Chapter Three

a. Search committees
If you're new to Notre Dame, you might think that the only search you need to worry about is the one that resulted in hiring you. In fact, there are lots of reasons to get involved in searches in your department from the time you start your job. For one thing, every search has the potential of bringing in someone who, if you're lucky, will be an ally within your department, an intellectual conversation-partner, even a friend for life. Of course if you're unlucky, you can also get the opposite — someone destructive, indifferent, or antagonistic who you're stuck with for the rest of your career. Often departmental politics become most intense around decisions about hiring, precisely because the stakes are so high.

In most departments at Notre Dame, we get many chances to see the search process in action, because there's a lot of hiring going on — the faculty keeps expanding. The amount of formal input you can have will depend on the structure of your department and the nature of the search. Often searches initiated outside the department (in institutes or centers or at the level of the administration) leave little room for your average faculty member to participate. Still, there are always informal ways to get involved. What follows are some ideas about how you might help make sure that new colleagues are good colleagues for you.

1. Take every opportunity to help shape any searches from the get-go. If your department has meetings to discuss hiring priorities, be sure to prepare and say your piece. Which areas do you think should be searched and why? Talk to your colleagues beforehand to get a sense of their views and to build alliances around shared goals. Pay attention to developments in your discipline so that you have something valuable to say about which subfields are producing the hottest scholarship, what kinds of searches might be more likely to attract women candidates or people of color, or who might be willing to consider coming to Notre Dame. If your department circulates drafts of job ads, look at them carefully and offer suggestions that make them more likely to reflect where your discipline is and attract a strong pool of applicants. If you're a new or recent hire yourself, keep in mind that your views will carry particular weight; after all, you're in the best position to know how the job market — and Notre Dame — look from the perspective of candidates or potential candidates.

2. Whether or not you're on the search committee, communicate with its members, your colleagues, and your chair about the position in question. In most departments, the chair appoint members of search committees, so if you have a particular interest or some special expertise in the area to be searched, you might want to tell your chair that you'd be interested in serving on the committee. It's a lot of work but a great way to expand your knowledge of your own field. In general, it's not a good idea for junior faculty to chair search committees, however, both because of the huge amounts of time and energy involved to do a good job and because you can end up vulnerable to a lot of criticism in your department if things don't go the way powerful colleagues would have liked. Even if you're not on the committee, you can tell its members about people you know in the field, pass on information you might have about which institutions are turning out the top people in specific areas, and encourage good people you know to apply.

3. Once the short list is made, you can do quite a bit to help your department choose the best candidate. If you want your colleagues to listen to your views on the candidates, it's crucial that you do your work. Read the files and any related materials carefully, attend all job talks, listen to what other members of your department have to say, and prepare for the meeting where you'll give your views. Of course you won't always get your way — even if you've built an unassailable case (at least to your mind) for one or the other candidate, based on familiarity with that person's work, knowledge of the field as a whole, and awareness of the needs and priorities of your department and the university. But at least you'll maintain credibility with your colleagues if you operate that way — maybe next time around they'll be more open to persuasion. It's important to be clear about your views but also to show that you're flexible, because you have to work with whoever comes in. If won't do you any good to have colleagues who know that you opposed their hire or used underhanded methods against them. Sadly, it's been my experience that women are more likely than men to be perceived as devious or inappropriate when they offer strong views about job candidates, so be careful and talk to colleagues you trust before you say too much more publicly.

4. When it comes to recruiting the successful candidate to Notre Dame, you can have considerable impact. Be sure to take the opportunities your department offers to meet the person when she or he is on campus for the interview and to be up-front about things here. You might have ideas about meetings or events to build into the schedule that will show Notre Dame at its best for that particular person. If so, tell your chair and try to make it happen. For me, a breakfast with Gender Studies faculty was decisive — I came to my interview nervous about the Catholic character of Notre Dame and uneasy about the large number of men in my prospective department — most of them a decade or two older than I was at the time. A woman colleague in my department (not on the search committee) arranged the meeting with Gender Studies so that I could see some of the "cool women" on campus. Just by being themselves they convinced me to accept the job — and once I got here, they were my first contacts with the social circle that is now central to my life here.

