Apparently, normal career development is read as “disloyalty” when a colleague thinks he owns you. Inside Higher Ed yesterday tells the story:
By many accounts, Desdemona Cardoza was the hands-down favorite to lead California State University’s Los Angeles campus when James M. Rosser — the president since 1979 — eventually stepped aside. Cardoza had spent 22 years as a faculty member and administrator there, and had worked closely with Rosser since he appointed her provost in 2007.
The prospect of becoming president there appealed to Cardoza, but something nagged at her. “I had this sense that if I was going to move up to a presidency, I really needed to have some experience on another campus, and with a different president,” she says. So when she was nominated for the open provostship at Cal State’s campus in nearby Long Beach this spring, Cardoza decided to pursue it.
The decision cost her her post at Cal State-LA. In March, days after telling Rosser that she would visit Long Beach as one of four finalists for the provost’s job there, Cardoza learned that Rosser had told the head of the university’s senate that he planned to begin searching for a new provost. Through a spokesman, the president declined to talk to Inside Higher Ed about the situation, saying it would “inappropriate” to talk about what he called a “personnel matter.”
But according to Cardoza and others familiar with Rosser’s thinking, the president viewed Cardoza’s decision to make what he considered a “lateral move” as evidence of her disloyalty to Cal State-L.A. “Obviously you don’t want to be here,” Cardoza recalls Rosser telling her.
His stance took her aback. “I was doing what everybody says you ought to to advance yourself. I didn’t feel like I was ready to be a president, and that I needed to work under a different president with a different style,” Cardoza says. “People ought to have the right to look for other positions.”
Perceptive readers will note that male faculty usually do not get punished, but rather are rewarded, for seeking out opportunities outside of one’s institution. (At least, I’ve never seen or heard of men routinely punished for exploring extramural job opportunities, although I have heard of men who didn’t get great retention offers, just as I’ve heard of women who did get great retention offers.) Cardoza did the right thing in informing the President herself when she was invited to interview on campus–that’s also what I understand is expected of faculty job candidates, who should inform their department chairs if they’re invited to a campus interview if they’ve kept their job searches confidential to that point. (At least, when I was on the market 9 years ago and was reasonably fearful of retaliation by colleagues if my job search was unsuccessful, I didn’t tell the department Chair until I had been invited to four campus interviews.)
At least Cardoza can fall back on her tenured position in the Psychology Department until another administrative position becomes available. I can only speculate on what effect Rosser’s temper tantrum had on the morale and esprit de corps of his other top administrators. As we like to say around here, Jeff Spicolli-style: Awesome!
How have you and/or your institutions handled job searches from within?