April 16, 2013 § 5 Comments
Talia Sellars, from the University of Auckland, writes:
Myself and a number of other women (a mixture of under grads, graduates and staff) very recently started a Women In Philosophy group at the University of Auckland.
Sometimes we just get together to chat, other times to discuss events or initiatives. One member, Tessa, is starting up a women’s reading group, and today we had an ice cream event (sponsored by the department), where we made “we need women in philosophy because” signs, in the style of the “I need feminism because” meme.
For all the photos, go here.
November 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I am a tenured Associate at a mid-sized Canadian university that has a pretty healthy atmosphere. I wish we had more women and people of colour, and I occasionally have to point out my colleagues patriarchal white supremacist feet in their mouths, but they will *listen,* and by and large it’s a collegial and respectful group.
To encourage my philosophy colleagues to make their curricula more inclusive, I have been strategic. I have taken on the much neglected official chore of coordinating and creating discussion in the department around “teaching and learning.” This portfolio gives me independent reason to speak that can’t be dismissed as “feminist griping” or any other sort of partisanship (I am cross-appointed to Women’s Studies). (I hate to presume my colleagues would be so suspicious but I want to be as effective as possible in bypassing their biases in order to make the most of my efforts.)
I have urged my colleagues that due to stereotype threat and implicit bias they are not reaching women students in the way they might. I posted up as many resources as I could find on a “philosophy teaching and learning” site that I created in our teaching web platform (Sakai-based), and I hope to build this site steadily and send out notices periodically about the improvement to the resources.
My efforts have not been completely futile, although the uptake has been somewhat disappointing. Hardly anyone has actually looked at the resources I’ve posted (I can produce reports showing who visits). However, my colleagues do seem to be paying attention to my announcements about the site: two (of around 10) have since shared with me in person their effort to involve more women authors in their course readings (plus one feminist women who discussed it with me in general terms of acceptance).
So why aren’t my colleagues actually looking at the resources I posted that provide rationales for including more readings by women? I like to think this may be because they already accept that more women need to be included in the philosophy curriculum. (Note: I was hired specifically to teach feminism.) However, they get careless, and fall back on what they know, like we all can. They don’t need the rationale, just the reminder and perhaps some direction to appropriate sources.
I may sound naive, or excessively optimistic, but one colleague, J, expressed to me that he appreciated the prompt to make his educational practice consistent with his political (and philosophical) commitments. I continue to build the web resource — and the moral, epistemological, and philosophical pressure that come with the easy availability of relevant resources. I hope and even expect that there will be a gradual shift in the shape of our curriculum, and perhaps in the number of women in our program too.
November 18, 2012 § 2 Comments
Today, catching up with my accumulated mail, I have tentatively accepted three invitations to conferences with the following qualification:
” I have signed the “Commitment to gender equity at scholarly conferences” (http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/commitment-to-gender-equity-at-scholarly-conferences.html) and therefore undertaken “to make [my] participation in conferences – whether as an organizer, sponsor, or invited speaker – conditional on the invitation of women and men speakers in a fair and balanced manner.” If you can confirm that this condition is actually to be fulfilled at your conference, I will indeed be very happy and honoured to participate as a keynote speaker. Otherwise, I suggest you use the keynote speaker’s slot I must decline to fill to invite one of our many outstanding women colleagues.”
I am looking forward to see the reactions.
October 14, 2012 § 3 Comments
UPDATE: Due to a re-vamp of the Rutgers website, the climate survey is at the moment no longer online. This will be rectified soon and we’ll fix the link if needed!
Ruth Chang has sent in this link to the new Rutgers climate survey. Do have a look!
October 5, 2012 § 2 Comments
Amy Olberding of the University of Oklahoma writes:
Our department has recently been taking steps to organize our search procedures for tenure-track hires in order to 1) minimize implicit bias in the search processes; 2) give each candidate invited to campus performance conditions that avoid perils such as solo status or stereotype threat inducing situations; and 3) enhance recruiting. While our efforts in this direction are more detailed than can be easily summarized, here is a partial list of the steps we’re taking:
1) Since haste in evaluation increases the risks of implicit bias, we’re protecting search committee members from any additional service where possible and setting earlier deadlines for applications to maximize the time the search committee has for careful review of candidates’ materials.