Once your department has made its offer, you might want to contact the successful candidate by email — or better, in my opinion, by phone — to congratulate her or him and offer to talk about Notre Dame, South Bend, or whatever they want to know as they make their decision. These conversations too are crucial, as are any visits back to look around the community or try to find a place to live. Generally the people closest in rank to the potential new colleague will play the most important role in recruitment — if you're coming in as an assistant professor, you're probably going to be more concerned about who the junior faculty in your department are and how they're doing than you are about holders of endowed chairs. Any information you can share about salaries, what to negotiate for and how to do it, and upcoming issues in the department will be tremendously helpful. You can also put the person in touch with other people at Notre Dame who might have insights that you lack, e.g.: about schools or childcare, the singles scene for straight people, the gay community, particular ethnic or religious groups in the area, medical services of certain kinds, and so on. If you're in a situation to do so, you might invite the new colleague to stay with you while she or he looks for a place to live. I know from my own experience how much those kinds of offers meant when it came to making my decision and feeling good about it.

5. Even if you're not engaged in a search, there are things you can do to shape the future of your department and the university. At Notre Dame (and probably at many other places too), visiting lectures are often a way to look over potential target of opportunity hires. If you know a fabulous scholar in your field who you think someday might be willing to entertain an offer from Notre Dame, you could find a way to invite her to campus — as a Provost's Distinguished Lecturer, for example, through the Henkels Lecture Series, or under the promising Young Scholars' program sponsored by ISLA (the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts). It may be a long shot, but you never know — there are lots of resources around here to hire fancy people who fit some aspect of the university's mission — and we could certainly use more women endowed chair holders.

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b. Protecting women candidates

Here is some seasoned, strong advice from a tough and experienced old feminist hand at ND, told to a friend.

Probably the most important way to address gender problems (and problems of ageism, racism and homophobia) at Notre Dame is to hire more women, minority, gay and lesbian faculty. The best way to do that is by taking an active role in your own department's hiring procedures, from the constitution of the search committee to the final selection of the candidate.

It should be noted that each department's hiring procedures vary. Some departments are basically democratic and open. In other departments, old cliques dominate and work to keep the process closed and under their control. Also, the success of your efforts will have a great deal to do with how proactive your chair is in hiring. Some are and some aren't, but all can be held to certain rules and all must honor the hiring policies outlined in your CAP's Organization Plan. (If your department's plan has no such policies, you might start by proposing to draft some.)

The job advertisement
It is very important to read the wording of the job advertisement carefully and make suggestions about specific wording. The language used can make a big difference in the applicant pool that results. (In some departments, the whole department must approve a job advertisement by vote — in other departments, this is left to the search committee, or the CAP, or even the chairperson, in which case, you might ask for it to be circulated and approved by the whole department.)

Because of ND's reputation for homophobia, a number of fine scholars have turned down invitations to interview here — stating homophobic policies as the reason.1 Your department will have to be very pro-active to recruit gay and lesbian scholars and artists, at least in the foreseeable future — that is, until the university changes its policies. You can ask your department to draft and vote on its own informal departmental anti-discrimination statement — one that includes protection for women, minorities, religion and sexual orientation. This is especially important as the university's anti-discrimination statement does not include sexual orientation. 2

The search committee
Volunteer for a search committee, especially for a search for someone in your field, and in those fields in which your department lacks intellectual diversity. Your department should have available the most recent statistics regarding the representation of women and minorities at the recent Ph.D. level as well as other ranks. These statistics serve as a guideline for checking affirmative action throughout the selection process. As a member of the search committee, take it upon yourself to contact the heads of special minority, women's, and gay and lesbian caucuses that operate inside your national association. Take the trouble to make sure that your job announcement is well-circulated to these caucuses by listserves, newsletters, and by asking the heads of these caucuses to personally encourage applications from their own membership.

National conferences
As a member of a search committee, it is also crucial that you attend the national conferences where preliminary interviewing for job candidates takes place. If you're active in this interviewing process, you'll have a chance to bring out the good points of the candidates you favor and to intervene in the behavior of your colleagues if it gets out of line.

Written reports
The old hand suggests that the search committee be obliged to make written reports to the entire department at every stage of the search and short-listing. You, and group of interested colleagues, should review these reports and intervene when necessary, or contact your department's Affirmative Action Officer or the College Diversity Officer, (for instance if you see no women or minority candidates on a short list when you feel there could and should be.)

Helping to ensure a productive campus visit
1) The buddy system
The old hand also suggests developing an informal buddy system, if a candidate indicates interest. The buddy would be available to answer the questions of short-listed candidates regarding interviews, job talks, desired contacts during campus visit, and local culture of negotiation. It makes sense to point women candidates (maybe all candidates) to BEST PRACTICES FOR WOMEN: NEGOTIATING THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME on the web, where there is an excellent chapter (2A) on negotiating your job.

