tenure and the capacity to take students

Pete Muriana MURIANAP at foodsci.purdue.edu
Wed Dec 4 09:02:07 EST 1996

In article <Pine.A41.3.95b.961203110153.16916A-100000 at dante31.u.washington.edu> Sarah Boomer <sarai at u.washington.edu> writes:
>From: Sarah Boomer <sarai at u.washington.edu>
>Subject: tenure and the capacity to take students
>Date: Tue, 3 Dec 1996 11:17:39 -0800

>Hi -
>        I have been having a few interesting conversations with faculty

........stuff deleted............

> Our dept. obviously didn't
>have policy against this at the time;  she had been an extremely
>successful post doc and now had good NIH funding and the idea that she
>would be around for students didn't seem significant enough to disallow
>her from taking students - although, despite even more success, the dept. 
>has not given her tenure.

I don't know how different your institution is from ours, but at ours as I 
understand it, tenure-track positions are funded by the school (i.e., approval 
by the Dean/s) not the department, whereas the department can hire non-tenure 
track personnel with funds they may have.  The difference is, that there is no 
provision for the non-tenure track person to be considered for tenure from the 
onset - if there is some verbal discussion of this prior to getting the 
position (i.e, possibility that this position would lead to tenure track), it 
would be best to get it in writing because it is the Dean of the School that 
will have the major decision in where the tenure-track (i.e., school-funded) 
positions will be distributed (you will have different departments fighting 
for these). It is not department-based decision to switch a non-tenure track 
position into one - it's usually at the level of the Dean of the school. 
(Hope I've got that right).
Regards, Peter 

  Many people have remarked on the fairness and
>outright exploitation components of this case to me personally and it is
>something I personally have struggled with for years as a student in the
>lab, particarly as a woman scientist watching another woman really
>struggle in the field.
>        The precedent that my boss set, though, in our dept. has clearly
>caused the dept. to be more cautious about giving recent high level
>post-docs research assistantships and the "power" to have students.  I
>would say that it is now an unwritten rule that "graduate facultyship" is
>no longer something that a research assistant can easily get. 
>        I would also like to hear from graduate students who have worked
>under non-tenured bosses.  As a naive first-year, I never questioned
>things like tenure status.  The notion that this woman was a good teacher
>and a decent person and had money and a lab was all that mattered to me. 
>I never thought much about the ramifications of how it would feel to work
>in a setting where, really, I felt like we were always fighting for space
>and some level of respect.  I don't think I can adequately communicate the
>impact of "surviving" this kind of setting has made on the types of career
>choices I have made over the years.  Perhaps this explains my desire to
>"leave"  academics! 
>        Anyway - I'm curious to hear from more people on this one.  To
>have accepted this "way of life" for seven years and suddenly have people
>say - hey - it's not supposed to be like that is, in some ways, a
>revelation.  You start to tell yourself that it's this way everywhere...
>so I wanna know!

>        Sarah 
>Sarah Boomer                            email:  sarai at u.washington.edu          
>Dept.. of Microbiology                  work phone:  543-3376
>Box 357242                              work FAX:  543-3376
>University of Washington                
>Seattle, WA  98195      

>personal homepage:  

   Peter M. Muriana 
   Associate Professor                         317-494-8284   TEL            
   Dept. of Food Science                     317-494-7953   FAX            
   Purdue University                    murianap at foodsci.purdue.edu   
   Smith Hall                                 http://www.foodsci.purdue.edu/ 
   W. Lafayette, IN  47907-1160         personnel/muriana.html        
The opinions expressed above are mine alone and do not represent 
endorsement by my employer

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