The Chronicle of Higher Education
By SHEILA O'ROURKE
From the issue dated September 26, 2008
Any university that is seriously committed to equity must value faculty contributions to diversity made through teaching, research, and service. If diversity is truly part of the core academic mission, it should be included in the criteria used to evaluate and reward faculty achievement. Toward this end, the faculty of the University of California's 10-campus system, through the Academic Senate, has recently developed amendments to the instructions for faculty-review committees that give recognition to faculty work promoting diversity and equal opportunity.
The system's policy on faculty appointment and promotion calls for the highest standards of excellence in teaching, research, and service. The amended policy states: "The University of California is committed to excellence and equity in every facet of its mission. Teaching, research, professional and public service contributions that promote diversity and equal opportunity are to be encouraged and given recognition in the evaluation of the candidate's qualifications."
The policy articulates examples in each area of faculty evaluation, stating: "These contributions to diversity and equal opportunity can take a variety of forms, including efforts to advance equitable access to education, public service that addresses the needs of California's diverse population, or research in a scholar's area of expertise that highlights inequalities."
The new policy language acknowledges the history of exclusion that has created lasting disparities in higher education and society as a whole. It recognizes that these disparities are public problems that can and should be addressed by the teaching, research, and service work of the University of California's faculty members.
Some faculty members have objected to considering contributions to diversity in the evaluation process, citing the imposition of "political correctness" and limitations on academic freedom. [To read the entire story, go to: http://chronicle.com/weekly/v55/i05/05b04101.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en ]