2) The interview meals
Before the campus visit, tactfully check with your departmental administrative assistant or chair (or whoever is putting together the candidate's itinerary) to make sure that the candidate will be meeting with all the appropriate people; that their meal companions in every instance will be well-balanced, etc. If there are arrangements that are likely to be hostile, tactfully volunteer to attend that meal with the candidate.

Check in with candidates at different moments in their visit to ask, " is there anything you need, anything you would like to know, any person you would like to meet with, any trouble you are having, anything I can do to help you, etc."

3) Foregrounding the candidate's scholarship
Make it your personal responsibility to read the candidate's scholarly work very carefully — all of it. This is not a place to be lazy. If you know the work, you can steer questions that draw out the strong points of the candidate's work in job talks and public meetings, and move the discussion away from unnecessarily aggressive or pointless questioning. You will also be able to better defend your candidate's scholarship in decision-making meetings after the candidate has left. If you don't do this, only the detractors will have the floor and deprecating discussions will influence the final choice.

Also, knowing the candidate's scholarship is the best way to impress a candidate with the level of intellectual discourse and interest at this university. There are a number of cases where exactly this kind of intellectual reception has made the difference in swaying a candidate to choose ND when offers from other schools have been made.

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1. See Appendix N
2. See Appendix C

c. Special hires
Since at least 1970, Notre Dame has been vocal about its commitment to a policy of affirmative action in the hiring of faculty. That policy applies to women, racial and ethnic minorities, and Catholics. Even in the face of changing national receptivity to affirmative action, both President Malloy and Provost Nathan Hatch have reiterated Notre Dame's commitment to affirmative action.

Affirmative action for women and persons from historically under-represented racial and ethnic groups is the sort of affirmative action that is familiar in the wider society. Both women and people of color have been historically under represented among Notre Dame's faculty members and increasing the presence of women and persons of color is integral to the excellence of Notre Dame's academic community.

Affirmative action in this context requires aggressive, proactive measures to ensure that the applicant pool includes increased numbers of women and persons from under-represented racial and ethnic groups. In weighing the gifts and talents that an individual candidate brings to the university community, the importance of increasing the diversity of the faculty is an important consideration. In additional to the public statements made by the president and the provost, the message about the importance of increasing the presence of women and minorities on the faculty has been carried by the Academic Affirmative Action Committee (a committee of faculty and administrators). That Committee works with a faculty member from each college, appointed by the Dean. That faculty member is called the college diversity officer.

The college diversity officers were first appointed in 1997 (or early 1998) at the request of the Academic Affirmative Action Committee. The committee felt that it was not in a position to work directly with departments and, as a consequence, insufficient attention had been devoted to the measures needed to create the diverse applicant pools necessary to meet our goals. It is the job of the college diversity officer to work with the departments in the college to ensure that the departments are taking proactive steps to increase the diversity of the applicant pool for faculty positions and to track the number of women and persons from historically under-represented groups who are interviewed on and off campus, who are offered positions, and who join the faculty.

In addition to its focus on recruiting, the Academic Affirmative Action Committee also works on issues related to retention of women and minority faculty members. The committee prepares an annual report which appears in one of the early issues of Notre Dame Report each fall. The University has just hired its first director for a new Office of Institutional Equity. Until now the University has not had a formal Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity office. The new office has been established during the 2001-2002 academic year and now provides, among other things, full-time professional assistance in the areas of recruitment and retention of women and minority faculty.

Catholic identity
Here at Notre Dame, the commitment to increasing the presence of women and minorities does not stand in isolation from Notre Dame's commitment to its Catholic identity.

Because a majority of the faculty at the University are Catholic, affirmative action looks slightly different in this context than it does at other universities. Besides affirmative action in the context of hiring women and minorities, there is also "mission-driven" hiring for Catholics and for those in a special position to contribute to the mission. Mission-driven hiring is important to the Catholic identity of the University.2

Recommendation One of the Final Report of the Colloquy for the Year 2000 (the University's last strategic planning document) says that "all who participate in hiring faculty must be cognizant of and responsive to the need for dedicated and committed Catholics to predominate in number among the faculty." Catholics and other persons whose faith commitments inform their scholarship are more likely to be attracted to Notre Dame and to apply for positions at the University. Notre Dame sees its tasks as encouraging them to do so, seeking persons whose life commitment, accomplishments, and skills will ensure that Catholic intellectual life will properly flourish at Notre Dame, and weighing those contributions along with the candidates other credentials at the time of hiring. There is not a predetermined formula by which a specific academic unit of the University achieves the proper balance between the number of committed Catholics and the contributions of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, religious or not. It is clear, however, that if no planning is done and no genuine steps are undertaken in the recruitment process, the University will soon resemble its secular counterparts.3

