Monday, May 5, 2014

Promotion: Transparency of Letters, Votes, Discourse, and Committee Reports

I am told that at the UC system, Berkeley and Irvine at least, candidates can see redacted letters and respond to them before the department votes. Moreover, departmental votes are available to the candidate. Even if processes are fair, many institutions are not at all transparent. Would we be better off following UC system practices? If Berkeley can get useful letters in their regime, we ought to be able to do so, too.

I worry about units that report votes to the provost, but in which the total voting population is a fraction of the eligible voters. A small fraction of the relevant faculty can have undue influence due to their colleagues’ lack of participation. I don’t know if this is an issue.

I don’t know if there is a problem still with inappropriate remarks to candidates, by colleagues and deans. This should not happen at all, of course. It may be useful for the provost to remind colleagues of this.

Finally, I wonder if we still see cases where there is a disconnect between the letters and CV and the departmental committee. Are letters fairly presented, or selectively quoted? It may be useful for the provost to see all dossiers, even for those where the school has decided not to forward the dossier.

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