Home » Intelligent Design » Gonzalez’s Tenure Appeal Rejected by Iowa State University President Geoffroy

Gonzalez’s Tenure Appeal Rejected by Iowa State University President Geoffroy

Details HERE

TheBRITES.org

How accurate were the predictions of Dr. Ivan A. Conway Moore, Ph.E., Thomas Huxley Professor of Pugilistic Ideology at Iowa State University? Read More Moore…

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

41 Responses to Gonzalez’s Tenure Appeal Rejected by Iowa State University President Geoffroy

  1. Hopefully this will be the catalyst to expose Atheist/Secular humanist for who they are…

    Or the Rapture -

    Not a good sign for any person who denies Darwin and wants to go to academia

  2. Is there any possibility of redress? In the case of Richared Steinberg, he filed with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) that he was subjected to discrimination on the basis of perceived religious beliefs, and this later led to Congressional investigation and condemnation. Is that all the US Government can do?

    “Crucify him!” They said of Gonzales. And the modern-day Pilate at ISU crucified him.

    http://www.elearningstreams.co.....zalez.html

  3. Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy:

    I know extremely well how to assess the qualifications of a candidate seeking tenure. Over the past two decades — as dean of Penn State’s College of Science, provost at the University of Maryland and as president of Iowa State — I have reviewed and passed judgment on close to 1,000 faculty promotion and tenure cases.

    Do the math: Twenty years, times 52 weeks at 5 working days per week, minus vacation, holidays, sick days, etc., divided by 1,000 faculty promotion and tenure cases. This means that Geoffroy must have spent his entire working career evaluating faculty promotion and tenure cases, unless he rubber-stamped almost all of them with only cursory consideration.

    This guy is not fooling anyone. Guillermo outclasses others in his department by almost any measure. Geoffroy denied Guillermo’s tenure because Geoffroy is a coward, and has no respect for academic freedom or himself. Geoffroy knew that if he overturned the tenure denial he would be hounded out of his presidency and his career in academia would be destroyed. He ought to be honest enough to admit this.

    Some think that materialism/atheism represents a religion, but in academia I think this represents something more akin to a cult. No dissent in a cult is permitted, not even the most reasoned dissent, and those who refuse to bow to the cult’s idol are disposed of.

    Many in academia are mystified by the distrust that those of us in the real world have for them. If they want an explanation for this phenomenon, they need only look in the mirror, at least those like Geoffroy and Avalos.

  4. Darwinists are crucifying their own cause. The “unwashed masses” as they snobbishly call them, are smarter than they think. Sooner or later this despicable behavior WILL turn against them.

    This, plus the sham/hoax of human generated global warming, once the info finally hits public consciousness, will bring the public to turn away from trust in any scientists at all.

    Scientists will then garner the same trust given to politicians and lawyers — zilch.

    Recent poll statistics reveal that politicians have sunk below used car salesmen in public trust.

    Darwinists are leading science in the same direction. So go figure – who is really fighting science here?

  5. 5

    ISU Pres. Geoffroy said,

    And while I have not worked in Dr. Gonzalez’s field of astronomy, I have a significant understanding of the field and far greater experience than most university presidents. At Penn State, I worked closely with the astronomy faculty in advancing the department, and I reviewed many promotion and tenure dossiers in astronomy. I have also had more than a decade of service on national astronomy boards and committees, where I advised and led groups building telescopes, oversaw personnel appointments in astronomy and astrophysics, and frequently attended research presentations on the current and future directions of astronomy and astrophysics.

    I think he is talking through his hat. He is a professor of chemistry. Why would he be so heavily involved in other fields, astronomy and astrophysics? How was he qualified to be so heavily involved in those other fields?

    Also, the hastiness of his denial of Gonzalez’s appeal — he had until June 6 to make a decision but made it on June 1 — suggests that he knew some unpublicized information that is strongly in Gonzalez’s favor and he wanted to deny tenure before that information became public so he could claim that he was not aware of it and so that it played no part in his decision. For details, see –

    http://im-from-missouri.blogsp.....enure.html

  6. Do the math: Twenty years, times 52 weeks at 5 working days per week, minus vacation, holidays, sick days, etc., divided by 1,000 faculty promotion and tenure cases.

    Let’s give Geoffroy 220 working days per year. That comes to 4,400 working days over 20 years.

    Granted he might say he was working weekends etc. but administrators at publically funded educational institutions never struck me as being the hardest working or the most couragous bunch.

    It sounds like a whole lot of rubber stamping.

  7. This development is truly a crying shame. Though the recent evidence is clearly indicating that the earth appears to be extremely unique in this universe, Gonzalez is apparently being descriminated against because of his personal beliefs that this condition is the result of intelligent design. No where else in American society is such blatant descrimination tolerated. I can only hope that greater good will somehow manage to rise out of the ashes.

  8. No where else in American society is such blatant descrimination tolerated.

    And the irony is that academia theoretically prides itself in tolerance and diversity — tolerance and diversity as long as everyone thinks the same, and no sacred cows are challenged.

  9. And the irony is that academia theoretically prides itself in tolerance and diversity — tolerance and diversity as long as everyone thinks the same, and no sacred cows are challenged.

    I don’t know that this figured in to the tenure denial, but it can’t have helped that GG is the “wrong kind” of Hispanic (Cuban) and Hector Avalos is the “right kind” (Mexican). The secular left has no use for the former, while celebrating the latter.

