Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Minorities in Engineering
Tenure and the tenure process in particular, has been criticized for being biased, prejudicial and inherently discriminatory. This based on quantitative data and qualitative studies from numerous reputable institutions.
From a quantitative perspective, data provided by the Chronicle of Higher Education, Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Society for Engineering Education, Brookings, Education Advisory Board and others, support analysis of percent tenured to population availability within given races, genders, cultures and ethnicities.
Tenure, as it exists generally, is a closed system. As such, it has strong potential to promote groupthink, capitalize on coercion among lesser-seniority associate professors, and openly invite a natural bias and subsequent prejudice. The unconscious mind of individuals in a closed tenure system can and may, very naturally, extend their beliefs, biases, and prejudices against those who are not like them. This can contribute directly to the lack of “different” genders and underrepresented minorities in the tenured ranks of the academy. While it is easy, as a voting member to suggest otherwise, the data suggests this may be true. Similar minds tend to think alike. In this scenario, similar minds in a closed system, through micro inequities and preconceived biases, and subsequently through the crime of coercion and the psychological phenomenon of groupthink, clearly provide the opportunity and materialization of discrimination.
This paper will address the basic subconscious and unconscious behavioral characteristics at the root of tenure decisions. It will look at the process itself and how the process errors on the side of an often times referred to “collegiality”. This paper will lay a foundation for making better, more informed decisions. It will address the business case for inclusivity, and how it differs from the traditional training attendant to legal implications.
Of all the discussion around the tenure process, this paper addresses the most blatant, widely recognized, seemingly tolerated, marginally addressed and hurtful aspects of the tenure process.
Springer, M. L. (2018, June), Tenure as a Closed System: Subconscious Behavioral Characteristics of Coercion, Groupthink, Bias and Inherent Discrimination Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/31074
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