In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.
Yesterday, I asked my wise and worldly readers to make the call in the following scenario, and I’m happy to report that many stepped up and did just that.
The Basketweaving department has a few long-serving full-time faculty, and a host of adjuncts. One of the adjuncts has been there longer than most, and has been conspicuous in going above and beyond to help the department. Let’s call her SuperAdjunct.
The department has a retirement, and gets the opportunity to hire a full-time replacement. It drafts a job description, assembles a search committee, and starts the process. But the chair openly refers to the position as rightfully SuperAdjunct’s, and seems to resent even having to go through a process when it’s clear what the outcome should be. Meanwhile, HR is pushing for the full, open process, on the grounds that anything less is discriminatory.
Now, let’s add a wrinkle, just to make things interesting. SuperAdjunct is white. The college has an affirmative action policy, and it has identified diversifying its faculty as a goal. In these circumstances, do you side with the chair, or with HR?