Tenure decisions, transparency and confidentiality

In the recent problems with Maria, there was much concern, sound and fury about what was happening and who knew what when and everything else, including the potential for world peace.

There is a fundemental tension here. Many of the jr faculty in Maria’s dept (and other related depts) had lots of questions about What Was Happening. Was this because Maria is  female? Why  did she not get more time, more acknowledgement for her achievements? A lot of was said about transparency and the lack thereof and how all of this  reduced morale in jr. faculty.

The tension comes in Maria’s right to confidentiality in this process. She did say quite a lot (which is her right), although much was  her perception, and not necessarily that of the promo committee.  But when people went to her chair, and to the chair of the school’s promo comittee  demanding information, there was a line drawn. To discuss, with anybody, any of the deliberations that applied to Maria was considered, and  is, inappropriate.

Junior faculty need  transparency. They need to know how to process works, what happens at each  step, and the importance of various components of their portfolio. They need to know that the steps and processes are applied equally. Knowing the details of any person’s process and outcome may be something others want, but it is not going to happen. We, as scientists, mentors and human beings, have to  make decsions about the priorities of rights.


3 thoughts on “Tenure decisions, transparency and confidentiality

  1. Is Maria still there, and will more details or a more coherent story be provided once she is not?

    My dept had a Maria before I arrived, and my worry is that the story around her tenure denial has been reduced for various reasons to one point of contention; whereas I am sure that more factors went into it than that. In turn, I would guess that my “how to not be Maria” needs to address more than just that one point of contention, and that is the reason I keep pressing for more details.

  2. Yes, I see the links, and I’ve been following. However, I know that for confidentiality reasons some writers post entries (or entire topics) long after they’ve occurred.

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