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Author Topic: When you are unlikeable?  (Read 8282 times)
yellowtractor
Vice-Provost of the University of the South-East Corner of Donkeyshire (formerly Donkeyshire Polytechnic) (a Post-1992 University) and also a
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« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2012, 6:09:20 PM »

OP, are you still there?  Some excellent advice here, but really we can't say more until we know a little bit more about the circumstances of your denial (if, that is, you care to share--that's fine if you don't).

Mostly I'm wondering whether you've exhausted the appeals process at your institution.  If your credentials were indeed as golden as you say, then you should have had an excellent chance of appealing.

And yes, if your candidacy was in fact as you describe, and you've exhausted your appeals, you should be speaking to a lawyer (and not just any lawyer:  one with some experience in dealing with such cases).
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mleok
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« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2013, 7:07:18 AM »

And yes, if your candidacy was in fact as you describe, and you've exhausted your appeals, you should be speaking to a lawyer (and not just any lawyer:  one with some experience in dealing with such cases).

Before you contemplate the legal challenge, ask yourself if you really want to stay at the current institution, since a legal battle over a tenure denial will make it much more difficult to move to another institution at some later date.
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ruralguy
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« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2013, 3:25:49 PM »

I'll go with the "we don't have the full story..." contingent, and drop this thread until we hear
from the OP.
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dazed
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« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2013, 8:14:10 PM »

We may not have the whole story, but is it that difficult to believe someone could be denied tenure for likeability issues?  If it is the case you were denied tenure, as you mention, because you are not likeable, then I would say you might wish to examine this in some depth.  Ask yourself first, is being denied tenure such a bad thing?  After all, it appears that this may not be the place for you if you are unable to get along with your colleagues. Secondly, and more importantly, how much of the likeability issue are your fault?  After all, you don't want to track problems to your next institution. 

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exile4ever
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« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2013, 11:58:42 PM »

I have the same problem as against the tide.  I am being denied tenure even though I exceeded all the requirements, and had more achievements on my dossier than others who were awarded tenure.
In my case, I think I was disliked by colleagues because I tended to participate in initiatives of the Dean. I thought I was being a good citizen, but did not find out until too late that powerful colleagues in the Dept. did not care much for the Dean's initiatives.
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ruralguy
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« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2013, 12:04:48 PM »

Please explain:

At many schools, the Dean decides (ultimately, after recieving a recommendation from a T&P committee).
Your Dean doesn't have a role in this?
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prytania3
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« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2013, 12:40:52 PM »

I have the same problem as against the tide.  I am being denied tenure even though I exceeded all the requirements, and had more achievements on my dossier than others who were awarded tenure.
In my case, I think I was disliked by colleagues because I tended to participate in initiatives of the Dean. I thought I was being a good citizen, but did not find out until too late that powerful colleagues in the Dept. did not care much for the Dean's initiatives.

Being a dean's darling is rarely a good position.
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prof_twocents
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« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2013, 3:28:43 PM »

I have the same problem as against the tide.  I am being denied tenure even though I exceeded all the requirements, and had more achievements on my dossier than others who were awarded tenure.
In my case, I think I was disliked by colleagues because I tended to participate in initiatives of the Dean. I thought I was being a good citizen, but did not find out until too late that powerful colleagues in the Dept. did not care much for the Dean's initiatives.

Being a dean's darling is rarely a good position.

Indeed, most faculty feel a Dean should be rarely seen or heard, because a very visible Dean usually dreams up more work for faculty to do without compensation.
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exile4ever
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« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2013, 10:15:33 PM »

Yes, you nailed it. Our Dean is one of those types who thinks up more work for no more compensation, so faculty hate the Dean. I was basically trying to spare myself the wrath of the Dean by doing projects that we were  basically ordered to do by the Dean and the Provost. I had been warned that some faculty would hold it against me for doing the "special education initiative project" (code for putting slides and quizzes on Blackboard), but I could not really back out of it without bringing the wrath of the Dean on our Department Chair. The Chair initially said that she would support me for saving her job, but somehow forgot about that.

I eventually  asked someone why certain faculty would throw extreme tantrums over something so benign as using the course management software. It turns out there has been feuds between senior faculty members simmering under the surface for years, and there was opposition to the program I was brought in to handle long before I arrived. The trouble was not really about me.

Anyway, my point here is that you can become unlikeable by trying to please everyone and be likeable. The unlikeables of this thread may be doing no harm other than trying to do their job well. In my case, I don't know whether to try to take my case to the Provost before the final decision is made, wait and appeal, or give up and become a dog groomer
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proftowanda
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« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2013, 11:34:48 PM »

Hmmm, never thought of it that way, but grooming dogs and appeasing deans do have a lot in common.

I'm going to chuckle a lot, the next time that I do the checklist for what the groomer needs to do to our doggers.

on edit:  But, as I meant to add:  I'm sorry that you got sucked into this.  Yes, wait -- and appeal, if need be. 
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 11:36:18 PM by proftowanda » Logged

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« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2013, 11:52:10 PM »

or because you didn't STFU all the time (especially regarding standards of education and ethical issues)...