  10. 10

    One of the criteria stated by President Geoffroy for denying Gonzalez tenure is — ability to attract outside grants.

    Two questions ( which I hope you can help answer ) :

    1) Did ISU tenure guideline mention outside grants as a consideration in tenure decisions ?

    2) If so, how much outside grant ( size of grant ) should one attract in Astronomy in order to be considered acceptable for tenure ? I thought Gonzalez had attracted grants from the Discovery Institute and the Templeton Foundation …

    Does anyone know the size of Gonzalez’s grants compared to his tenured peers at ISU in the Department of Astronomy ?

  11. There used to be a link where you could watch The Privileged Planet online. Does anyone know where that link is?

  12. There used to be a link where you could watch The Privileged Planet online. Does anyone know where that link is?

    http://www.theapologiaproject......ibrary.htm

  13. seekandfind

    1) Did ISU tenure guideline mention outside grants as a consideration in tenure decisions ?

    No, it does not. Presumably grants are required to conduct original reearch and original research is required to publish peer reviewed papers that are cited by others. Thus the tenure guidelines use published papers as the performance metric in research. Gonzalez publishing record is stellar (pun intended) so the question of grants is irrelevant.

  14. H’mm:

    1] Tenure appeal rejected, even ahead of hte deadline

    Sad, but unsurprising.

    Long run, this is going to come back to haunt those involved . . . adn it will taint the credibility of Science too.

    Yet another case in point on how science, question-begging metaphysics and politics make a very bad mixture.

    2] Grantmaking and research productivity

    Dave Scott has made an excellent point — the point of grants is research so the proper direct measure is, research.

    GEM of TKI

  15. Dave Scott has made an excellent point — the point of grants is research so the proper direct measure is, research

    in some utopian society, yes. But, in the University, the point of grants is to generate indirect costs for the University.

    I have seen some of the best teachers, and even good researchers not get tenure because the dirty-little-secret is that of grant money. Yes, Universities talk about teaching, service, and research, and that a tenure candidate should be excellent in one, and competent in one other. But, at the end of the day, it really does come down to research dollars.

    So, GG may have been able to conduct great research on little money, but at the end of the day, the University wants the money.

    That is also why Universities like NIH or NSF grants better than USDA grants because the IDC are just so much higher.

    I know of another Department that often asks:

    do we see this person as a potential inductee into the National Academy of Science?

    there are alot of things not in the tenure guidelines that become the most important part of the tenure process. That is what makes the University so insolar.

  16. 16

    RE:

    ——————
    there are alot of things not in the tenure guidelines that become the most important part of the tenure process. That is what makes the University so insolar
    ——————

    Well folks, there are 2 other issues raised by President Geoffroy aside from the grants ( which he never bothered to compare with GG’s tenured peers and which he never bothered to state HOW MUCH to be considered satsifactory and which was not even in the tenure guidelines ).

    The other two issues are :

    1) The amount of telescope observing time GG had been granted…

    I have asked this question before — is this within the tenure guidelines and if so, how much time do you need to be granted to be considered acceptable ?

    Here’s the other issue raised by Geoffroy :

    2) Number of graduate students he had supervised.

    I don’t know how many is considered good enough.

    Anyone out there in the know who can enlighten us ? The whole thing looks fishy to me on the outset.

    The fact that there were no METRICS and COMAPRISONS provided makes the explanations given by Geoffroy too vague for me.

  17. This picture isn’t making PZ and his crew too happy.

    It is a nice looking picture, unfortunately it seems that others will focus on the picture rather than the message. If GG was simply fired because of his belief, than this is wrong. It isn’t a question of what ID is or isn’t, it is a matter of prejudice. I don’t see people arguing against scientists who advocate panspermia – and there are quite a few.

    I don’t see scientists advocating memes being denied tenure. And memes are hardly science. There is no system of storage and transmission, everything is a meme, there is no way to test it, and it seems like the soul purpose of it’s creation is to undercut what people disagree with.

  18. In fact, grants are explicitly listed as a criterion for tenure. See the excerpt at the bottom from the ISU faculty handbook.

    The weight of the different criterion varies from department to department according to the practices in a field. However, anyone who thinks that grants are not a dealbreaking criterion for an astronomer has no understanding of academic science. As reported by the Des Moines Register, the average amoung of money at tenure time is $1.3 million for the Physics and Astronomy Department. Gonzales has $22,000.

    The point here is not whether grants SHOULD be a major criterion. The point is that they ARE a major criterion and Gonzales is not being treated unfairly in being expected to produce grant money.

    5.2.2.3.2. Research /Creative Activities.

    Faculty members who engage in research/creative activities are expected to make original contributions that are appropriate to their chosen area of specialization and that are respected by peers within and outside the university.

    Some examples of research/creative activity include the following:

    seeking and obtaining competitive grants and contracts

    ….

  19. 19

    SeekAndFind (comment #16) said,

    there are 2 other issues raised by President Geoffroy aside from the grants . .

    The other two issues are :

    1) The amount of telescope observing time GG had been granted…

    Some observatories may charge rent for telescope time — I don’t know. IMO the important thing is that Gonzalez surpassed the tenure guidelines’ benchmark of publishing 15 peer-reviewed papers while at ISU.

