Contemplating a career in academia?

February 18, 2010

Dana Levin, poet and professor at UNM (the current endowed Russo Chair) sent along this link to an article on the recent shooting by a Harvard PhD. She included the note:  For myself, I found this to resonate:  “I am rarely surprised by violence on a campus… Every day I see wonderful, wonderful people at work, but I have also noted…the moral equivalent of manslaughter through reviews, tenure and promotion letters, memoranda, and gossip.”

I know I’ve been thinking a lot about tenure lately.  Coming from outside academia, especially coming from a business world where if you don’t do your job your ass is fired…  I understand the philosophy behind tenure,  I want our scholars to be free from political persecution, but I also want them to be accountable if they are not doing their job, especially if my tax money is paying for them!

Anyway, here’s the article that Dana sent over:

Campus Dispatch [by Catharine Stimpson]

This was to be a genial post about snow and the city during Valentine days.

Then death intervened.

On Friday, at a faculty meeting,  Amy Bishop murdered three of her colleagues in the Biology Department of the University of Alabama/Huntsville and badly wounded three others.

I learned about this homicidal violence the way one does these days: first a crawl at the bottom of a newscast, which noted her Harvard training as a neuroscientist. Apparently, the fact that a Ph.D. from a prestigious university would fatally ransack a human body with bullets can still shock us. Then TV elevated the murders to “Breaking News” and a “Developing Story” with law enforcement officers giving their sober press conferences.

Then The New York Times began to run its fact-filled stories.

Dr. Bishop left her pistol in a second-floor bathroom.Dr. Bishop is a wife, married to another scientist, James Anderson.  Dr. Bishop is a mother, with four children. Dr. Bishop and her husband have been responsible for some promising biotechnology inventions. Dr. Bishop,perhaps significantly, had been denied tenure and was appealing the decision.  Dr. Bishop was outspoken about university policies….. CONTINUE READING –>


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