deficiency” to “practicing archaeology with a complete lack of, disregard for, and colossal ignorance of current methodology, theory, and ethics” to “unabashed grave-robbing.” Given such appraisals, perhaps it isn’t surprising to learn that several Central and South American countries recently assembled to enact legislation aimed at permanently prohibiting his entry.

Moreover, no one on the committee can identify who or what instilled Dr. Jones with the belief that an archaeologist’s tool kit should consist solely of a bullwhip and a revolver. Continue Reading »


26th 2011
Tenured Radical’s Top Ten Turkeys

Posted under American history & Gender & jobs & students

Go read–it’s one impressive feminist meta-analysis of what ails education at all levels, as well as a tasty linkfest.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, I agree with all of her turkeys, and then some.  (Go ahead–guess where she puts Linda P. B. Kathei, the UC Davis Chancellor.  Also, don’t miss the fact that she not only puts the eternally dopey U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on her list, she also co-nominates the man who elevated him to his eminent position, President Barack Obama.  So please, all of you who complain every time I write something you deem insufficiently worshipful of The One, go over to her comments section to b!tch for a change.)

Meanwhile–here’s something that’s worth 75 seconds of your time: Continue Reading »


2nd 2011
Dear Tenured Radical,

Posted under publication & unhappy endings & wankers & women's history

I’d love to comment on your posts at Tenured Radical 3.0 more frequently, but your hosts at the Chronicle of Higher Education have made it very difficult for me.  At first, I used an old Disqus account–the Chronicle’s software recognized that account and let me post via that account earlier this summer.  Then last week, the Chronicle forced me to get a Chronicle account in order to post.  I did that, but now of course I can’t remember all of my login information, and since it’s about the eleventybillionth danged login I’ve created in order to engage in blog commentary and internet commerce, it all just seems too exhausting for me to cope with.

Why can’t I just comment over there under my username and my URL?  Is there any way the Chronicle software gurus could fix this?  Why all the super-secret, password-protected bullcrap?

One might think that the Chronicle wants us to log in so that they can monitor the tone of discussion on their articles and posts, but the comments over there don’t appear to be moderated any more than the comments on most mainstream U.S. online publications.  Some of the new commenters who have drifted over to TR 3.0  are bringing down the quality of conversation, and I wonder if some of your regular readers and commenters at Tenured Radical 2.0 would agree. Continue Reading »


29th 2011
In which we see once again that academia still functions as though it’s 1956 (only with fewer tenure lines)

Posted under American history & Gender & jobs & students & the body & women's history

life inside the bubble

I have a friend who lives in a little college town who says, “It’s like someone put a bubble up around this town in 1956.”  Sometimes I think this is true of all of academia.  Dr. Crazy had an interesting post the other day about the essential conservativism of college professors:

You’d think conservatives would actually love a person like me.  I mean, instead of getting out there and organizing and protesting and sticking it to The Man, I spend my time reading books, harping on students about the quality of their prose, and spending endless hours in meetings and doing paperwork.

Her point was more about the essentially conservative nature of our work–great books, big ideas, the mechanics of reading and writing well–moreso than the conservative politics of most university faculty, but in “Sexism in the Academy,” Speaker’s Corner ATX reports a recent experience that suggests that there may be considerable overlap with respect to women’s imagined roles and ambitions:

Today when I told my male, child-free advisor that I am no longer married to the idea of being an academic when this is all done, he said IMMEDIATELY,

Why? You wanna have more babies?

Sigh. Even people who I respect so much and who have been very good overall in respecting my decision to have a child while in graduate school still react like this to my choices in my personal life. On top of that, he seemed surprised when I said “no”.

I can’t imagine that when a man decides that perhaps the Academy is not a good enough life for him or is not the ONLY possible future that he sees for himself or his family, he is met with such a reaction.

And just so no one accuses me of picking on my male professor – I once had a female professor who I love and adore call my son a “hurdle”. Ouch. And *shrug*. So it goes.

In fairness, it’s possible this advisor wanted to initiate a conversation in which he would urge her to stay in academia and have more children–but somehow, I think SCATX read this conversation right.  Continue Reading »


21st 2010
Humiliation and Longing: Part II of my discussion with Tenured Radical of Terry Castle’s The Professor

Posted under American history & art & book reviews & childhood & class & European history & Gender & GLBTQ & happy endings & jobs & students & unhappy endings & women's history

If you recall, when Tenured Radical and I broke off yesterday in Part I of our discussion of Terry Castle’s The Professor and Other Writings, we were talking about the odd attraction and revulsion that characterizes relationships between academics and public intellectuals.  At least, it’s why I’ve always forgiven Gore Vidal for his nasty swipes at the “Assistant Professors” of his imagination, who according to Vidal were always scurrying off to write something narrow and pointless.  Vidal never went to college.  (The Deuce had a lot to do with that, since he was Philips Exeter Class of 1943.)