    2) Number of graduate students he had supervised.

    I don’t know how many is considered good enough.

    If several PhD’s graduate under each tenure-track astronomer, the result would be a huge glut of PhD astronomers.

    Here are several reasons why emphasizing grant-grubbing is unnecessary or a bad idea:

    (1) Emphasizing grant-grubbing is discriminatory because outside grants are easier to get in some fields than in others. I’ve heard that outside grant money is hard to get in astronomy.

    (2) Getting outside grants is often a crapshoot.

    (3) Often, a lot of good research can be done without outside grants.

    (4) It causes tenure track faculty to avoid research areas where outside grants are not needed or are hard to get.

    (5) It encourages waste of grant money. As an engineering grad student, I was involved in a project where grant money was wasted because the researchers were so anxious to get the money that they built and tested a system before analyzing it. The system didn’t work.

    (6) It encourages academic fraud.

    (7) A lot of outside grants come from corporations and other organizations with an ax to grind, compromising the independence of universities.

    (8) As for using grant money to support grad students, grad students don’t just do research — they also provide teaching services at a very low cost to the universities.

    The evils of academic grant-grubbing are described in the book “Profscam” by Charles J. Sykes –

    http://www.amazon.com/Profscam.....0312039166

    I am not saying that outside grants should not be considered in tenure decisions, but they should just be part of the big picture instead of being a litmus test.

  20. vrakj

    Nice try. Your quote is from the April 3rd, 2007 proposed standards not the standards that apply to Gonzalez.

    http://www.provost.iastate.edu.....nguage.pdf

    There is in fact no mention of grants as part of the tenure requirements.

    Try again. From now on you will include a link to a source for any claim you make or you will not comment on this blog. Got it?

  21. Guys

    The bigger message is this:

    The tenure system is broke, full stop. It is now obviously a non self-policing system where a self-appointed nobility awards to their chosen party-line parroting acolytes lifetime meal tickets at public expense.

    But therein lieth the answer: the public needs to wake up and act in its interests now, demanding public and detailed objective accountability — and refusing to be put off the scent trail by PC party-line spouting academics, PR flacks and professional slander groups such as NCSE etc — before the party-line games that are so obvious in this case utterly destroy the credibility of universities, science and academic research-based expertise.

    $ 0.02

    GEM of TKI

  22. 22

    DaveScot (comment #20) said,

    vrakj

    Nice try. Your quote is from the April 3rd, 2007 proposed standards not the standards that apply to Gonzalez.

    http://www.provost.iastate.edu.....nguage.pdf

    There is in fact no mention of grants as part of the tenure requirements.

    Try again. From now on you will include a link to a source for any claim you make or you will not comment on this blog.

    DaveScot,

    Those 4-03-07 proposed standards have already been incorporated into the faculty handbook, at —

    http://www.provost.iastate.edu.....tion-5.2.2.

    See Section 5.2.2.3.2. Research /Creative Activities (numbered 5.2.2.4 on pages 5-6 in the proposed standards document)

    vrakj was probably not aware that this section that he cited is a very recent addition to the handbook and therefore would not apply to Gonzalez. How did you know that it is a recent addition to the handbook? Also, I don’t understand what you meant by the statement, “There is in fact no mention of grants as part of the tenure requirements.” Were you referring to the previous edition of the handbook? The new edition mentions grants — I don’t know if the previous edition of the handbook makes any mention of grants. Anyway, here is what this new section (Sec. 5.2.2.3.2) says about grants:

    Some examples of research/creative activity include the following:

    conduct of experimental research

    creative performance of exhibition

    conceptualizing and theorizing in an original way

    synthesis, criticism, and clarification of extant knowledge and research

    innovative collection or analysis of empirical data

    seeking and obtaining competitive grants and contracts

    relating research to the solution of practical problems

    leadership in professional societies or organizations

    – and –

    . . . . A portfolio format is used to document faculty research/creative activities beyond what is contained in the candidate’s vita. The faculty portfolio includes materials such as summaries of completed, current, and future research projects; descriptions of applied use of research; summaries of grants, patents, and inventions; exhibition catalogs and other non-juried creative works.

    Anyway, in this new version of the faculty handbook, grants are just one factor among many in tenure evaluations. There is no indication that getting grants is a primary factor.

    Also, vrakj’s — and the Des Moines Register’s — ~$22K figure for Gonzalez’s total grant funding is wrong — see
    http://im-from-missouri.blogsp.....enure.html

  23. Also, vrakj’s — and the Des Moines Register’s — ~$22K figure for Gonzalez’s total grant funding is wrong

    this is very sad in many ways Larry. Your numbers show that GG still only had around $200,000 in grants. I am sympathetic to him, and do believe that Iowa wanted him out, but the fact remains, in academia, grant money is where you are judged. $200,000 over 5 or 6 years is horrible.

    I don’t mean to sound mean, but really, there is no other way to say it. It would be different if he was in a teaching institution, with a 70% teaching load. But, he is in a research institution. I’m not sure what his teaching load is, but if it was 50% (which I think would be high for him), we should still see $200,00 a year , not over the totality of his tenure process.

    I hope that GG has more information to back up his grant money so that all this is just wrong, but if after all these years at a research institution, he only had around $200,000 then I’m afraid that would certainly put him on the bubble.

