They say that tenure is designed to protect academic freedom. That is mostly true, but it is also used for for other purposes by faculty and other parties. Let’s do a rundown of how tenure gets used.Continue reading
Planning for safe and inclusive field researchStandard
Fieldwork can be the best part of being a scientist. But when unprepared or abusive leaders take trainees into the field, they can cultivate an unsafe and harmful environment. So It’s nice to see that National Science Foundation is taking steps to improve the safety and inclusivity of field research. NSF is now proposing that projects with fieldwork component have a plan for field safety, which includes creating an environment promoting dignity and respect, and prevents conduct that is “unwelcome, offensive, indecent, obscene, or disorderly.”Continue reading
Can we talk about Field Camp?Standard
A few years ago, I was spending time with some geologists and they were telling me about Field Camp. That it’s a standard requirement of most Geoscience programs, but also that it’s highly problematic.
I just googled a bit, here’s what I learned. According to UW Milwaukee, “Field camp is a tradition in the education of a geologist. It is an intensive course that applies classroom and laboratory training to solving geological problems in the field.”
Gotcha. My colleagues are saying how problematic field camp is, but I don’t quite see it yet. Could you tell me more?Continue reading
When universities prosecute the victims and protect the perpetratorsStandard
I just read this piece in Science yesterday and I was floored. Continue reading
We needed to watch our own behavior before social media, tooStandard
We still have generations of academics who are still in denial about how social media has changed how we are accountable for our actions. Continue reading
Word choice is more than semanticsStandard
I recently read through some of early posts on here. I’ve been at this for over five years now, and I’ve evolved over that time. (As I hope all people evolve!) I’ve learned quite a bit, and I do things differently in a variety of ways.
One of the things I’ve noticed is that I have steadily shifted a lot of the terminology that I’ve been using for topics in the practice of science, and teaching, and higher education. Continue reading
Is the problem implicit bias or is it gender harassment?Standard
At a conference earlier this year, one of my science heroes was on a discussion panel, and was asked what steps matter most when fixing the gender equity problem in STEM. She answered: “The single most important thing we can do is get men to change their behavior.” Continue reading
Science Magazine needs to rectify a critical lapse of judgmentStandard
Science recently published a letter to the editor that that amplified the harm done to targets of sexual harassment. This letter needs to be retracted by the editor, though so far he has not apologized to the victims or issued a retraction. Continue reading
Sharing their storiesStandard
I don’t have a post for you today. Instead, please read some of the stories at MeTooSTEM.
It’s important for us all to understand the prevalence, mechanisms, and consequences of sexual harassment in our profession. Let’s hear about it directly from those who have been impacted. Continue reading
Non-mandatory sexual harassment training?Standard
I’d like to think I’m not a clueless ignoramus when it comes to navigating university bureaucracy, but sometimes evidence gets in the way. Let me attempt to recreate some dialogue from our Academic Senate meeting from last month, as an illustration. Continue reading
Powerful truths about sexual harassmentStandard
Today, the House Committee on Science had a hearing about sexual harassment. The whole thing is worth your time, but holy moly there were two moments in particular, 6 minutes of your time, that I feel compelled to share:
First, Dr. Kate Clancy delivered testimony on what sexual harassment is, and how deep and pervasive the problem is, and how our academic culture allows it to persist. The entire testimony is filled with mic-drops and moments of searing truth, I can’t even pick a few pull-quotes because the whole thing is golden:
When you are asked to review a paper that you’ve already reviewed for another journalStandard
This situation can be a bit of a conundrum if you haven’t dealt with it.
Let’s say you review a manuscript for the Journal of Scientific Stuff. Ultimately, that paper ends up getting rejected by JSS. Some time goes past, and you are asked to review what appears to be the same manuscript, by the editor of Proceedings of Scientific Stuff.
What to do? Continue reading
When the trash gets passedStandard
The term “passing the trash” is commonly used to describe when sexually abusive K-12 teachers and priests get quietly shifted to new schools and parishes, where they assault more people.
We also use this term in higher ed, when professors who commit sexual misconduct are allowed to slink out of their universities with the approving silence of their administration, only to harm more students in their new jobs. Continue reading
Not waiting for the dinosaurs to retireStandard
I hear this a lot: “Bad behavior in academia comes from the guys who have been around for a long time. Times have changed, and they’re stuck in the old ways. We can’t change these guys, but they’re on their way out — and once they retire, things will get better.”
In some narrow cases — an isolated department here or there — this might be true. But as a general principle, I think it’s deeply mistaken. Continue reading
Creating an academic environment hostile to sexual misconductStandard
I’d like to tell you a story about speaking out. Continue reading
Firing scientists for sexual misconduct is not enoughStandard
When Jason Lieb was a professor at the University of North Carolina, he was sleeping with one of his own graduate students. He was investigated by UNC for sexual harassment, and then left for Princeton. He left Princeton within a year, and was hired by the University of Chicago. The search committee at Chicago was fully aware that he was having sex with his own graduate student at UNC, because Lieb told them this fact. And they hired him anyway. Continue reading
A conversation that can help protect your studentsStandard
A student recently dropped by to tell me about an exciting opportunity. She was going to spend a few weeks doing research in a gorgeous location, camping with a field crew led by the professor who taught her Intro course last semester.
I asked her how much the job paid, and she said it was a volunteer gig, but the opportunity of this short trip would would be worth it on its own. And she would be getting academic credit.
I had more questions. Continue reading
New requirement for scientists: You cannot be a sexist pigdogStandard
I live in the city where Richard Feynman did a bunch of amazing things. I’ve chatted with a number of people who knew him. He is fondly remembered as an inspiring teacher, engaging writer and phenomenal scientist. He is also remembered as a creepy guy who frequented a local strip club, and for misogynist quips, even in his popular writing. Continue reading