So here we are again–gossiping about Susan Sontag!  Today, we’re moving along to some of the even knottier issues that The Professor raised in our minds, those of desire, longing, and the price one pays to join the academic club.  And as some of you have reported here, sex is one way young scholars can gain admission, or at least imagine that that’s what they’ve done.

Tenured Radical:  I think it’s important that Sontag isn’t a feminist, even though she has always been honored by feminists. In contrast, I’ve begun to develop a relationship with a highly successful feminist writer from the 1970s, and she seems to be very clear why our work is differently important, and she is making a point of being generous about the kind of collaboration that can be possible between two very different kinds of writers.  It’s just one example, but it is a strikingly different experience than I have had in the past with “famous” people who rely on me for all kinds of support, but wouldn’t dream of offering to introduce me to an agent.  I think the Sontag essay also illustrates two paradoxes that you allude to in your comments, paradoxes that actually structure the whole book.  The first is that the cost of being smart and accomplished as Castle is – particularly because she is a woman and of working-class and immigrant origins– is the ever-present fear of humiliation, that humiliation that comes from not belonging. In “Courage Mon Amie,” Castle’s essay about her love affair with World War I, she emphasizes the inescapable humiliation of being female in a world where female heroism is impossible, and particularly impossible for those who suffer from the dread and fear of not belonging.  “I was female,” she writes dolefully about her inability to face the post- 9/11 world with stoicism; “and a wretched poltroon.” (21).


The second paradox you raise is that we academics seek out larger than life “female/heroes” like Sontag and The Professor, but inevitably, the heroism of such people is not unconnected to their narcissistic need to humiliate us.  The question is, are we drawn to them because somehow we actually know that they will do that thing which we fear the most?  In this sense, all the essays strike me as exercises in coming to terms with humiliation and the longing to be part of the most exclusive club.  It’s no accident, I think, that Castle’s obsession with Art Pepper, maniac cockmeister and a sublime, brilliant drug-addicted jazz musician covered with tattoos, takes hold at the exact time she is driving around in her persona as a respectable professor with a trunk full of research intended for an article she knows, in her heart, she will never write.  Continue Reading »


27th 2010
DePaul tenure process takes a turn for the. . .

Posted under art & fluff & Gender & jobs & unhappy endings & weirdness

WTF, dudes?  First, DePaul denies tenure to Norman Finklestein, then five out of its seven tenure denials this year were women.  But they’re now rushing to tenure two adjuncts who have never been granted tenure-track positions or been through the annual review process for probational faculty?  As one Associate Professor called it, DePaul apparently has a Leona Helmsley tenure processit’s only for the little people:

In the memo, Robin Burke, an associate professor of computing and digital media, cited Helmsley’s much-derided quote that “only the little people pay taxes,” to say that DePaul appears to have a “Leona Helmsley tenure process,” in that “only the little people are reviewed for tenure.” Burke cited the decision by Provost Helmut Epp to accept a departmental recommendation to award tenure to two faculty members in Burke’s college at DePaul.  The two (whose names are not generally featured in the voluminous memos that have been flying at DePaul about their promotions) had been working off the tenure track and were simultaneously put on the tenure track and tenured — without the standard, lengthy process that would normally be required for someone at the university coming up for tenure.

If I were in one of the departments there that had recently recommended a candidate for tenure who was then turned down by the Provost, I’d be hopping mad too.  Continue Reading »


3rd 2009
Tenured Radical on norming, not-normals, and justice

Posted under American history & GLBTQ & jobs & nepotism

Tenured Radical has a boffo deuce of posts this week:  First, in “More Annals of the Great Depression:  What Divides Us, and Why,” she writes about the fact that the budget-crisis hill some of her colleagues want to die on is the (astonishingly generous!) tuition benefit at her university, although it is only for children of faculty members.  She writes,

I would like to point out that the loose coalition of the willing that does not consider this cut unthinkable is made up of gay people and straight people; the coupled and the uncoupled; the married and the unmarried; those who have dependent (or formerly dependent) children and those who do not. I mention this because one of the first things people make sure to tell me in particular is that they are not homophobic (you know what? If you feel you have to say this, you are homophobic. I didn’t bring it up, you did.) Several of the kinder scolds suggested that we who were not with the program would understand this issue better if we actually had children and better understood the sacred bond between parent and child. The most ignorant argued that the childless were not excluded from this benefit, and could access it any time we liked by having, adopting or inheriting children. Of all the unspoken assumptions, perhaps the one best masking itself as intellectual common sense was that we who are childless at Zenith do have a moral and ethical commitment to our colleagues’ children, because it is these children who, as adult workers, will earn the professional wages to pay for our government benefits in retirement.

In other words, because I haven’t had children, regardless of how much I have paid into Social Security over the years, I will become a welfare queen in old age. And as I sign my government checks over to the BMW dealership and the grog shop, it will not be just any children who support me in the style to which I am now accustomed, but the children of my Zenith colleagues. . . .

No, they respond: nothing will do but an unlimited benefit reserved exclusively for the children of Zenith.  Continue Reading »


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