    And, anyone in academia knows that grant money is the number one issue. You can’t be a Ph.D., done a post-doc, and attend faculty meetings, and not know that.

    As I said, I hope this is not true about his grants, but if it is, then Iowa was justified in their decision.

  24. 24

    RE:

    ————
    $200,000 over 5 or 6 years is horrible.
    ————

    The next question to ask is this RELATIVE TO WHAT ?

    The Astronomy Department is different from say, Computer Science or School of Engineering where you could probably receive millions for practical applications ( even defense related ones ).

    I highly doubt if an Astronomy professor will receive millions in funding from the DoD or from companies like Hewlett Packard or Intel.

    So, The Size of Grant money RELATIVE TO WHAT ? is an important question.

    Did Hector Avalos, Gonzalez’s primary opponent receive as much grant RELATIVE to his peers or even compared to Gonzalez during the same review period ?

    What about Gonzalez ? How much money in grants did he receive compared to his tenured peers in his own department ?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  25. SeekandFind:

    those are certainly good questions to ferret out. But, any faculty in a science based curriculum should do better than what GG did (assuming this is true).

    I think you are correct, for people who major in Classics, English Literature, etc. But a physics-based astronomer should have more money coming in (remember too, $60K came from the Templeton Foundation).

    I think there are lots of places for him to get money: NASA (including JPL), every State has a Space Grant in addition to a Land Grant fund I believe (Iowa would not have a Sea Grant, however – LOL!), NSF has programs that would related to some of this, American Astronomical Society, and someone is funding those telescopes in South America and Australia.

    So, I don’t think that the field of Astronomy is lacking for money.

  26. 26

    ajl said,

    So, I don’t think that the field of Astronomy is lacking for money.

    I have heard that outside grant money is hard to get in astronomy. IMO the $1.3 million average for Gonzalez’s peers who were granted tenure is very fishy. How could these beginning faculty members attract an average of $1.3 million in outside grants when Gonzalez, who had a track record of over 40 peer-reviewed papers when he started at ISU, didn’t come anywhere near this figure? Also, supposedly physics faculty were used in calculating the $1.3 million average and Gonzalez is an astronomer, not a physicist (though some of his work might include physics, I don’t know) — the Des Moines Register article said, “Gonzalez’s peers in physics and astronomy secured an average of $1.3 million by the time they were granted tenure. ”

    (remember too, $60K came from the Templeton Foundation).

    See, that is what I mean about research possibly being biased by grant money that comes from corporations and other organizations that might have an ax to grind. There is a similar complaint about the $50K that Gonzalez received from the pro-ID Discovery Institute.

    And as I said, grant-grubbing often causes academic fraud and waste. There is no direct relationship between good scholarly output and the total grant funding received.

    With this fetish about getting grants, a bad researcher could get a big grant from a rich uncle and obtain tenure in that way.

  27. 27

    Regarding :

    ——————–
    any faculty in a science based curriculum should do better than what GG did (assuming this is true).
    ———————

    The key word is “Should Do Better”. But how are we going to compare “better” or “worse” unless we know how much money tenured faculty members in the ISU Astronomy Department received on average ?

    And how are we to know what “better” is unless we have a stated guideline ?

    I refer you to the arguments presented by the following site :

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

    ——————–

    “Using selective figures provided by ISU, the Iowa Register implies that one was expected to bring in an average of $1.3 million in grant funding to get tenure in Dr. Gonzalez’s department. Again, there is nothing in the departmental standards about this, and it is hard to know how accurate or comparable this figure is without seeing the specific data for all of the astronomers in the department, and without seeing comparable data from other departments at ISU.

    Unfortunately, ISU has thus far stonewalled efforts to get grant and publications data for those considered for tenure during the past several years. On May 16 Discovery Institute filed a public documents request for the grant and publication data of those considered for tenure in Dr. Gonzalez’s department since 1997 and for faculty in other departments considered for tenure since 2002. Thus far the university has provided no data in response to these requests, nor as of today has it responded to repeated requests about when the materials will be provided.

    It is worth pointing out again that 91% of ISU faculty considered for tenure this year received it. Did they all receive more than a million dollars in grants order to get tenure? Did they all exceed by 350% their departmental standards for publications? We are trying to find out, but ISU apparently doesn’t want people to know the answers to these questions.”

  28. 28

    BTW, The Discovery Institute stated that :

    “…outside research funding is not a published criterion for earning tenure in Dr. Gonzalez’s department. Indeed, it isn’t even mentioned in the departmental standards for tenure and promotion. So if this factor was considered key in his tenure denial, Gonzalez’s department was applying a criterion outside of its own stated standards. (The primary standard according to the departmental policy on tenure and promotion is peer-reviewed publications, and 15 articles are “ordinarily” supposed
    to “demonstrate excellence sufficient to lead to a national or international reputation.” Dr. Gonzalez has 68 peer-reviewed publications, or 350% more than the departmental standard. Twenty-one of these articles were published since 2002, the year after Dr. Gonzalez arrived at ISU.)”

  29. Larry,

    good post. I have some follow up:

    I have heard that outside grant money is hard to get in astronomy. IMO the $1.3 million average for Gonzalez’s peers who were granted tenure is very fishy.

