Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Skip the Department Meeting

The Chronicle of Higher Education
May 18th, 2015

In a controversial recent essay, Emily E. VanDette recounted how a search to fill a tenure-track position — that increasingly rare object of legend — ultimately failed because the non-tenure-track faculty insisted on having a voice in the search and a vote on the hire. The column did not accuse the non-tenure-track faculty members of purposefully seeking to thwart the search but suggested that their desire for involvement in the process raised difficult questions for the department. And its inability to settle those issues ultimately resulted in the position remaining unfilled.
The story was unfortunate in itself. But there was a specific passage that gave me pause: "These days more contingent faculty members than ever are, on selective issues, showing up at department meetings, serving on committees, and weighing in privately and publicly on curricular changes. Contingent faculty members turn out in droves during meetings with high-stakes items up for a vote, and their sporadic and selective participation is condoned and encouraged, all in the name of an inclusive culture."

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