The Colloquy also suggests that recruitment of Catholics needs to be understood in two other contexts. First, recruitment of Catholics must be done with consciousness that the Catholic tradition is characterized by breadth and diversity; that it "tends toward inclusiveness, universality and continual reform." At this time it must also be done with awareness that the Catholic tradition knows division. "In this particular era of Catholic church history, there are individuals and groups who would propose to control the development of the Church and restrict it within tightly defined boundaries. Bearing this in mind, it is perhaps the particular challenge of a Catholic university to promote rigorous and public discussion of those matters most central to the health and well-being of the Church as a living community of faith."4 Second, in affirming the centrality of Notre Dame's Catholic mission and character, "there is danger... that some members of the University community may feel excluded or unappreciated. It is for this reason that the first word that must be spoken is that all are welcome and honored here. This is an ecumenical community in the best sense of the term. In evaluation of performance or in the assignment of merit, all will be treated according to commonly recognized standards of fairness and equity."

Target of opportunity hires
To encourage the hiring of women, historically under-represented minorities, and persons whose faith informs their scholarship, the Provost established a program of Target of Opportunity Hiring. The Provost sets aside funds each year that can be used to hire a person who fits one or more of the categories mentioned even if the person does not match the departments currently identified curricular needs. The idea is to encourage departments to always actively look for such persons and to make it possible to hire them even if their availability is not synchronous with an open slot in the department.

The presence of the Holy Cross
For a number of years the University spoke about affirmative action for Holy Cross priests. (The Holy Cross community founded the university and continue to have a vital role in it. Indeed, under the Statutes of the University, the President of the University must be a member of the Indiana Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross). The use of the "affirmative action" rubric has been abandoned in this context. Instead, the "presence" of members of the congregation is now emphasized.

The Holy Cross community's educational charisma has benefitted the University in countless ways from the moment of its founding and continues to do so. In recognition of the essential contributions made to the University by the members of the Congregation, the Statutes of the University mandate their presence. Article V, paragraph (f) of the Statutes provides as follows:

The University's operations shall be conducted in such manner as to make full use of the unique skills and dedication of the members of the Priests of Holy Cross, Indiana Province, Inc. Four specific traditional areas are noted here:

1) The intellectual life of the University should at all times be enlivened and sustained by a devotion to the twin disciplines of theology and philosophy. They are viewed as being central to the University's existence and function. Here the role of the priest professor can and should be a vital one.

2) It is important that members of the Holy Cross Community be active in as many academic roles at the University as their talents and training permit. The very presence of priest-scholars can add immeasurably to the total endeavor of the University and to its essential Catholicity.

3) Another central function of the priest in Notre Dame life is the pastoral apostolate within the University community. In the postconciliar Church, this activity is even more imperative than ever before if the full richness of Catholic life is to be imparted to the student body and faculty members.

4) The administration of the University should be a collaborative effort of the priest and the layperson. In those areas of administration where a priest has special competence and experience, he should be assigned commensurately important duties, to the end that his dedication to the total task of the University may be effectively utilized and encouraged.

The Congregation's unique role at Notre Dame is played out in the classroom as well as the residence halls and chapels. The Statutes make it clear that the "presence" on the faculty of Holy Cross priests is mandated. Therefore, the process of hiring of Holy Cross priests differs even from the process used in the two affirmative action contexts. The identification of Holy Cross candidates is uncomplicated; the Provost's Office, working with the appropriate dean, presents to a department for consideration a Holy Cross religious who has been trained for an academic career. When the Holy Cross candidate's area of specialization does not match a department's priorities for hiring, a new faculty position is typically made available. This strengthens a department's faculty without delaying a department's ability to fill its other identified needs. A Holy Cross candidate is evaluated on his qualification for the position and on his potential to make a significant contribution to the work of the department.

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2. Notre Dame's Mission Statement says: "The Catholic identity of the University depends upon, and is nurtured by, the continuing presence of a predominant number of Catholic intellectuals."

3. Final Report of the Colloquy for the Year 2000 p.4

4. Final report of the Colloquy for the Year 2000 p.4

d. The Departmental CAP committee
What are the duties of a CAP? How are CAPs composed? Every department in the university has a Committee on Appointment and Promotion, which the Academic Articles charges with evaluating candidates for appointment, reappointment, tenure, and promotion. In some departments, a separate committee exists to evaluate candidates for promotion to full professor. CAPs are always chaired by the departmental chair, who participates in the CAP's discussions but also makes a separate recommendation to the Dean of the College. (In some departments people refer to the CAP as "the cap," whereas in others they use the initials: C.A.P.)

CAP committees are elected according to a department's own organizing plan. The organizing plan, which must have its own procedures for amendment, must be approved by a majority vote of all faculty in the Department and by the dean). (In some departments these plans are rather vague and general.) All members of a departmental CAP must be tenured associates or full professors. Most departments hold elections for the CAP very early in the academic year, as its business begins immediately, or in the preceding spring semester. In some small departments, every tenured faculty member of the department serves as a member of CAP. Some larger departments are currently debating whether every tenured member of the department should serve on the CAP or whether a smaller CAP committee should be elected from the tenured ranks.

A CAP member is required to respect the confidentiality of all its meetings and decisions (though the chair of the department is eventually allowed to convey to candidates the essence of a discussion). The issue of confidentiality is a topic of ongoing debate on campus: many faculty members are concerned about both positive and negative leaks from a committee, or about the morality of making employment decisions anonymously. (A candidate can request from the chair the reason(s) for a negative decision and will get a very limited answer. But is there any other business where workers are informed that their services do not make the grade, but aren't told who made that assessment?

Some departments have taken steps to increase transparency, even within the CAP system, by doing things like circulating agendas for closed meetings; creating a culture in which CAPs are informally but not legally bound to follow departmental votes on certain issues; or finding ways to assure candidates for tenure or promotion if their cases are proceeding well or warn them if they are not.

How do you get elected to a CAP?
If you are interested in being on the CAP, let your colleagues know (or, if you're not a self-promoter, let one colleague know and then allow that person to do the work of talking up your candidacy). Because the work of a CAP can be (but isn't always) extremely time-consuming, and because the committee has such an important role in shaping the future of the department, it is useful to announce your interest or to approach potential committee members well before the department election. The amount of time required is related to the size of the department and the length of the agenda in any given year: how many searches will there be? How many people will come up for renewal or tenure? In many departments, months of politicking and persuading precede the actual election, and yes, it's true, voting blocs exist even on the campus of Notre Dame. It's hard for some of us not to get a little operatic on the subject of the CAP, since the committee members often decide personal as well as departmental futures. Chairs, Deans, the Provost's Advisory Committee, the Provost, and the President all have the power to overrule a CAP's decision on hiring, tenure and promotion — but in the overwhelming majority of cases, the decision made by the department, in the person of its CAP and/or its chair, is also the decision endorsed by all the other participants in the procedure.

Candidates for promotion have a special interest in seeing that colleagues sympathetic to their interests and their work are seated on the CAP, but are in an awkward position. They certainly don't want to be seen as trying to stack the committee which will judge them. If you are tenured, keep an eye out for untenured colleagues who may be nervous about the election. Get a feel for their concerns. Take an interest in the balance of the committee. It's important to consider each committee member's academic field and level of professional involvement, but it's also important to think about the balance between long-term-tenured and recently-tenured faculty members; about the individual personalities involved and their predilection; and about the committee member's commitment to a rigorous and fair process of examination. Vote for colleagues who will work hard, judge fairly, think creatively, and who have the courage to take a stand for what they believe is right.

How does a CAP proceed?
In hiring decisions, each department has procedures by which the CAP works with the departmental search committees. Ideally, CAP members attend every job talk and have a chance to personally interact with every job candidate. Departments have different procedures for the final decision (in some departments, the entire faculty votes on job candidates), but in all cases, the CAP must take its own vote and submit its own recommendation to the dean. In the English Department, for example, which allows all regular faculty to vote on job candidates, the CAP is required to return to the department for further discussion if it votes for a different candidate. In the History Department, for a counter-example, the CAP is not bound in the same way.

One thing that is unusual about the CAP: most of the votes are neither anonymous nor unidentified. In most cases, when the CAP votes on a case, each member states her or his view and gives the reasons behind it. As a result, in the official record of the meeting, which is submitted to the dean, each position taken is associated with a particular member of the committee.

In promotion decisions, CAPs must evaluate research, teaching, and service, and must provide a written report summarizing the strengths and weaknesses in each of these areas. After a discussion of the reports, members must then cast a positive or negative vote.

All members of a CAP must carefully examine the full packet of information submitted by candidates and, in most departments, must read all the candidate's publications. In addition, members must help the chair compile a list of suitable outside reviewers for tenure cases, and must then evaluate those letters.

Members must decide on a procedure for evaluating a candidate's teaching: that evaluation cannot be based solely on an analysis of TCE scores. (TCEs, or the students' evaluations of their professors, is one component of the evaluation.) CAPs are also responsible for devising plans by which they can evaluate course content and learning objectives. This may involve the evaluation of teaching portfolios and/or classroom visits. Some departments may ask faculty to have a class videotaped so that members of the CAP can observe the teaching at their convenience. Since members of CAP committees are inclined to rely too heavily on the TCEs, you have the right to insist on a fuller examination of teaching.

