Paper No. 272-15
Presentation Time: 11:30 AM
ACADEMIC SOCIETIES: AN OPPORTUNITY TO BROADEN PARTICIPATION IN GEOSCIENCE RESEARCH DESPITE AN ACADEMIC CULTURE OF APARTHEID
The traditional model of a university as an academic community of scholars united in their quest for knowledge was built on academic freedom, equality, respect, access to resources and stability. In 2015 universities no longer resemble this ideal with 75% of faculty trapped in an underclass whose contingent appointments effectively deny them the job security and resources necessary to function as full members of the community. This situation is a particular barrier to first generation faculty and people of color and negatively impacts THEIR diverse students who tend to begin their academic careers in community colleges and lower division courses dominated by contingent faculty. It is almost impossible for a contingent faculty member, regardless of the quality of her ideas or academic work, to compete effectively without the ability to author grant proposals in her own name, supervise her own students, and have access to university resources while teaching more and larger classes. It is not that many contingent faculty don’t engage in these activities; they simply don’t get the credit for their efforts as they are forced to submit their work under the auspices of a non-contingent faculty member. Their second-class status deprives them of opportunities and demonstrates to their students that science is not a viable profession for people like them. How do we rectify this situation in the geosciences?
This presentation will discuss a new strategy for supporting the scholarly work and development of all faculty proposed to the Geological Society of America in 2012. Having the society offer a portal for grant submission to access the research funding system is the solution to this aspect of the contingency problem. This portal would allow faculty on contingent appointments to compete for resources with their own ideas and in their own names. The portal would protect academic freedom by allowing even tenure track faculty to obtain research funds from outside their home departments and institutions. The society research portal would generate overhead just as a university sponsored grant paying for the actual costs of the research. Let the geosciences lead the way in broadening participation for all faculty and students in the national research effort.