Tag Archives: academia

Version 2 of How to Be a Better Chair of an Academic Panel

For those who liked the original “How to be a better Chair of an academic panel” handout, here’s version 2, enriched via crowdsourcing.  New thoughts about keeping time (we’ve got signs for you, download here) some science (“calling on a woman to ask the first question will increase the number of women who ask questions: Carter, Croft, Lukas & Sandstrom, Women’s visibility in academic seminars: women ask fewer questions than men. Available at http://bit.ly/2JQfhiw”) and a gentle reminder that you don’t have to call on people in order, nor do you have to let the first person with their hand up ask the first question.

Get it and share it in DOCX Format   PDF Format

Thanks to all of you who chimed in via twitter and other modes!  And to those of you who wondered why we don’t take on the whole organization of academic conferences, we agree there is space for someone out there to do a “Just have a better CONFERENCE” tipsheet.  We’re looking forward to it.

page 1 of document as photo, available in PDF and DOCX form in this post.

Wed 25 Sept The Mirage of Merit: Reconstituting the 'Ideal Academic' with Professors Margaret Thornton & Lorraine Code

IFLSEvent Poster - information is available in text of post. and CFR (Centre for Feminist Research at York) are pleased to co sponsor this talk & commentary.  Professor Margaret Thornton of ANU will present her work, The Mirage of Merit followed by comments from Professor Lorraine Code.

Light refreshments will be available.

Room 2003 IKB (Osgoode Hall Law School) 1230 – 2PM September 25, 2013

Please RSVP to lgonsalves@osgoode.yorku.ca by clicking here.

Professor Thornton is stopping at Osgoode en route to U of Alberta Law School’s conference “The Future of Law School” where she her contribution will be titled: The Challenge for Law Schools of Sustaining a Liberal Education in a Marketised Climate.  Her remarks at York/Osgoode will consider the concepts of merit and the “ideal academic”, arguing that as higher education is transformed by the new “knowledge economy”, the characteristics of the ideal academic have shifted to favour the masculinised figure of the “technopreneur”.  Her biography is below:

MARGARET THORNTON is Professor of Law at the Australian National University. She has degrees from Sydney, UNSW and Yale, and is a Barrister of the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia. She formerly occupied the Richard McGarvie Chair of Socio-Legal Studies at La Trobe University and has held visiting fellowships at Oxford, London, Columbia, Sydney and York, Canada. She has published extensively on issues relating to women and the law, including the only book-length study of women and the legal profession in Australia: Dissonance and Distrust: Women and the Legal Profession, Oxford University Press, 1996 (also published in Chinese by the Law Press, Beijing, 2001). Her most recent book is Privatising the Public University: The Case of Law, Routledge, London, 2012 Her current research project, ‘Balancing Law and Life’ entails a study of gender and corporate law firms and is funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant, 2012-14. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. (via https://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/thornton-mr , where you will find links to Professor Thornton’s other work)

Commentary will be provided by prominent feminist philosopher and York Professor Emerita Lorraine Code.  Professor Code’s specialities are epistemology, feminist epistemology and the politics of knowledge, epistemic responsibility, 20th-century French philosophy, ecological theory and post-colonial theory.

Join us!



poster design by the talented Ugochi Umeugo, check out her work/find her contact info here: http://ugochiumeugo.designbinder.com/

Women, Race & Class in the Academy, two events

From long ago Osgoode graduate student Dr. Lolita Buckner Inniss, @auntiefeminist on twitter and  blogs here (Ain’t I a Feminist Legal Scholar Too? A blog that explores the relationship between blackness, feminism and feminist legal scholarship).  My colleague Dayna Scott and I will have a chance to meet Prof. Onwuachi-Willig on March 8 at this event, a conference based around the collection Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia put on  by the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law and Justice. But the teach in also looks interesting, and Prof. Buckner Inniss is suggesting thisChronicle of Higher Ed adaptation of Prof. Onwuachi Willig’s piece in the collection.
On March 11, 2013 from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m. in the Fillius Events Barn the Women’s Studies Department of Hamilton College will hostProfessor Angela Onwuachi-Willig of the University of Iowa College of Law. Professor Onwuachi-Willig will lead a faculty/staff teach-in on how gender and race operate in the context of women faculty of color in the academy. One of the launching points of her discussion will be her chapter titled “Silence of the Lambs” from the book Presumed IncompetentWe will continue our discussion informally over a buffet dinner that immediately follows the event. **We would be delighted to have you join us!  Hamilton College is especially convenient to those of you in the central/upstate New York region.**
Please click here to indicate whether you will come. Whether or not you can attend, please help us by answering some survey questions that are also located at the link.
Presumed Incompetent (Utah State University Press, 2012) is a groundbreaking account of the intersecting roles of gender, race and class in the working lives of women faculty of color.  The book features first person narratives and qualitative empirical studies that examine some of the underlying structural factors that perpetuate bias and exclusion for women of color in the academy.The book also offers concrete recommendations for how institutions can address some of these problems.

Professor Onwuachi-Willig is the Charles and Marion Kierscht Professor of Law at the University of Iowa. She is one of the most-accomplished and best-known scholars in the legal academy. Professor Onwuachi-Willig is the recipient of numerous honors and awards.  She was elected to the American Law Institute, has been a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and was a recent finalist for Iowa Supreme Court Justice.  Professor Onwuachi-Willig graduated from Grinnell College, Phi Beta Kappa, with a B.A. in American Studies, and received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, where she was a Clarence Darrow Scholar, a Note Editor on the Michigan Law Review and an Associate Editor of the founding issue of the Michigan Journal of Race and Law.
Click here to read an essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education adapted from Professor Onwuachi-Willig‘s chapter. 