Most CAPs are also involved in evaluating the ongoing progress of untenured faculty. Committee members must meet frequently for their own internal discussions, and they must be available for consultations with deans who would like to further discuss their reports and evaluations. The work, therefore, is year-long.

What are the pros and cons of reforming the CAP system?
Many of us have concerns about the opaque system of promotion in place at Notre Dame. Candidates for review or tenure send their packets into a dark hole at the beginning of the semester and hope that when it is spewed back at semester's end the decision will be positive. The interim period may feel downright purgatorial. One small step toward reform might be informing a candidate of the decision at each stage of the decision — departmental, college, and university. Since departments make their decisions by early December, this would allow candidates who have not been supported at the departmental level to launch job searches immediately. Let your chair, your dean, and the PAC members of your college know if you support such a move.

Another possibility is widening the composition of the CAP, so that a handful of members is not deciding a candidate's fate. Many ND faculty members worry about reforming their departmental CAPs to include everyone (or at least about being the first to do so). Some worry that it's hard to gauge how a mixed vote will be read by the dean and by the PAC. Another concern is that on large CAPS, not everyone will read the work or attend the job talks or consider the decision fully. Suggestions like the following are in the air: let a subcommittee of members closest to the candidate's field write the research report; have department members check off that they've read the work before they vote. Some department CAPs are stalling — let another department go first and see how it goes. Many CAPs are now attempting, through thorough discussion and persuasion, to come to consensus about these kinds of recommendations.

Decisions about how CAPs will function are at the heart of faculty governance (some would say lack of faculty governance) and certainly will determine the future of Notre Dame's faculty. Involve yourself in these debates. If you are tenured, push your department to consider the possibilities. We're at Notre Dame — it seems perfectly appropriate to call for some soul-searching about the future of our hiring and promotion system.

The most obvious pros and cons of the CAP system are like those of any oligarchy. On the one hand, one gets a group of people who learn to work well together to accomplish an often enormous amount of work. Having sat on the CAP, I can attest to the seriousness with which members of the committee took their responsibilities and the professional dedication they showed. On the other hand, in such a closed system fosters insecurities, rumors, and conspiracies that can be very destructive, to those on both sides of the CAP divide.

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e. Endowed chairs
According to the most recent published statistics in the Notre Dame Fact Book, there were 103 endowed chairs at the university (including regular, emeritus, and visiting) in 1999-2000. Of these endowed chairs only 11 were held by women faculty. (There's been some improvement: in the College of Arts and Letters: there were only 3 endowed chairs held by women in 1997 — today there are 9.*) These statistics are actually an improvement on the 1997 statistics for full professor, when 40% of male faculty were full professors and only 4% of the female faculty held the same rank.

The great majority of endowed chairs are held at the senior level, although recently the university has experimented with short-term, junior endowed chairs, called "college chairs", at the assistant and associate levels. Complete statistics for these "college chairs" are not available in the Fact Book but the gender balance seems to be improving: Today, in 2001, the College of Arts and Letters has four women and six men in college chairs. An eleventh Chair was recently made available, and a department is currently reviewing a female candidate.

However, the appointment of endowed chairs can still be seen as an "affirmative-action-need-not-apply" category on campus.

The awarding of a chair depends on many factors: the availability of a new chair itself (or a vacated chair); the quality of available candidates; the decision of the College's Endowed Chair Review Committee; the final decisions of the president and the provost.

There are several scenarios for appointing endowed chairs but, most often, the hiring of an endowed chair proceeds from the top down. Something like this happens: the Development office identifies a possible donor (often an alumnus) who wants to make an endowment to the University. The donor may make certain stipulations about the chair. (The interest from the endowment will be used to pay the generous salary of the endowed chair.) The administration contacts the chairperson of a designated department and discusses the matter. The faculty of the department may learn that soon it will be entertaining professor X who is being considered as a target of opportunity hire for an endowed chair. Less often, a department may be invited to search for an endowed chair itself. As in promotions at other levels, external letters are solicited to assist in the evaluation of research. Teaching and service contributions are evaluated as well. Once a candidate is identified (and maybe) approved by the department, it sends its recommendation to the Dean, who convenes the Endowed Chair Review Committee, who passes judgement to the Dean who then votes and sends it on to the Provost. The final decision is made in the Provost's Office.

