Cornell humanities professors and department chairs are up in arms over the recent “underrepresented” job ad posted by the university’s College of Arts & Sciences, according to a letter leaked to The Cornell Review. The text of the letter can be read here.
Several weeks ago The Review reported on a job ad posted by Cornell’s College of Arts & Sciences which sought “to hire a tenure-track assistant professor in some area of the humanities or qualitative social sciences” with special “interested in considering applications from members of underrepresented groups”.
For its poor decision-making and shameless pandering, the College of Arts & Sciences was nationally ridiculed, as the the letter points out, most notably in The Chronicle.
The letter criticizes the College of Arts & Sciences for posting the ad without consulting humanities department chairs or professors, and for the University’s overall sidelining of the humanities. The letter was specifically addressed to Gretchen Ritter, Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences, and three associate deans, Barbara Baird, Scott MacDonald, and Ted O’Donoghue.
“This ad highlights several serious issues for the humanities and qualitative social sciences departments at Cornell… ranging from strategy to governance to procedure,” the letter reads. “The advertisement appeared out of nowhere as far as the humanities and qualitative social science departments were concerned. There had been no discussion, no consideration of strategy, aims, etc.”
The letter’s authors go on to criticize the job ad and the deans: “The lack of communication and consultation has caused considerable concern among faculty. They wonder if they are to be expected to read 100+ applications for a position their department will never get, and what they are to answer to inquiries from colleagues elsewhere and prospective applicants. Morale is already quite low in many of the humanities departments as we are sure you know, and this whole episode has only triggered further concern.”
The letter’s authors include chairs of various humanities departments at Cornell, but their names were removed from the letter The Review has made public to protect their privacy.