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Those of us who have been recognized among the faculty through various titles can play a more prominent role in guiding the university’s intellectual mission and enhancing its scholarly prestige. We are not elected by a majority of our colleagues at the university, however, so our role can be at best consultative. My guiding principles for serving on the board are as follows:
Beyond these principles, two urgent matters we could play a role in shaping pertain to the future of affirmative action and gender justice. With the new directive of the Trump administration to eliminate affirmative action programs on college campuses, I am concerned about the effects of this policy on the diversity of our faculty pool. How we may work with OVPDEMA to respond to this will depend on how the Distinguished Alliance wants to engage with this issue. I am also concerned about the lack of transparency about the continuing gender inequities on matters of salary, promotion, and tenure. Without an office that would look out for these issues (in Bloomington the Office of Women’s Affairs was terminated by Provost Lauren Robel in 2012; there is no university-wide office to represent issues of gender inequity beyond OVPDEMA), we have no comprehensive data about gender inequities, so individual faculty have no way of finding out if they are in fact discriminated against. The Title IX office focuses primarily on student reports, and very little discussion and training has been done to better equip faculty to address matters of gender discrimination and sexual misconduct. I suspect the extent of access to any office and personnel to address these issues differs greatly from campus to campus, due to the size of the professoriate and set up of the specific offices. But, without more transparent and comprehensive data sharing about such matters, we really don’t know. These are matters pertaining to our working conditions most directly, but they also affect how colleagues collaborate and are rewarded for their work, and how the work we do as scholars becomes reflective of our work environment.
The Alliance of Distinguished and Titled Professors should not only seek to promote excellent in research and teaching but should also endeavor to mentor promising junior colleagues. Specifically, they should assist junior colleagues pursue national fellowships, grants and work to include them in national honor societies. Additionally, they should also urge their respective colleges to foster a milieu that is conducive to excellence in research and teaching and to the maintenance of academic freedom especially at a time when the entire intellectual enterprise is under assault at a national level.
The Alliance of Distinguished and Titled Professors has a powerful influence on the IU Bloomington campus, influencing the strategic decisions of campus leadership and through doing so giving additional voice to the faculty. As the sole Research Scientist to be welcomed into the Alliance, I take seriously the responsibility of representation for colleagues across campus and with varying professional appointments. I see my potential role on the Steering Committee as one who would work to encourage greater mentorship and collaboration across units, but also across rank and title, to encourage a vibrant cross-campus research community and to promote excellence for all faculty and the University as a whole.
The Alliance has the opportunity and responsibility to advise senior leadership on policies and practices that support faculty contributions to research, teaching, and service, and that enhance the University’s excellence in these areas. Doing so requires that Alliance members maintain strong relations with our faculty colleagues while also promoting productive dialogue with senior leadership. If elected, I look forward to representing Alliance members in that dialogue.
The Alliance Steering Committee and its Co-Chairs have worked very well with IU senior administrators for many decades, advancing academic excellence for our beloved institution. I believe we should continue enriching this extraordinary working relationship for a brighter future as IU has become one of the world’s top-tier institutions of higher learning. Toward this goal, I believe we should continue to emphasize: