Thursday, May 1, 2014

Big Thirsty - questions don't get much bigger than this

First, a link to a news story that relates directly to this Big Thirsty:
Of Motherhood and Tenure

 Now, here's the Big Thirsty sent in by an anonymous reader.

Three out of four tenure applications at my SLAC were initially denied.  Now we learn that all three appeals were denied by The Big Committee.  This has never happened before.

So, what's the weakest reason you were given for not receiving tenure?


  1. I haven't gone up for tenure, but I did have a colleague who was denied tenure for not having met the dress code. A copy of the school's dress code was included in his letter of "rejection." He mostly wore wrinkled shorts and a tshirt and no shoes around campus (and was often mistaken for being homeless), but his scholarship and course evals were reputed to be high.

    1. That reminds me of the "professor or hobo?" quiz ( ), which Archie shared on CM years ago.

      A friend's sister, while working at a community college in a mostly-red state, was told that "professional" dress meant "dry clean only." I won't even start deconstructing the economic and environmental implications of that.

  2. Silence. No reason given whatsoever. The Big Committee (of administrators) simply issued a list of names approved for tenure and of those not approved. Those approved were about 40% of the total going up that year.

    Anyone got a weaker reason than that?

    - Old Fart Prof

    1. Very weak reason, but perhaps a sign of power? Power means never having to explain your actions (or apologize for them, however obviously wrong).