Friday, February 8, 2008

Regents deny tenure appeal of intelligent design professor

Yea! I know, I know, that sounds cruel for Prof Gonzalez -- but his appeal based on Intelligent Design should have never happened! "Regents deny tenure appeal of intelligent design professor" tells some of the tale.

He claims to have met the requirements of tenure, but the information he wished to present on his behalf had nothing to do with the requirements for tenure. If he had evidence that he met the tenure requirements, that would make sense.

For those of you who have never worked in Academia, tenure is not a right, but a select privilege designed to provide job security and a certain amount of freedom from oversight. Tenure is one of the responses to draw people into teaching because the wages really, really suck! But it is not a right!

When you apply and are accepted for a tenure-seeking position there is usually a laundry-list of things you must do. You are also given a time-frame, something in the neighborhood of 5 years. On that list is usually things like publish, advise graduate students, teach lots of classes, perform research, bring in external money for research, among other things. The decision to grant tenure is based on all of them, plus how well you work with your peers, support department policies, and present yourself as a member of the faculty and staff.

If Prof. Gonzales had done these things, he might have had a chance at his tenure review, but according to his track record he failed. In over 7 years he had ONE grad student complete their thesis, raised less that 1/50th the amount of research money, and had no significant scientific publications. Yes, he published at least one book outside his field of Astronomy, which supported Intelligent Design, but nothing within his field. Why should he have been granted tenure?

His cries of academic freedom fell on deaf ears, because they DO NOT APPLY in this case. One of the things tenure is designed to do is allow professors the freedom to teach and research controversial subjects, one possibly not supported by the school. But even then it only applies within his area of expertise, Astronomy! Spending all his time in an area that is not even recognized as science tells me either he isn't a very intelligent professor -- because he should have known what was going to happen -- or he set himself up as the academic-freedom-poster-child at the urging of those less-than-stalwart fellows of at the Discovery Institute. Does make me think, how about you?

In truth, he failed to do his job as a tenure-seeking professor! He should pick an institution like Liberty University, you know Jerry Falwell's personal little slice of fundie heaven, for his next job. He can join Nathaniel Abraham who is teaching there. Nate was fired from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute for refusing to do aspects of his job involving Evolution because he didn't believe in Evolution. They should get along well together!

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