Recommendations for Members Engaged in Institutional Policy Formation, Hiring, and Peer Review for Promotion,
Tenure, and Publishing
Improving the go-to solutions: stopping the clock and Covid impact statements. Many schools responded to the disruptive impacts of Covid by offering faculty an extra year of tenure time and graduate students an additional year of funding. We affirm these measures as a good step in the face of the traumas and challenges of the past year. These measures, however, are not universal across institutions. Further, in many places, faculty have to choose to opt-in by reporting specific impacts of Covid on their lives or work production. This creates a dangerous divide in which the burden of reporting, including details about family life or other personal concerns, falls more heavily on those already most burdened by the pandemic itself. This reality, and the valid fear of potential reprisal or judgment within an institution, may cause faculty to choose not to ask for time extensions or report the reality of their situation—making them manage this Covid crisis without support. We, therefore, advise that schools provide tenure and funding relief measures uniformly across campus without mandating requests from specific faculty. Similarly, for institutions accepting Covid-impact statements, we recommend that this be requested uniformly across campus as well. We believe that advocating for these kinds of measures should primarily be taken on by full professors and administration. We also emphasize that giving "more time" is not enough of a response in itself, with the effects of this pandemic continuing well into 2021 and likely to extend for years still both in America and across the world. Finally, we advise our colleagues and their institutions to research and correct historical gendered imbalances in income and accrued retirement earnings for those faculty who have delayed promotion and tenure to create a family life. Stopping the clock may treat faculty of all genders equally, but it has not proven to be an equitable practice.
For scholars reviewing files for tenure, promotion, and hiring. As we begin to resume our work in the academy, we urge faculty members who comprise tenure and promotion committees as well as hiring committees to review academic candidates with new standards in mind that reflect the equity that this moment demands. More specifically, we ask senior faculty, chairs, deans, and university presidents to set a new tone for their institutions by emphasizing the importance of quality over quantity in evaluating scholarship and artistic production. The pandemic affected faculty productivity and slowed down the peer review process, subsequently making it difficult to maintain the research standards we once had in place. Committees should acknowledge increased workloads for transforming courses to remote learning as well as new forms of mentorship and counseling in this time of crisis. Additionally, we urge our scholarly communities to embrace a new and expansive definition of what counts as scholarship. Many faculty have taken on extra academic burdens in the forms of creating and facilitating workshops and seminars, community forums, op-eds, digital content, etc. Our members, especially those in countries who have experienced increased racial unrest, police brutality, and gender-based violence, have fielded such requests tirelessly. This work is a kind of scholarship we have overlooked in the past, despite the fact that it transforms our communities (and the larger society) in which we live and work. Finally, as scholars prepare themselves to submit their files for tenure and promotion or simply work to secure their teaching line as non-tenured faculty, we seek enhanced mentorship programs for these colleagues.
Crisis Preparedness. If the pandemic and the continued effects of climate change have taught us anything, it is the need for greater crisis preparedness in institutional policy. Such policies must be informed by the mountain of research being produced on the differential impacts crises place on women faculty, faculty of color, and international faculty.
Where are the men? Nearly all articles cited for this statement were authored by women scholars. We urge our male colleagues to seek out and step into mentoring roles, to serve as advocates for the measures detailed above, and to actively promote the value of emotional, relational labor in our institutions. Part of the burden of this pandemic and the inequity it has highlighted include having to prove or justify its effects. Because we trust that the impact is evident, we urge our colleagues to show and explain its impact to others. Most importantly, we are asking our male colleagues to actively collaborate and help manage the establishment of the above equitable policies at their institutions.