Links for 4-3-2009

Scads of stuff I don't have time to blog adequately...

  • Johns Hopkins Provost Kristina Johnson was nominated by President Obama to be under secretary of the Department of Energy in mid-March. From the email press release:

    She is a distinguished researcher, best known for pioneering work -- with widespread scientific and commercial application -- in the field of "smart pixel arrays." Last year, she was awarded the John Fritz Medal, widely considered the highest award in engineering and previously given to Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, George Westinghouse and Orville Wright. She is an entrepreneur and has served with distinction as dean of engineering at Duke and, since 2007, as provost at Johns Hopkins.

    I should have blogged that for the last Diversity in Science carnival!

  • Isis smacks down the whiny jerkwads always complaining about "illegals" stealing "our jobs". You know, the ones the whiny jerkwads don't want to do.
  • Bean-mom left this very meaty comment three days ago on the motherhood/science careers issue,and it got lost in moderation. Check it out. Also check out her blog!

More stuff after the jump.

  • 3rd Annual Conference on Understanding Interventions that Broaden Participation in Research Careers - May 7-9, 2009 - Bethesda North Marriott, Maryland (Washington DC metro area)

    This conference was established to facilitate dissemination and exchange of hypothesis-based research on interventions and initiatives that broaden participation in science and engineering research careers. The conference is designed to create a dialogue among behavioral/social science and education researchers, evaluators, and faculty in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields who participate in intervention programs. Graduate students in these fields are strongly encouraged to attend. Workshops, sessions, and posters will communicate effective strategies from successful STEM intervention programs, present results from empirical research studies, and synthesize the translation of research findings into practice on STEM learning, undergraduate research, graduate education, and student retention.

  • What do you wish you knew about tenure? Leslie M. Phinney provides some insight in a column at Inside Higher Ed.

    Tenure is an individual accomplishment that can be all consuming and absorbing twenty-four-seven for the first decade or two of an academic career. Tenure is also like gambling in a casino or joining a fraternity, and a tenure case is like a hunk of Swiss cheese, as I'll explain below. Here are nine facets of tenure and the tenure process, including potential pitfalls and suggestions for success that I wish I'd known when I started as a mechanical engineering assistant professor.

  • Registration is now open for the 2009 LEAD: Leadership Excellence for Academic Diversity Workshop for Science and Engineering Department Chairs. The workshop is June 22-23, 2009 in Fayetteville, AR. To help support faculty or department chairs with limited resources, there is a travel fund application. LEAD is a series of national leadership workshops, offered annually, for department chairs, deans and emerging leaders in science, engineering and mathematics (SEM), which address departmental and university culture and the professional development of faculty.
  • And this link I've been holding onto since February 12...Sexual Harassment and Group Punishment, from Inside Higher Ed. Gary Rhoades writes about required sexual harassment training and the question of whether it is effective, especially short online training modules. He notes this isn't the only area in which faculty members are required to submit to training, citing the example of human subjects research training. Near the end he asks this question:

    ...given the premise that sexual harassment has been and continues to be a phenomenon that we need to address and reduce, if not eliminate, how can such change be effected?

    This question leads to my third observation, which is that the change we seek requires an exercise of political will and an excising of cultural ills. With regard to the former, the policies and laws are in place to enable supervisors to act fairly yet aggressively when sexual harassment takes place. If we provide and cultivate the mechanisms to enable the reporting of what research suggests is an underreported behavior, then the structures are in place if academic (and other) administrators at various levels will systematically and appropriately be receptive to reports of harassment, forcefully pursue those cases, and perhaps most important of all, be evaluated by their own supervisors according to whether they do so. With regard to the excising of cultural ills, we must all take responsibility to embed in our daily lives a pattern of interaction that clarifies, monitors, and maintains boundaries of appropriate behavior. Among the cultural ills we need to address head on is not only sexual harassment (and a range of hostile and chilly climate issues), but also the academic cultural norm of not confronting the bad behavior of peers. An argument could be made that as a profession academics are much better at disputing colleagues' scholarly positions and ideas than we are at sanctioning the behaviors of peers...It is our responsibility as a profession, to embed in our consciousness and in our daily practice a vigorous commitment to and promotion of a profession free from sexual (and other forms of) harassment. Fulfilling that responsibility (which runs much deeper than public but relatively superficial, virtual steps like requiring everyone to undergo training) will better enable us as a profession to benefit and learn from increasingly diverse populations of colleagues and students, thereby more fully realizing our potential as an academy and as a society.