    Not too fishy, really. Maybe agressive if it is difficult to get money. But, in 6 years, thats not too difficult. A NASA or NSF grant should yield him $200,000 over 2 or three years. If he is 60% research/40% teaching, he should certainly been able to write 4 proposals a year.

    There is a similar complaint about the $50K that Gonzalez received from the pro-ID Discovery Institute.

    again, that is a problem, as it is 1/3 of his entire income stream to the university. If you are going to play in their sandbox, you need to play partly by their rules.

    And as I said, grant-grubbing often causes academic fraud and waste. There is no direct relationship between good scholarly output and the total grant funding received.

    the university is surely one of the biggest wasters of money out there, but your statement is just not true. If a guy can competitively win grants, and lots of money, then that does show promise. If you get a NSF grant and do nothing with it, you can kiss the next one good bye.

    There is another important thing that grants do: they keep the university in business. A research institution does not run on tuition alone. The indirect costs from grants keep it going.

    Another thing it does is fund grad students. Those are called graduate research assistants (GRA). Thats how grad students learn in the lab. And, the faculty normally fund it.

    So, for a major research university, grants are critical. If he were in a small State college, then they would be very happy with the $200,000 he brought in. But, a university that pays him as a researcher expects him to produce IDC to earn his keep.

    With this fetish about getting grants, a bad researcher could get a big grant from a rich uncle and obtain tenure in that way.

    now that is just a silly proposition.

    Look, I hope that this is all rumor and hearsay, and want to support what GG has brought to the table with his ID work. But, the reality is, you can’t draw a university salary for 6 years (again from a major university) and not produce IDC for the university.

  30. DaveScot:

    The current as well as the 2002, and 1999 versions of the Faculty handbook all contain the same statement (I didn’t check the other years, but I assume that it is there). See the link below.

    http://www.provost.iastate.edu/faculty/handbook/

  31. 31

    SeekAndFind (comment #28) said,

    BTW, The Discovery Institute stated that :

    “…outside research funding is not a published criterion for earning tenure in Dr. Gonzalez’s department. Indeed, it isn’t even mentioned in the departmental standards for tenure and promotion.”

    That’s true, but outside grants are mentioned in the new edition of the university-wide Faculty Handbook that doesn’t apply to Gonzalez (see comment # 22). I don’t know if outside grants are mentioned in the previous edition of the Faculty Handbook. Anyway, in the new edition of the Faculty Handbook, grants are only one of many factors to be considered and are not given any more weight than any of the other factors.

    (quoting DI) “Dr. Gonzalez has 68 peer-reviewed publications, or 350% more than the departmental standard. Twenty-one of these articles were published since 2002, the year after Dr. Gonzalez arrived at ISU”

    IMO to be fair to tenure candidates who had little or no work experience before coming to ISU, papers published before coming to ISU should not be counted. But Gonzalez still exceeded his department’s benchmark of publishing 15 papers while at ISU.

    ajl said (comment #29)

    A NASA or NSF grant should yield him $200,000 over 2 or three years.

    $1.3 million over seven years averages out to nearly $200,000 per year, not spread over 2-3 years.

    (I said) “There is a similar complaint about the $50K that Gonzalez received from the pro-ID Discovery Institute.”

    If you are going to play in their sandbox, you need to play partly by their rules.

    That’s what I said — getting funding from the DI compromises Gonzalez’s independence. In comment #19, I give some other reasons why grant-grubbing is bad or unnecessary.

    If a guy can competitively win grants, and lots of money, then that does show promise.

    Not necessarily — it could just show that he is good at getting grants. And getting grants is not the only way to show promise.

    If you get a NSF grant and do nothing with it, you can kiss the next one good bye.

    Maybe by that time you already have tenure, so getting grants is less important.

    There is another important thing that grants do: they keep the university in business. A research institution does not run on tuition alone.

    And as you yourself pointed out, if you are going to play in the sandbox of private grant donors, you are going to have to play at least partly by their rules. This compromises the independence of universities.

    Another thing it does is fund grad students. Those are called graduate research assistants.

    Many grad students teach.

    (I said) “With this fetish about getting grants, a bad researcher could get a big grant from a rich uncle and obtain tenure in that way.”

    now that is just a silly proposition

    Not silly — there are lots of scams out there and I would be surprised if no one has thought of this one. A guy named Sam Fox bought an ambassadorship by making a $50,000 contribution to Bush’s re-election campaign.

    I think that it will now be harder for ISU to recruit and retain untenured faculty members — particularly those with unorthodox views — now that it has been shown how easy it is to be denied tenure at ISU. Ironically, tenure, which was supposed to help protect academic freedom, is now being used to enforce academic conformity.

  32. vrakj

    I stand corrected. However, when the quote is shown in context it becomes clear that “obtaining competitive grants and contracts” is just one of many examples of ways to demonstrate academic excellence in research and creative activities. The examples given are not inclusive, just some of the possibilities. Even if all of these are construed as explicit requirements there is no guidance ranking one above another nor is there any guidance about how much is enough when it comes to grants. Guillermo did indeed obtain outside grants. Perhaps not as many or as much as some other tenured astronomers but he greatly exceeded other tenured astronomers in other categories most importantly in the number of peer reviewed publications and citations of same.

    5.2.2.3.2. Research /Creative Activities. Faculty members who engage in research/creative activities are expected to make original contributions that are appropriate to their chosen area of specialization and that are respected by peers within and outside the university.

