Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Practical Suggestion

"I've been in academia for 20 years.  During that time I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many talented male and female scholars.  I’ve also watched a disproportionate number of the female scholars in this group drop out of grad school, be denied tenure and fail to reach the highest levels of professional success.  As one of the few women who have made it to full professor at an elite research university, I often ask myself, 'Where have all the women gone?'"  Read it all. 

We can discuss whether quantifying citations -- or recording" impact factor" -- is a legitimate way to assess actual scholarly significance.  For a humanities field that relies less on journals than it does on books, this may be a flawed methodology.  We can also discuss whether or not "full professor at an elite research university" is, and should be, the goal of every one who pursues an academic career.  However, well done to B. F. Walter for making a practical, achievable suggestion for a minor policy change that could potentially have very significant results.  

Once upon a time, I submitted a thesis to a university that did blind evaluations.  I was given a number, and the readers had no idea who I was.  I was awarded a very high mark.  Would I have gotten that high mark if the readers had seen my name?

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