Here’s your Koan for the day: What if Kevin Carman, Dean of the College of Basic Sciences at Louisiana State University, were made Provost of Brown University, where the current Provost is troubled by the fact that 70% of all tenure candidates win tenure and promotion at Brown and wants to lower it? (You’ll recall that Dean Carman is the guy who yanked a proffie out of her own course because of a high rate of student failure in her intro class.) Would he be concerned that 30% of Brown Assistant Professors are “failing?” Would this create a wormhole of dubious conflicting administrative initiatives?
I like this comment from Dore Levy, a professor of East Asian studies who opposes the Brown initiative to deny tenure to more Assistant Professors. She explains why many faculty are with her:
They say that Brown is trying to provide them with the sort of research resources that are on the high end of what one could find at a liberal arts college, but then judge them by the standards of a research university. “You want us to be like Harvard? Then give us the Widener Library,” she said.
Levy, whose scholarship is on classical Chinese, said that she has spent her Brown career doing research at the libraries at Yale and Princeton Universities, which are far superior in relevant holdings than Brown’s collections. Brown can’t have it both ways, with resources not matching expectations, she said.
Sing it, sister! Anyone who has ever visited Brown knows that it prides itself on being the Ivy with the research chops and also the character of a tony SLAC. Continue Reading »