David J. Vanness, an Associate Professor in Population and Health Sciences at the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has started a petition to thwart a proposal to destroy tenure as we know it at public universities there. He explains:
In the Omnibus Motion adopted by a 12-4 vote of the Joint Finance Committee on May 29, 2015, the Board of Regents is to be granted new authority, which even if not exercised, by its very existence will create a chilling effect upon the research and teaching activities of our faculty and staff. Specifically, language in point 39 of the motion states that the “… Board may, with appropriate notice, terminate any faculty or academic staff appointment when such an action is deemed necessary due to a budget or program decision regarding program discontinuance, curtailment, modification, or redirection, instead of when a financial emergency exists as under current law.” Our fear is that this language is so broad and imprecise that it would allow for programs of academic inquiry and instruction (or even individually targeted tenured faculty within programs) to be terminated on the basis of political whim and convenience.
Inspired by a comment by Matt L. on the previous post, I suggested that the relatively newly institutionalized requirement for faculty to show evidence of “public engagement” was a good thing, although as usual I’m skeptical that it’s something that we’ll have to do on our own time and our own dimes, like most of the rest of the “service” requirement in our annual faculty evaluations. But is this an expectation that the rest of you are held to, or is it just something that’s happening at my Morrill Land Grant Aggie school, where public engagement was part of the mission statement going back in 1870?
So I want to collect some evidence on the question of public engagement. If you would, in the comments tell me
- What kind of institution you serve
- What sujbect/s you teach
- Whether public engagement is an expectation in your department, and
- What specific activities count as public engagement
And why not? He knows where all the best parties are. Continue reading
Dear readers–as you can see, this blog has had a radical makeover in the past day. We’re working on fixing the glitches as well as personalizing the header to make it look more like Historiann rather than a generic WordPress blog.
Please be patient with me!
Random spam generator?
It’s increasingly difficult to tell them apart:
Sex crime springs from fantasy, hallucination, delusion, and obsession. A random young woman becomes the scapegoat for a regressive rage against female sexual power: “You made me do this.” Academic clichés about the “commodification” of women under capitalism make little sense here: It is women’s superior biological status as magical life-creator that is profaned and annihilated by the barbarism of sex crime.
A graduate student of mine alerted me to this brilliant YouTube series of short videos, Ask a Slave. (Don’t we get all the best ideas from our students? I sure do!) Ask a Slave, directed by comedian Jordan Black, is based on the real-life experiences of actress Azie Mira Dungey who worked as a “living history character” to portray an enslaved maid at Mount Vernon.
One of the things I think Lizzie May does very well is to suggest the ways in which white women were just as complicit in the creation and maintenance of slavery as white men. Continue reading
I don’t know why I find this Onion article so funny and yet feel so awkward laughing at it at the same time (h/t anonymous, who put this link in my comments yesterday.) Historians and other humanists: how do you feel about it, and why?
I think it has something to do with shame about exploiting the dead, plus slavery, neither of which is very funny. (But of course, my opportunities for exploitation are much more limited than McCullough’s.)
This, on the other hand, is just shamelessly funny. Continue reading