Six years ago the National Association of Scholars detailed how Virginia Polytechnic Institute had made a “troubling move to make demonstrating ‘contributions to diversity’ a requirement for promotion and tenure.”
The university had responded by saying its requirement(s) would be “reworked.”
And here is the “reworked” result: Its 2015-2016 “Guidelines for Promotion and Tenure Dossiers” include even more emphasis on the popular — and ever-ambiguous — terms.
Page 2, section I: Executive Summary
**2013-2014 Document: Says that candidates should summarize significant contributions, including but not limited to: “Diversity initiatives or contributions (selected, or all if page limit allows)”
**2015-2016 Document: Now says that candidates should summarize significant contributions, including but not limited to: “Inclusive practices and diversity initiatives (selected, or all if page limit allows). Candidates should include a list of activities that promote or contribute to inclusive teaching, research, outreach, and service.”
Page 6, section III: Candidate’s Statement
**2013-2014 Document: Reads, “The statement also provides candidates an opportunity to address their active involvement in diversity and international activities.”
**2015-2016 Document: Now reads, “This statement should provide all reviewers with a clear understanding of the candidate’s research and creative activities; teaching, outreach, and extension achievements; international activities; and active involvement in diversity and inclusion.”
Page 10/11, section V. Research and Creative Activities, C. Sponsored Research and Other Grant Awards
**2013-2014 Document: NO mention of reporting on diversity or inclusion.
**2015-2016 Document: Now adds this: “Identify whether the proposal addresses broadening participation or increasing engagement of underrepresented groups within one’s field, or otherwise advances knowledge about diverse populations, as defined by one’s field.”
Article author Ashley Thorne writes, “The university may insist that these are guidelines, not mandates. But the added language on ‘diversity and inclusion,’ in this context with Virginia Tech’s official blessing, sends a clear message to faculty candidates for promotion and tenure: embrace this ideology or be left behind.”
She adds that the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger case permitted the use of diversity as “a compelling public interest” … but only in college admissions. Faculty hiring and promotion were not considered.
IMAGE: Ron Mader/Flickr