May 7th, 2004

Friendly Academic Cooperation

I recently witnessed a fine example of the spirit of open investigation and cooperation that drives academics today. A friend of mine was contacted by his advisor. The advisor was contacted by a former associate's tenure review committee. My friend was given the assignment of reviewing the associate's papers and writing up enough dirt to make sure they would not get tenure. No, the committee is not at MIT.

I'm used to nice simple fields where only my coworkers, vendors and customers are busy trying to get me fired and destroy my career. For the most part people I've worked in the past leave well enough alone unless they are trying to (not) hire me at their own company.

No, this didn't really surprise me; I realize tenure politics are brutal. But in an ideal world it would seem like the committee could do its own dirty work.