Unfair

And in the meantime, really great, hard-working people experience real and completely undeserved hardship.

Fie has been denied tenure. You, folks, have no idea how dedicated, talented, and hard-working this woman is.

And it’s done under some completely bogus excuse about enrollments. The truth is that the decision is probably completely political but the school is too shy to say it honestly. Bastards.

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23 thoughts on “Unfair”

  1. How many tenure and tenure track positions were available 20 years ago?

    Now?

    What’s the over/under for tenure disappearing completely (or in all but name) in the humanities?

    10 years? 20 years? I haven’t seen or heard a single thing that makes me thing it can last (maybe inside of a few majors that bring in lots of outside grant money).

    The excuse given is maximally stupid and transparently dishonest, the meta-message is: “I can’t even be bothered to come up with a convincing lie and I want you to know it.”

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    1. And then the folks who got those positions 20 years ago turned the concept of tenure into a joke. We have nobody blame but ourselves here.

      And I obviously don’t mean Fie who is a bright light and a credit to any school.

      I see academics fighting like tigers to defend the idea that tenure with zero research and zero teaching above the basic level is completely justified and needs to be preserved. Until the shit collapses around them, they won’t change. Right now, tenure doesn’t exist to protect talented people with an intense intellectual life who share knowledge with the general public, like me and Fie. It exists to protect folks who haven’t read a book in a decade.

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      1. “tenure with zero research and zero teaching above the basic level is completely justified and needs to be preserved”

        But where does that exist outside community colleges, where people do a lot of public service and professional development and … well, it’s a different kind of job than a university job?

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          1. OK, here is a question. In your program are there speakers, symposia, film series, an active Spanish Club or other interesting undergraduate group, are there good study abroad options, and are there any community projects e.g. experiential learning, things that get students some kind of work or practical experience and/or just get them in touch with Spanish speakers outside class? Do students learn anything non-rote as advanced undergraduates (i.e. to do something more than recite facts and standard explanations)? How are library resources? These are things that frustrate me about my job. (I didn’t understand on certain interviews I went on, when they proudly showed me the library, and I thought well of course they have a good library, they are a university. I was very naive.)

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            1. No library to speak of, no speakers, no symposia, the Spanish club died a few years ago. There is a new experiential learning course because we’ll do anything to prevent students from taking literature courses. Students hate it. I hate the fact that they don’t learn any actual material.

              So, yeah….

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              1. Well, Verhaeghe is convincing me this situation is everywhere and I cannot fight it. But it’s why I wanted to quit academia, I saw this start. People did NOT believe me, any more than that had earlier when I said we had started on a path that would end in the dismantling of the US as liberal nation-state.

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              2. Yeah… I also would have never believed that it’s possible to have a university with no library and no expectation of intellectual life on campus. I mean, faculty members have their intellectual lives but it all happens in isolation and away from campus. We just come together briefly to repair the deficiencies of secondary education and then separate.

                There’s one colleague at my entire school who knows what my research is about. And that’s because he reads my blog. I’d love to know what it feels like to talk about my research (or somebody else’s) at work.

                Liked by 1 person

  2. I went over to Fie’s blog and read the saga. I commented there too (under “Anonymous”) but I really think that she might have grounds for complaint here. I think there is a protocol that universities are supposed to follow here. As far as I understand it, if the university allows someone to apply for tenure, the university is promising that they have a tenure line available in the budget for the applicant.

    Denying tenure after the application is submitted can only be done on the basis of performance. If they aren’t giving her a performance-based reason for dismissal and suggesting that it’s purely budgetary, I think she can fight this. (Though she may no longer be interested in working there…..)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, that was your comment. I knew it sounded reassuringly insightful. 🙂

      I agree, it sounds like there are grounds to sue. The admin had 6 years to figure out if they needed another English professor. It’s ridiculous to let her know they don’t after the department approved the tenure case. I think this is actionable.

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      1. And if she can’t sue, I think she should publicly shame them. She should write to the Chronicle or Inside Higher Ed and tell this story. Even if the university was technically legal here, they committed and enormous breech of protocol, etiquette, and decency. People need to hear these stories.

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        1. AAUP censure, for what it’s worth. NB when I was denied tenure they said they knew they had changed the rules on me and were therefore offering me the chance to come up again the following year. I didn’t want to do it but note: you have to make some sort of deal if you have changed rules. And you CANNOT deny based on the kind of reason they give. If there aren’t enough students then it’s on them to up her research percentage, or make her a dean or something.

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            1. They were also trying to hire A NEW tenure-track person this entire time. They say the search is off as of today but it’s just a way to avoid being sued. They will start a new search next year for sure.

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              1. And that is so egregiously off protocol. Now is the time to fight, fight, fight. Mostly I advise people that they have unfortunately lost and they should not waste further energy on the matter, but this is a situation in which to fight, fight, fight.

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  3. I read the saga, and yes, it’s ridiculous. Fie should consult a lawyer.

    What actions in her professional life did she take that she wouldn’t have if she was told there was no tenure line when she applied?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure she would have looked for another job. You gotta be crazy to stay at that school, with the ridiculous work load and pathetic and unhealthy work conditions if there’s no chance of tenure. She wouldn’t have stayed and those bastards know it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for your support, readers! I have new information after talking to the promotion and tenure chair, but will be keeping it close to the vest in order to start building a case for myself. I do think I have a viable legal case, and along with everything that has been said both here, on my blog, and elsewhere, I feel confident that good will come of this. Thank you, Clarissa for your support! It means a lot to me!

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