    Some examples of research/creative activity include the following:

    • conduct of experimental research
    • creative performance or exhibition
    • conceptualizing and theorizing in an original way
    • synthesis, criticism, and clarification of extant knowledge and research
    • innovative collection or analysis of empirical data
    • seeking and obtaining competitive grants and contracts
    • relating research to the solution of practical problems
    • leadership in professional societies or organizations

  33. H’mm:

    Interesting onward exchanges. It seems, on balance, that grantmaking is one among many indicia of academic promise [though it is one fraught with problems on distortion of science due to funders' agendas].

    But of course int his case, academic promise was never in real — as opposed to rhetorical — dispute.

    However, I think there is a little elephant standing in the room:

    1] Namely, we already have a peer on public record, to the effect that ID support was a material factor in a vote against in his own Dept, and in aggregate several of the members of his Dept are on record on the same lines.

    2] Further to this, the description of ID used and the summary of Dr Gonzalez’s work made, were grossly inaccurate, reflecting certain commonly met with distortions propagated by NCSE and their ilk. Indeed, it seems Mr Hauptman has never read what his colleague wrote, even before going on public record against him. That is telling, and not in favour of Mr Hauptman or the system he was supporting.

    3] Yet further, we have a tendentious or even slanderous petition circulated by an interested antagonistic party, with 120 or so faculty signatures, targetting this professor. Compounding that, we see where there is no evidence that the Administration took steps to assure a fair peer assessment process.

    4] Worse, the instigator of the witch hunt, having duly compared the Bible adversely to Hitler’s Mein Kampf on public record [yes he views the Bible as worse than MK], has now been made a full professor of the institution. [I believe his lifetime publication record was something like 14 peer reviewed papers, and that in a field in which I daresay it is a lot easier to publish than in technical astronomy.]

    IMPLICATIONS: All of this adds up to a witch-hunt and a vote to ostracise/black-ball like the old Athenian elites’ game of voting on who to exile as a dangerously influential person.

    In short, we are back to a self-selecting nobility that promotes its partyline-spouting acolytes to be its successors. Any convenient excuse to expel the dangerous influence will do — e.g., “low on Grantmaking; good enough to put up front to justify expulsion.”

    All, at public expense and in the teeth of the known desires of that public.

    Bottomline: the tenure system is broke, and in particular, the “consensus” view of a self-selecting elite is not at all to be confused with the balance of the case on the merits. [Next time someone talks about "the consensus view" on Darwiniam, or on Climate Change etc, point out the implications of this PC-self selecting system, and its extension into the peer-reviewed Conferences and Journals etc.] In short the very credibility of academically trained, peer-reviewed expertise is on the line here . . .

    In the end, the party-line game is going to cumulatively so damage the reputation of the academy and science when the public wises up to what is going on, that the damage will be horrendous.

    If you doubt me, ask the formerly highly regarded professors of Marxist Leninist science from Eastern Europe.

    GEM of TKI

  34. As I mentioned in another post, now another institution interested in GG has the opportunity to hire him.

  35. 35

    I tried to post yesterday but I guess it got swallowed up by the ether.
    I would like to know how conservatives can maintain a consistent position trying to defend the academic freedom of Gonzalez and yet attack the academic freedom of a traitor like Ward Churchill? I agree with Kairo. Why should anyone be granted a lifetime position without possibility of termination for any reason short of criminal behavior. That sounds like a good deal for professors and a lousy deal for everyone else in the country. The tenure system was broken the day it was invented. There is not another kind of job in the country that guarantees a job for life. Instead of complaining about GG not getting tenure we should be attacking the system itself as corrupting of all its participants.

    dennis grey

  36. 36

    I think based on the exchanges I’ve been reading thus far, I have to come up with one conclusion…

    In today’s climate, Anybody who thinks that achieving tenure is anything other than political is naive.

    If Guillermo Gonzalez holds ANY views that displease the powers that be at his university, he’s toast. It has nothing to do with his abilities or worthiness.

    This column from the Des Moines registers says it all :

    http://www.desmoinesregister.c.....1035/RSS03

    ———————

    So far the university’s top
    academic, Provost Elizabeth Hoffman, has not intervened to protect Gonzalez’s free speech, which is interesting, because her previous job was as president of the University of Colorado, where she defended the academic freedom of another embattled professor, Ward Churchill, to write as he pleased.

    Churchill is the famous fellow who penned an essay justifying the deaths of the victims in the 9/11 attacks, calling those who worked in the World Trade Center “little Eichmanns.”

    If the professorial hierarchy at Iowa State doesn’t see this case as a challenge to academic freedom, the context of our times explains why.
    —————————-

    So, its OK for Churchill to believe that terrorist victims are Nazis but not OK for Gonzalez to believe that the universe is fined-tuned by an intelligent agent.

  37. OK, while these ideas may seem odd to peopole outside of academia, allow me to provide alittle insight into the academic process:

    IMO to be fair..

    but that isn’t how it works, whether it is your opinion or not. You are injecting your utopian view on how the world should work. We have to stick to how the system (whether broken or not, currently operates).

    to tenure candidates who had little or no work experience before coming to ISU, papers published before coming to ISU should not be counted.

    that is just erroneous. When you take a job with a University (just like a private company), you negotiate. It is perfectly reasonable to negotiate that your entire body of work be evaluated.