If the Provost approves, an announcement is made to the department that so and so will be hired as the so-and-so Endowed Chair, or that so-and-so ND faculty member will be promoted to an Endowed Chair called so-and-so. In some departments, the CAP is asked to evaluate the case before it gets that far — in others, only existing endowed chairs evaluate the case.

The promotion of an existing an existing faculty member to senior endowed chair often comes as a surprise to the candidate, since the approval process is conducted in secret. The department may also learn — suddenly — that the administration has appointed a junior colleague as a college chair for a period of time (usually three years). CAPS do not usually initiate junior appointments. They are used by the administration for retention.

And other times, a chair contacts administration and says so-and-so faculty member is awfully good and is being courted by Harvard, Princeton or Yale, and do you think we could find an endowment for him or her, in order to keep him or her at ND. (It should be said that departments can contact Deans about potential candidates even when there is no job offer in sight.)

This top-down scenario has, in the past, overwhelmingly favored the appointment of white males to endowed chairs. How can we get in on the process?

First, WATCHERS should ask their CAP to clarify to the department what policies and procedures are in place for proposing our own endowed chair candidates to the administration. If there are none, propose some. Then, work with others (form a coalition) and come to some agreement on what areas of your discipline would be best served by hiring an endowed chair. Then generate a good list of names and propose them to the department, and eventually to the administration. Only by being very pro-active can you head off the top-down, insider default process.

The time has also come to press the administration to promote a Provost's Distinguished Women's Chair, which could be filled by open competition across departments with search committees appointed at the College level. Such a competition would draw scholarly attention to women's scholarship and provide an opportunity for the administration to prove that it is pursuing affirmative action goals with endowed chairs. It is very important that the department chairperson and dean be held to the same procedures and policies for endowed chairs that govern regular searches. "Endowed Chair" is not a code word for "affirmative-action-need-not-apply" hiring.

Note: In the sciences, there are some chairs that are specifically designated for women by the endowments that support women in the sciences.

(See also Chapter 3c on Affirmative Action and Opportunity Hires)

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f. Hiring replacements for those on leave
Very often, replacement hires for regular faculty on research leaves are arranged without consultation with the department members — sometimes, without even a discussion with the CAP. Most often the chair will consult with one or two faculty members to get some suggested names, and then phone calls are made, and then someone arrives...as often as not, of the male gender. Departments vary widely on procedures and some don't even have regulations concerning these hires in their CAP By-Laws.

In fact, visiting positions are excellent opportunities to bring new women faculty to Notre Dame, and sometimes result in a job offer, if the match is good. Don't miss this opportunity to suggest highly qualified women faculty for these positions. If the hiring process in your department is murky, bring it out into the light. If your chairperson is unresponsive to your suggestions, write to the CAP and cc the members of your department with your suggestions. In preparation:

1. Do your homework thoroughly. Identify exceptional candidates whose scholarship is impeccable, teaching credentials are excellent and who can at the same time contribute to diversity, particularly on account of being a female and/or by belonging to a protected minority group. Think through a list of potential candidates from among your own peers, or advanced students of peer colleagues, or older, more established scholars who may be considered target-of-opportunity hires. If they are applying only for a one-year replacement position initially, it is possible that a particularly strong candidate could set in motion a groundswell of support for turning the position into a longer-term one. It has been known to happen; the concept of target-of-opportunity hires is not entirely dead.

2. Build a broad base of support for these potential candidates by soliciting from them in advance their resumes, copies of publications, and testimonials from colleagues regarding their preeminence. Talk up their strong points. Cultivate the support of particularly your senior colleagues in your department, if a departmental hire, by talking up the achievements of the potential candidates and building up their image in general before they even get to campus for an on-site interview. If the hire is to be made outside your department for cross-disciplinary programs, it is even more crucial to develop very amicable relations with members of the other departments. Network extensively with administrators as well; it's often who's willing to go to bat for you that's sometimes more important than even the credentials of the candidate herself.

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g. Gender issues in external reviews


In 2000, the Dean of the Graduate School required that all departments undergoing External Reviews should prepare an internal report on gender issues in the department, and that the Gender Report should be submitted to the external reviewers.

Here is an anonymous Gender Report, prepared in 2001:

Throughout the years, especially during the late-80s and early 90s, the hiring record of the [Department] was very good regarding women. At almost any point women constituted about one-third of the total T&R faculty and hence the Department more or less represented the gender distribution throughout the field. At that time most new faculty, regardless of gender, were brought in at the assistant level and worked their way up the ranks alongside the men.