2) Since uniform application and weighting of clearly established criteria is key to minimizing bias, our search committee will develop a list of criteria for the job and have these ready-to-hand in evaluating applicants’ dossiers. Our search committee and all faculty have also been given basic information about how implicit bias can operate in dossiers (e.g., in letters of recommendation) and will strive to be alert to this in reviewing candidates’ materials.
3) Our Recruiting & Diversity Committee is screening applications for potential triggers to implicit bias and seeking to ensure that any applications with such potential triggers will receive careful consideration (e.g., each getting a second look, keeping criteria ready to hand while these are read, etc.).
4) When our search committee has an initial list of a dozen or so top applicants, we’re creating anonymized versions of these applicants’ writing samples for faculty to review independently of the full non-anonymized dossiers.
5) Since campus visits can bring all sorts of nebulous social factors into play in evaluating applicants, we’re seeking to have a ranked list of candidates before the visits. There may of course be good reasons for re-ordering the candidates’ rankings after the visits, but the initial ranking, based solely on the dossiers, will provide an important stimulus for the department to query just what in the visits has prompted any revised evaluation of the candidates and better guard against inadvertently giving way to any biasing elements produced by the visits.
6) When we invite on campus interviews, we’re having faculty unaffiliated with the search committee ask candidates if they have any special concerns or needs we can accommodate so that any candidates who is, e.g., disabled, pregnant, or nursing is not put at a deficit by a schedule of activity insensitive to her needs.
7) During campus visits, we will have an open interview session in which each candidate will be ask questions from a pre-fixed list. The aim of this is to ensure uniformity and consistency in both what the candidates are asked to address and in what we then use in evaluating them. We’ll take whatever steps our current departmental demographics allow to protect candidates in these interviews from solo status. Among the questions all candidates will be asked will be at least one regarding diverse student populations and the recruiting and retention of diverse students in the discipline.
8) We’ll be routinely giving all candidates our department and university family leave policies, and trying to ensure that our presentation of these does look routine so that, e.g., women candidates will not feel specially singled out to receive this information.
9) We’re making sure that all job talks are carefully moderated so that tone and pacing in the Q & A in particular is conducive to candidates’ good performance.
10) For meals and such with candidates, we’re making sure to remind all involved about what conversational subjects are verboten. We’re likewise keeping attendance at such events relatively low so that candidates are not overwhelmed.
11) After campus visits, we’ll be carefully reviewing dossiers again, seeking to keep these the principal body of data in the search so that nebulous social elements of the campus visits don’t overwhelm evaluation.
12) After the campus visits, we’ll seek feedback from graduate students involved in elements of the campus visits with special attention to any red flags that might indicate a candidate will not be effective in department efforts to recruit and retain a diverse student population.
September 19, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Here at the Center for Philosophy of Religion at Notre Dame, we see the improvement of the climate for women in the discipline as integral not only to fulfilling our moral duty as human beings, but also to our mission to promote dialogue and the fullest development of scholarship within the sub-discipline. To that end, here are a few things we’ve been doing:
1. This past spring, we invited Christina Van Dyke to present her paper, “Don’t Get Your Panties in a Bunch: The Dilemma of Addressing the Absence of Women in the Philosophy of Religion,” at our weekly discussion group. In addition to inviting our regular research fellows, visitors, and discussion participants, we also invited the whole philosophy department to come, listen, and participate in the discussion.
2. When organizing conferences, we make sure to uphold the values of the Gendered Conference Campaign.
3. We maintain a list of women working in Philosophy of Religion, available under the “Resources” page on our website, so that others organizing conferences in Philosophy of Religion can do their best to uphold the values of the Gendered Conference Campaign as well.
4. We work to create a genuinely engaged, respectful, and inclusive community of scholars through the work of the Center—and take seriously any and all suggestions from our community members as to how we can best accomplish these goals.
September 18, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Eric Schliesser and Mark Lance have started a petition in support of the Gendered Conference Campaign, and it’s now got more than 500 signatures!