    Right on, Gary. (Emphasis added by me.)


    More like this

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Posted this at Isis' blog, but thought I might ask you the same thing.

    In Postville Iowa last spring there was an INS operation that shutdown the Agriproccessors plant resulting in the arrest of about 400 workers who had entered the United States illegally. At this point, a large number of the people who managed the plant are facing charges of violating numerous labor laws, including child labor, otherwise taking advantage of the working in renting them housing and selling them vehicles, the plant is bankrupt and the city of Postville is economically crippled.

    The successful operation of the plant was based upon abusing and taking advantage of these workers. I'm certain this is not an isolated incident, take a look at tomato farming in Florida for example. So I am a little confused on your defense of a system clearly designed to abuse and take advantage of people.

    How do you square that?

    Nice trolling. Who in their right mind would defend "a system clearly designed to abuse and take advantage of people"? Obviously, that's not an accurate representation of my words or intent. Nor is it of Isis's post, which, if you had bothered to actually read and listen to what she says, you would know. Saying that one should not demonize illegal immigrants, advocating that perhaps they ought to be treated decently and given access to reasonable opportunities in this country, is clearly not the same thing as supporting the system that exploits them and their labor. But you knew that before you left your comment.

    Zuska, if you use one of the primary arguments of those defending the system, "Americans don't want those jobs anyway," it shouldn't suprise you if someone sees you as defending the system.

    If youâre slightly familiar with my blog, you know that Iâm currently involved in a sexual harassment legal nightmare: the second day after meeting my new boss at my new job, the married SOB grabbed me, kissed my neck, and propositioned me three times! I notified the CEO and human resources. Nothing was done. I needed to be hospitalized, to take anti-anxiety/anti-depression medicationâmost recently, my job threatened to have me arrested for theft because I didnât return their laptop as quickly as they wanted. Now, my lawyer is fighting with their lawyer (and I am finding out, painfully, that the law is very weak to protect/help victims of sexual harassment/discrimination. In fact, the law goes out of its way to protect small companies like mine from being sued for sexual harassment!).
    Anyway, since this nightmare has consumed my life for the past several months and will likely consume my life, time, and attention for the next several months, I figured I might as well try to make something positive come out of all of this.

    WHO AM I?
    Despite my âCrazySexyMetalChick!â moniker, Iâm actually an honest to goodness writer/scholar:
    I have a B.A. in Professional Writing from Penn State, Summa Cum Laude, 2008.
    I received the Penn State Professional Writing Program Achievement Award, 2008.
    I was a news writer and copy editor for the Penn State Collegian.
    I was published in New York Newsday at age 12.

    By the end of this year, I should receive my M.A. in Liberal Studies from Stony Brook (Iâd like to go onto the Ph.D. after that). However, I must complete a research paper/project. For my project, Iâm considering a study of individualsâ experiences with sexual harassment, company policies regarding sexual harassment (both written policy and what is actually doneâoften two very different things!), the application of the law, the inefficiency of current laws, the differing verbal/nonverbal communication styles of men and women in the workplace and how this can lead to sexual harassment, etc.
    Iâd like to collect and examine stories of sexual harassment from women (and men), preferably current situations or situations which have occurred within the last 5 years.

    1.Iâm a Humanities/Social Sciences grad student. Everyone knows that such academic pursuits are strictly labors of love and as such, students in these pursuits deserve to be pitied and helped. Besides, maybe I can get my research paper published (not for profit, of course), and we all have an obligation to help push knowledge forward.
    2.Sharing your story would likely be cathartic for you as well as for me.

    Iâll likely be collecting stories until 9/2009 or 10/2009, since my paper will be due 12/2009. If you think you have a story youâd like to share with me, please email me:
    Thanks! Love yas!