Strengthening Canada’s Research Capacity: The Gender Dimension: Report of the Expert Panel on Women in University Research

The York University Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation is hosting a Discussion Forum on the Report “Strengthening Canada’s Research Capacity: The Gender Dimension: Report of the Expert Panel on Women in University Research”.  Learn more about this report by the Canadian Council of Academies panel, chaired by Dr. Marsden, on the factors that influence the university research careers of women. And join a discussion facilitated by Associate Vice-President
Research Lisa Philipps. The report can be found online here.

With keynote speaker Lorna Marsden, President Emeritus and Professor, York University
Monday, February 11, 2013  10:00 am – 11:30 am  Room 519, York Research Tower York University 4700 Keele Street Please RSVP at http://bit.ly/Discussion_Forum

Keith Louise Fulton, a former Margaret Laurence Chair in Women’s Studies and retired professor of English from the University of Winnipeg, concluded optimistically:
“We remake the university each day as we walk through the doors and take up our work there. Refusing to lay down important parts of ourselves and our communities as we enter reverses what we have been taught and reclaims ourselves and the institution” (as quoted in Keahey & Schnitzer, 2003).

UTexas Law Dean Resigns/Pay Equity in the Law School Professoriate

UT President Asks Law School Dean to Resign Immediately — University of Texas System | The Texas Tribune.

I am always looking for data to prove my mo money and mo problems, hypotheses. Enter the UTexas situation.  The issues are salary stipends and “forgivable loans” to attract and retain faculty, leading to growing faculty unrest.  See? Income inequality = instability.  For this blog though, I was interested to see, though, that part of the problem here was gender related:

There are also several sexual discrimination complaints filed by women at the law school in the 75-page long open records document that point to a gender pay gap. In a letter to Sager included in the documents, Professor Lynn Blais expresses concern that women are underrepresented on all the major governing committees at UT Law, including the budget committee responsible for setting faculty compensation. (source: Texas Tribune article linked above)

(Prof. Blais faculty page)

Are women underrepresented on your Fac Committees?

My twitter and RSS feeds are filled up with articles about why women face a pay gap and what we can do about it.  A substantial number of these articles indicate that what we need to do, essentially, is be more hardass about it – negotiate more fiercely (read: more like male colleagues), demand what we are “worth”, and similar kinds of approaches (perhaps, the Sheryl Sandberg model?  It’s not them – it’s us!)  But these suggestions have a variety of problems.  One of the problem zones is that the implication that gender pay gap problems in management and/or the professoriate ought to be solved by adjusting the bottom up – a solution which will clearly exacerbate other forms of income inequality that we might care about (as feminists), and are the subject of debate in other parts of our non-compartmentalized lives.

I know i’m not the only one who wonders how to ensure that my female colleagues get what they “deserve” without participating in compensation structures which ratchet upwards relentlessly, sometimes taking tuition fees with them.  Likewise how to avoid the pull of a “star system” in academia, which brings with it salary pressure and a focus on the individual rather than the collective institutional strengths.  Anyway, the Texas situation is interesting on a variety of levels and I hope that there is further discussion of the gender component here.  The (now former) Dean’s letter in response is available here and on page 4 he turns to the gender issues (a task force!).  The Dean’s partner is a feminist who teaches the subject at UT law.  This should surprise no-one, since  even”being” a feminist is not enough to stop me from making stupid, gender oppressive comments, decisions, and plans.  Really, only active thinking on each point can hope to prevent such problems (see, e.g., the recent post on “gender mainstreaming”).

If you are interested, check out these documents provided by the Texas Tribune through an “Open Records” request.  At pp30 is a settlement document involving a female faculty member and at 74 is a lovely letter from Prof. Blais (quoted above) to the Dean.  There are also pages and pages of numbers which no doubt speak volumes if you know the lingo.

Here’s another thought: interest convergence.  Reliably dirt-digging and rankings focused blog above the law has this from the law student angle (“why is this happening during finals?!”).  Ah, ATL.  Reliable.  As in, “While the administration and professors seem wholly unconcerned with the timing of their faculty hissy fit, …”.  No, no, you’re not missing anything.  My go to Urban Dictionary online defines hissy fit as “A sudden outburst of temper, often used to describe female anger at something trivial”.

Yet at the same time, there seems to be another lurking issue, one which appears more likely (call me a cynic) to have actually created the conditions under which a dean could be removed:

There have long been rumors of friction between Sager and the “good ol’ boys” network at UT. But many students who have benefited from Sager’s policies — in the form of better employment options at a wider range of firms and geographic locations — have acknowledged that Sager is doing what it takes to get ahead in the law school world.

For Sager, who would probably have a statue erected for him at Emory, or USC, or any school looking to break out of regional typecasting, it seems like his relationship with the president has been difficult. From the Tribun

There’s a plausible hypothesis! Gaps in pay (gender and otherwise) are what it takes!

In other not completely unrelated news,  U Texas law has a Center for Women and the Law which produced “The Austin Manifesto” in 2009.  The Center says it is “…the premier educational institution devoted to the success of the entire spectrum of women in law, from first-year law students to the most experienced and accomplished attorneys.” (source).  An interesting model.  Here’s an article describing the founding of the Center (from an alum magazine).