    Now, in my case, a University granted me years toward tenure, based on my work at another University. So, those other papers count.

    But, not being an idiot, I postponed a few of my publications from University “A”, so that I would have my University “B” title on the paper.

    $1.3 million over seven years averages out to nearly $200,000 per year, not spread over 2-3 years.

    you are missing the forest for the trees. I was just illustrating that $200,000 grants are out there for the taking (well, of course you have to win them). If you get 3 or 4 of them, you are in good shape. There are also larger and smaller grants too.

    Not necessarily — it could just show that he is good at getting grants.

    partially true. But if you want the big league grants, that comes with alot of hard work. NSF, NASA, NIH, etc. do not come easy. Its not like saying “Bob is a good test taker”. To win grants, and complete them you have to work hard. Just as an example, I am part of a team that submitted a grant to a funding organization. There are 141 other submittals. This will get pared down to 40 after the summer. So, after all this work, come the end of the summer, I have a 1 in 40 shot at it :-)

    And getting grants is not the only way to show promise.

    yes, getting grants is not the only way to show promise. But, it is the only way the University gets IDC to keep itself funded. That is just a plain fact.

    And as you yourself pointed out, if you are going to play in the sandbox of private grant donors, you are going to have to play at least partly by their rules. This compromises the independence of universities.

    yes and no. At least for me, I do not participate in research that I am not allowed to publish my work. Some people do, but that is a personal choice.

    Maybe by that time you already have tenure, so getting grants is less important.

    yes, and therein lies the problem with tenure :-)

    Many grad students teach.

    and where does the money come from? The College! That is why I used the term GRA, rather than TA. A Department may only have 3 or 4 TA lines available to it. But, they have 30 graduate students. How do you suppose they pull this off? Well, it grant work. That is what pays for the other 26 grad students.

    Not silly — there are lots of scams out there and I would be surprised if no one has thought of this one. A guy named Sam Fox bought an ambassadorship by making a $50,000 contribution to Bush’s re-election campaign.

    still a silly proposition. Of course there are abuses. Hell, some faculty sleep with their grad students. But what you are talking about is really far end fringe stuff. And if 1 in 500 faculty members have figured out this scam to get their uncle to give money, then that isn’t too bad.

    BTW, as a faculty member, I have to fill out a conflict-of-interest form every year. What you are saying is that a faculty member is doing something unethical and not getting caught.

    Dont think the University looks the other way at this stuff either. Universities get Federal grants, and get Federally audited. They have to be careful that their nose is clean.

    Ironically, tenure, which was supposed to help protect academic freedom, is now being used to enforce academic conformity.

    sadly, you are correct about that. But again, if it is true that GG did not bring in outside grants, then that is a problem.

    On another note, I would like to know if after his 3 year review if his grant funding was made known to him as an issue. I have a friend under review currently who was told after 3 years that while he had a number of publications, he needed to concentrate on being the primary author.

    But, the good thing is, he can now focus on that the next three years. Did GG get that same warning?

  38. 38

    Dennis Grey (comment #35) said,

    There is not another kind of job in the country that guarantees a job for life.

    You forgot about the federal judiciary.

    Instead of complaining about GG not getting tenure we should be attacking the system itself as corrupting of all its participants.

    I too think that tenure is bad because I think that it is unfair to those who can’t get it, but I feel that it should be administered fairly so long as we have it. So even though I am against tenure in general, I am supporting tenure for Gonzalez because of the principles “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” and “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

    I would like to know how conservatives can maintain a consistent position trying to defend the academic freedom of Gonzalez and yet attack the academic freedom of a traitor like Ward Churchill?

    Conversely, how can the liberals maintain a consistent position trying to defend the academic freedom of Ward Chuchill and yet attack the academic freedom of Guillermo Gonzalez? As SeekandFind pointed out (comment #36), quoting the Des Moines Register,

    So far the university’s top academic, Provost Elizabeth Hoffman, has not intervened to protect Gonzalez’s free speech, which is interesting, because her previous job was as president of the University of Colorado, where she defended the academic freedom of another embattled professor, Ward Churchill, to write as he pleased.

    IMO using tenure for the purpose of enforcing academic conformity rather than tenure’s intended purpose of protecting academic freedom removes all justification for having tenure at all. The ISU Faculty Handbook says about tenure,

    Sec. 5.2.1 General Policies on Tenure (excerpt)

    Academic freedom is the freedom to discuss all relevant matters in the classroom, to explore all avenues of scholarship, research, and creative expression and to speak or write as a public citizen without institutional discipline or restraint. Academic responsibility implies the faithful performance of academic duties and obligations, the recognition of the demands of the scholarly enterprise, and the candor to make it clear that the individual is not speaking for the institution in matters of public interest.

    Tenure is the keystone for academic freedom; it is essential for safeguarding the right of free expression and for encouraging risk-taking inquiry at the frontiers of knowledge. Both tenure and academic freedom are part of an implicit social compact, which recognizes that tenure serves important public purposes and benefits society. The public is best served when faculty are free to teach, conduct research, provide extension/ professional practice services, and engage in institutional service without fear of reprisal or without compromising the pursuit of knowledge and/or the creative process.

    – from http://www.provost.iastate.edu.....tion-5.2.1.

