Steal my thoughts…

On one of my previous posts about whether junior faculty should be seen and not heard- commenter Bahrad left the following comment:

The absolute worst advice is the absolute “seen and not heard” one… If you *never* voice an opinion, then that will definitely be damaging when it comes to tenure. The key is to find a battle & make sure that your comments are as well-considered and informed as possible.

Also, and this is a particular challenge for female junior faculty – you have to formulate your comments in such a way that your ideas are clearly acknowledged as being from you, so that goodwill is reflected on you and not transferred to some other faculty member who jumps on your background. (Without seeming like an egomaniac, obviously, but the balance between arrogance and confidence is tougher for women in the still male-dominated social norms of faculty meetings.)

I agree with that first paragraph, and that pretty much sums up my approach in real life, for better or worse.  BUT, I’m paying special attention to the bold text, and I know oh so well how that feels. Continue reading

Junior faculty should be seen and not heard?

A friend once told me that junior faculty should be seen and not heard. I’m not good at that. AT. ALL.  When I was growing up, my dad always used to tell me that my grandparents thought like this about children- and I found it sort of humiliating then, and I find it sort of humiliating now. My rational (and way older) brain realizes that there may be truth to this though for junior faculty.

Re-reading the comments one of my colleagues made to me in a recent email made me think about this, in addition to related issues of emotional decisions and gender, once again…

Why do we let men get away with publicly displaying their emotions? This is the crux of the problem.  Time and time again in faculty and committee meetings, men get away with emotionally grounded rationales. The concerns of angry or upset men are taken very seriously.  Angry or upset women are completely dismissed, and neutral women are essentially ignored too. Until we start calling a spade a spade, I see no way out of this. But I need to keep quiet until that tenure decision is made, as children should be seen and not heard.

Of course there is so way much more to discuss (I’m fried from a long day of meetings so there is no promise of gramatical correctness today) in that comment than just jr. faculty should be seen and not heard….

So let’s discuss…