This seems like the most telling sentence.  I'm making a big inferential leap here, but there are faculty who have unrealistically high, unusual, or impractical standards about how a school should be run.  Everyone else around them disagrees.  The faculty is tone-deaf to the disapproval, and when he does got get his way he makes even more noise.  Eventually that person becomes a thorn in the side of administration, loses any friends he had in the faculty, and becomes utterly isolated.  The tenure denial is the pruning of a dead branch from an otherwise healthy tree.  The faculty, however, thinks that he a martyr for excellence and the entire university is incompetent.
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prof_twocents
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« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2013, 2:20:27 AM »

or because you didn't STFU all the time (especially regarding standards of education and ethical issues)...

This seems like the most telling sentence.  I'm making a big inferential leap here, but there are faculty who have unrealistically high, unusual, or impractical standards about how a school should be run.  Everyone else around them disagrees.  The faculty is tone-deaf to the disapproval, and when he does got get his way he makes even more noise.  Eventually that person becomes a thorn in the side of administration, loses any friends he had in the faculty, and becomes utterly isolated.  The tenure denial is the pruning of a dead branch from an otherwise healthy tree.  The faculty, however, thinks that he a martyr for excellence and the entire university is incompetent.

I worked with exactly that person. He left before coming up for tenure, but otherwise that describes him 100% spot on.
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voxprincipalis
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« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2013, 2:25:41 AM »

Hmmm, never thought of it that way, but grooming dogs and appeasing deans do have a lot in common.

Yes -- in both cases they poop wherever the hell they like and it's someone else's job to clean up the mess.

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msparticularity
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« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2013, 2:44:36 PM »

or because you didn't STFU all the time (especially regarding standards of education and ethical issues)...

This seems like the most telling sentence.  I'm making a big inferential leap here, but there are faculty who have unrealistically high, unusual, or impractical standards about how a school should be run.  Everyone else around them disagrees.  The faculty is tone-deaf to the disapproval, and when he does got get his way he makes even more noise.  Eventually that person becomes a thorn in the side of administration, loses any friends he had in the faculty, and becomes utterly isolated.  The tenure denial is the pruning of a dead branch from an otherwise healthy tree.  The faculty, however, thinks that he a martyr for excellence and the entire university is incompetent.

I worked with exactly that person. He left before coming up for tenure, but otherwise that describes him 100% spot on.

There's another version of this, though, that is less clear-cut. There are many institutions that are trying to increase their research profiles and the quality of their teaching through hiring new faculty. In too many cases, though, they're doing it on the cheap: they're bringing in newly-minted PhDs rather than hiring one or two senior faculty members first and tenuring them. This leaves the hapless newcomer--who typically has been given very explicit direction by the Dean as to what is expected if s/he is to have any hope of being tenured--to do battle with the 25-30 year departmental veterans who are opposed to the changes, or who simply don't get it. These older faculty members may be very lovely people and dedicated teachers, but have no idea at all what it is like to both teach and to remain research-active. They also may not have updated their curricula for 20+ years, or have any sense of developments in the field during that time.

This is a pattern that I have seen play out in a number of departments at the two R-2 institutions where I have taught, and heard about in even more places. It's a scenario that calls for a range of political skills on the part of new faculty that I think it is simply unrealistic to expect. Even if these young faculty members are quiet and polite, and keep their mouths shut about what they are doing in their own courses, they may still come in for considerable pressure to conform to departmental norms--and be judged as uncollegial for failing to do so. IOW, it's a no-win buffalo. <interthreduality>
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proftowanda
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« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2013, 3:56:00 PM »

or because you didn't STFU all the time (especially regarding standards of education and ethical issues)...

This seems like the most telling sentence.  I'm making a big inferential leap here, but there are faculty who have unrealistically high, unusual, or impractical standards about how a school should be run.  Everyone else around them disagrees.  The faculty is tone-deaf to the disapproval, and when he does got get his way he makes even more noise.  Eventually that person becomes a thorn in the side of administration, loses any friends he had in the faculty, and becomes utterly isolated.  The tenure denial is the pruning of a dead branch from an otherwise healthy tree.  The faculty, however, thinks that he a martyr for excellence and the entire university is incompetent.

I worked with exactly that person. He left before coming up for tenure, but otherwise that describes him 100% spot on.

There's another version of this, though, that is less clear-cut. There are many institutions that are trying to increase their research profiles and the quality of their teaching through hiring new faculty. In too many cases, though, they're doing it on the cheap: they're bringing in newly-minted PhDs rather than hiring one or two senior faculty members first and tenuring them. This leaves the hapless newcomer--who typically has been given very explicit direction by the Dean as to what is expected if s/he is to have any hope of being tenured--to do battle with the 25-30 year departmental veterans who are opposed to the changes, or who simply don't get it. These older faculty members may be very lovely people and dedicated teachers, but have no idea at all what it is like to both teach and to remain research-active. They also may not have updated their curricula for 20+ years, or have any sense of developments in the field during that time.

This is a pattern that I have seen play out in a number of departments at the two R-2 institutions where I have taught, and heard about in even more places. It's a scenario that calls for a range of political skills on the part of new faculty that I think it is simply unrealistic to expect. Even if these young faculty members are quiet and polite, and keep their mouths shut about what they are doing in their own courses, they may still come in for considerable pressure to conform to departmental norms--and be judged as uncollegial for failing to do so. IOW, it's a no-win buffalo. <interthreduality>

You have described one of my former departments, when I was hired to be part of such a transition.

It was hell.
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"Face it, girls.  I'm older, and I have more insurance."     -- Towanda!
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