    Sounds rather hypocritical now, doesn’t it?

  39. H’mm:

    Thanks for the onward discussion on tenure in the politically correct hothouse climate of contemporary American Academe.

    On key points:

    1] My main point is that we need to see that the system is broke and that that distorts alleged “consensus” even in the famous Journals that are the alleged Gold Standard of new knowledge. So, we should not be intimidated by claims on peer review, whether of articles or on careers. (So, a whole line of NCSE-type arguments reveal themselves to be empty hypocritical rhetoric hiding the ugly fact of academic persecution, slander and unjustified career busting — GG being a major current case in point. Sternberg comes to mind, and so does Dean Kenyon, among too many others.]

    2] So, how should we assess scientific and related philosophical and history of science issues? Simple: on the merits of fact and logic, and as further constrained by assessing the worldview backgrounds and institutional agendas connected thereto. By these criteria, we have a take-home lesson: the main design inferences as advocated by GG, Leslie, Tipler, Davis etc, not to mention, Dembski, Behe and a lot of others, holds up very well thank you — and the screams of the commited fundy atheists and their fellow travellers are just so many dogs barking against the passing caravan. To pretend otherwise is hypocritical, as Larry has just pointed out.

    3] Tenure, suitably modified, is probably fixable — limited [not lifetime] terms, graded levels of award of terms of office, recognising that there are legitimate different schools of thought that have fundamental differences starting at worldviews level and these should not factor into tenure decisions, recognising qualitatively different but objectively important types of contribution to the life of the academy ["publish or perish" and "how good a money-grubber" taken out of balance undermine quality of teaching and public outreach etc], etc. Putting in play a process of initial and subsequent reviews on quality of performance is in effect the same idea as the initial and periodic accreditation review of institutions and programmes.

    4] But all of this depends on men of integrity in office, and the pauline principle that justice relative to core, universal morality in the love does no harm principle, is the principal qualification and task of the one who bears rule. And that is precisely where ISU (as just one example) is failing.

    5] The GG vs WC example is telling, and Larry in 38 has again hit the nail on the head. Observe the silence on the part of too many of those who advocate for “academic freedom,” when the victim of injustice is not in their camp. In any case, Mr Churchill drastically misrepresented himself, his qualifications and his work over many years, being elevated to leadership on rather thin actual qualifications.

    6] WC compounded this by apparent plagiarism, and the remarks on WTC victims of the terror attacks on 9/11 being “little Eichmanns” were truly out of order and utterly disrespectful. To date, so far as I know, he has not retracted or apologised for such uncivil conduct. It is on background checking that the deeper issues came up and his position became plainly untenable. So there is no moral equivalence between the response of conservatives to Mr CHurchill and that of the PC secularist progressives to GG.

    7] A periodic objective, evidence-based balanced review with a range of credible outcomes, would have made it far harder for the sort of things WC indulged in to escape screening. So, it credibly would have enhanced quality of the Academy. However, I don’t hold my breath while waiting for a reform.

    8] What is probably more feasible is to create/strengthen alternate systems, and build in the sort of principles and patterns above from the ground up, or at least lead the way in well chosen reforms. Then, on the grounds that there is a refusal to do the right, de-fund [this game can work two ways!] the out-of-control systems, both at an individual level [alumni contributions and endowments etc] and at the public level — forcing people to pay for a system that institutionalises injustice is indefensible.

    9] Meanwhile I wish Mr Gonzalez well in his onward career endeavours. There will be institutions out there, one hopes, that will see the diamond that ISU has so thoughtlessly, rudely and unjustly tossed away.

    GEM of TKI

  40. H’mm:

    The filter has got a lot more aggressive overnight. Comment eaten.

    Key points:

    1] WC is not comparable to GG — the initial outrage turned up abundant evidence of qualification inflation and there were questions of plagiarism. He has also AFAIK, refused to apologise for an utterly beyond the pale remark. The rhetoric of [im]moral equivalence fails — adn the hypocrisy Larry just pointed to is telling in itself.

    2] Tenure is broke but is fixable by using the approach of periodic accreditation relative to the range of contributions academics make to the university. This is similar to how programmes and institutions are accredited to deliver degrees etc. If publicly funded institutions refuse to submit to such discipline, the public should insist that they be defunded.

    3] We should also see that there are plainly schools of thought on academic matters, not some mythical “consensus.” That means that the rhetoric of NCSE etc should be exposed, and the matters should be assessed on the merits.

    Okay

    GEM of TKI

  41. Okay

    It got through the filter thanks to intervention.

    Overnight, I am confident that we have been handed a lemon that makes some pretty good lemonade: we now see clearly that the tenure suystem as it stands is broke and that in a way that poisons the staffing of the academy, thence the way submittals are going to be peer reviewed in journals and conferences etc.

    So, the NCSE mantra about failing to publish in such venues stands nakedly revealed through the Sternberg and GG cases, as a hypocritical and cynically tyrannical attempt at shutting up who you cannot refute. Shameful.

    But, we make lemonade: let us use this conclusion whenever that deceptive claim is raised, and let us confidently create our own institutions as we build our own school of thought on the relevant issues. And, since there is a plain institutional bias and even oppressive manipulation, we demand that funding of censors and oppressors from the public purse cease.

    GEM of TKI

Leave a Reply