• February 10, 2016

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February 10, 2016, 1:49:26 pm *
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News: Talk about how to cope with chronic illness, disability, and other health issues in the academic workplace.
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 on: Today at 01:37:21 pm 
Started by MaterialIssue - Last post by MaterialIssue
I know thank you notes are well-trod territory but I didn't find anything in the archives about a campus visit where the candidate is interviewed by both the President and the Provost. In that instance, should there also be thank you notes to them? The thinking is they have likely the busiest schedules and, thus, had to make the most accommodation to see a candidate.

 on: Today at 01:34:34 pm 
Started by kare5372 - Last post by kare5372
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 on: Today at 01:31:23 pm 
Started by mbelvadi - Last post by daniel_von_flanagan
I actually did look for a way to contact the author about the problem before I gave up and posted here. We all used to post correction requests for basic article errors in the comments but since very few articles allow that now, we've lost that channel of communication with the editors/authors, not just each other.
Interesting.  I used to correct articles by emailing the author; you could get their email by clicking on their name.  The Chronicle has removed that functionality. - DvF

 on: Today at 01:22:35 pm 
Started by prytania3 - Last post by octoprof
We are off to his pre-op appointment.

 on: Today at 01:21:11 pm 
Started by faber - Last post by faber
When I ask for letters of recommendation, does it matter if they are confidential or not? Do search committees care? Do they place more stock in confidential rec letters?

 on: Today at 01:17:08 pm 
Started by tuxedo_cat - Last post by tenured_feminist
There are lots of reasons why someone may not be able to refuse to write. Suppose, for instance, that harasser's advisor is the putative chair of your tenure committee. As another example, I'd personally find it hard to remain on a committee for someone if I couldn't write, but withdrawing from a committee near the very end of the process can generate horrible problems as well, and the lack of a letter from a committee member can be a red flag.

I do think there's a legitimate question about the ethics of what one should report in a letter. I once had an undergraduate withdraw a request because I told her that I could not write without mentioning the act of academic dishonesty that she committed in my class. However there are other circumstances in which I can see saying what I can honestly say that's positive and omitting any other topics. If I as an advisor or committee member say nothing at all about teaching or collegiality AND don't explain why I have no information to address these topics, I am speaking volumes to people who know me. I was once in the very awkward position of having to withdraw a previously submitted LOR and replace it with a shorter one after reliable information came to light that changed what I could honestly say about an academic job candidate.

Where I draw the line is that if someone asks me, I will be honest or I will say honestly why I decline to answer questions. But I am also at a career stage where I don't think I'd ever be in a position of not being able to refuse to write.

Also let's keep in mind that the primary individually oriented reason for the continued existence of harassers in the academy is not that their targets refuse to file formal complaints and people allow/encourage them to move on to other places. It's that harassers choose to continue their repellent behavior. I'm kind of troubled by the "if only people had done XYZ to stop or divert him" frame, which presupposes the continued presence of harassers as if they are part of the air that we breathe.

 on: Today at 01:05:41 pm 
Started by tuxedo_cat - Last post by magnemite
Why can't this person refuse to write a letter? Also, if the scenario described is true your friend should tell this person why s/he can't write them a favorable letter.

I agree, and also don't see why one can't refuse to write a letter. Alternately, one can agree to write a letter but warn the candidate that one thinks the no-contact order is relevant and needs to be mentioned, which is a sure recipe to get the candidate to drop the letter request. Either way it'll create some bad blood, but if you're not directly responsible for supervising the student and have tenure...

My own harasser has bounced around, leaving one place for another once there gets to be too much heat. I can't help but think that the silence surrounding his behaviour has contributed to its persistence, in addition to making it easy for him to find new hunting grounds.

I understand that the OP's epistemic situation may not be ideal with respect to knowing what happened, that there may be mitigating circumstances (maybe), that it may be part of a pattern unlikely to spread, etc. But, honestly, I think it's relevant, and that it's not really worth risking silence. The OP should definitely talk to someone higher up the foodchain about it, however, and make sure she isn't violating any laws/university regulations by mentioning that kind of thing in a letter (if that's the path she chooses).

The OP's friend should perhaps discuss the concern with the grad student's advisor- simply by asking "knowing about this situation, how will you handle this in references you write?" - their answer would be revealing, and the OP's friend can be low-key about the issue.

For the letter- and I'll presume there are reasons not to simply say no- one could comment on the scholarly aspects, but I would (given what we read here) also feel it important to add in a clear (but non-specific with regard to the contact order and other details) statement/warning that the person does not work very well in a group or advising setting. That would be enough to warn off folks in my field- but ymmv.

 on: Today at 12:59:52 pm 
Started by prytania3 - Last post by tenured_feminist
He's still hoping he will manage to skate out, at worst just losing the midterm and having to count double whatever he does on the final. He had access to nothing but the midterm, and didn't know when he got it that it was going to be the same test. But from what he says, it's possible that a couple of kids in the class have had stuff since day one and have known all along that the instructor was recycling. This whole thing could also possibly go back more than one year. The school had originally told the entire class last week that the investigation would wrap up in a few days, but now there is no end in sight. Mr. T_F is rather exercised because we just got a notification that we are expected to go through the registration process and pay up for semester two of the university credit aspect of the class. At this point it's not clear to me that anyone in the class is going to receive credit for the first semester. Mr. T_F wants to pull him from the class and put him back in regular physics, but I'm in favor of waiting to see how all of this resolves, and I am not sure it would even be possible to shift him at this point.

I just wish that whatever they are going to do, they could come up with some resolution now for at least some of the kids, especially those whom everyone concedes never had access to anything, and then do whatever they need to do with the rest. But from the letter we got yesterday, it seems like they are not going to resolve anything for anyone until they untangle the entire ball of wax.

Ironically, my department runs a completely separate UHS program in a different discipline. I got in touch with our departmental liaison today to ask her to inform our high school instructors about this whole thing and encourage them not to recycle tests. Apparently TPTB on the university side are keeping this whole thing under wraps, because this was the first she'd heard about it. Sigh.

 on: Today at 12:57:25 pm 
Started by octoprof - Last post by familydoc
Looking at the pattern, they use it as a sewn in interfacing for the entire front of the jacket. I think I might try doubling up on regular sew-in interfacing instead. I think I will give this pattern a try, because I must admit it is a very nice looking jacket.

 on: Today at 12:55:34 pm 
Started by bronwyn69 - Last post by bronwyn69
Hi, Forumites. I've been searching on our university's IRB website, as well as Google, but am coming up empty-handed. Maybe someone on the fora has an answer for this.

An investigator put in an application to the IRB to conduct interviews with service providers about the legal work they do for their clients. (I'm one of the IRB reviewers.) They're proposing to ask open-ended questions, and want the freedom to include prompts along the lines of, 'Can you tell me more about that?', 'Could you elaborate on ____________________?' (Fill in the blank with something that came up in the prior answer.) They also want permission to deviate from the questions they've submitted as needed, should an interesting subtopic arise, but won't necessarily know about what subject area they'd deviate to until the interviews are underway.  My gut sense is that this is probably okay, since the nature of the study focuses on professional duties. Does anyone know of specific guidelines (e.g., from CITI, Belmont Report, NIH, etc.) that I could refer to? I'd like to give something more official than my gut sense.

Thanks for any thoughts.


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