In the mid-90s, in a very unconscious and unpremeditated way, hiring practices changed. The Department received many positions, some from Centers, both inside and outside the Department, and other outside agencies who needed leadership and senior faculty. The result was that the Department began to hire senior faculty at the Associate, Full and Chaired Professor level who were inevitably male. The Provost's target of opportunities only exacerbated the problem when "affirmative action for Catholics" was introduced into the mix, in that it gave an even greater excuse to hire more white Catholic males. The Department hired something like ten or eleven senior men and one senior woman during this period.

The Department did make several attempts to hire senior women and offered a "target of opportunity" hire to at least one senior woman who declined. Department members learned that it was easier for the Department to hire men than women and that as a result of this lopsided hiring at the senior level, the balance of power in the Department had shifted dramatically into the hands of the men, and the dominant political voice in the Department became a male one. For several years the composition of the committee of full professors was one woman and nine men. Now, finally, it is two women and eleven men. At no point until this year did two women ever serve on the C.A.P. at the same time. The department chairs have always been men, a situation that continues today. These demographics are being replicated in other levels of the Department where males outnumber females in both the graduate student and undergraduate ranks. Female graduate students reported a "chilly climate" within the Department in terms of both the faculty and their peers.

Some comments and advice
No one intended for this situation to arise and now that department members are aware of it, they are trying to correct it. There is one job offer currently out to a senior woman to direct a Center; there is a second offer out to a female associate professor, and a new female assistant professor has just accepted a job offer. But the cure won't come overnight — building departments and department culture takes time. Once problems are recognized and addressed, their resolution requires lots of both time and patience. All this notwithstanding, several men in the department were annoyed that the original committee directed to write the Gender Report was composed entirely of women who addressed only women's concerns. The report recommended a full departmental discussion of gender problems and issues, a discussion that has yet to occur. The one or two times this subject came up in a full department meeting, it was very tense. Everyone, especially the men, was extremely uncomfortable. There were repeated attempts to shift the focus of the discussion from substance to procedure. I can't speak for others, but the personal cost to me of this endeavor has been the friendship of one colleague whom I'd regarded as my closest male friend for more than a decade. He's not deigned to speak to me since the preparation of this report, which was not at all targeted at him (or, for that matter against any member of the department.) Women as well as men have contributed to the creation of the status quo.

The specifics will play themselves out differently within each unit and department, but the questions to keep in mind are these: What are the hiring statistics within your unit? To whom have offers been made and by whom have they been accepted? 2. What is the current demographic situation?; How many men and women at each rank? 3. Where is the power in the department? Who serves on the C.A.P.?; Who chairs the department? Who does the work of running the department on a quotidian basis, i.e., who holds the positions of DGS and DUS? How are the staff and students treated? 4. Whose voices are heard and considered at department meetings? 5. Are men and women treated equally in terms of both service obligations, departmental support, and opportunities for advancement within your unit?

I believe that questions of a statistical nature with regard to gender are now being incorporated into the department self study documents. However, in some cases it may be appropriate for responses that go beyond statistics. Departments, for example, may want to look at their hiring practices over the past decade the distribution of women and minorities throughout the ranks and retention rates; the presence of women within the department's governing structures as well as its gender composition within its graduate and undergraduate majors. Others may want to explore less tangible dimensions such as what its like to be a member of the department, whether male or female. What are the practices within the department that are conducive to a healthy climate and do they exist in the department?

I'd also advise learning from the experience of the case study above, where from the beginning the research and final report focused on the experience of women (and to a lesser extent minorities) to the exclusion of men. Ideally, the committees charged with exploring these topics should be composed of both males and females and should remember that gender encompasses both male and female. Whenever possible, the report should be fair and non-vitriolic. Examples of "bad" practices should be cited only in the context of how to make things better going forward.

(See in Appendix: Sample "Departmental Gender Report" for outside reviewers)

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h. Hostile departments
Charles Dickens famously began A Tale of Two Cities with the words: "it was the best of times; it was the worst of times." Something similar can be said about Notre Dame. It is the best of universities; it is the worst of universities. On the "best" side, the quality of Notre Dame students is superb, and they are hard working, idealistic, and for the most part, gracious. Notre Dame also is improving, according to almost every academic criterion available. It is a first-rate institution with some of the best undergraduate education in the country. The university likewise has almost unlimited financial resources to accomplish anything it wishes. Together with Princeton, it is the only university in the U.S., without a medical school, that has an endowment of more than a billion dollars. As a consequence, there is tremendous support for faculty needs of all kinds — far more support than at most state universities. Notre Dame also places great emphasis on teaching, and that fact makes it a very balanced place, supportive of students.

For faculty interested in social-justice work, Notre Dame is the institution of choice. There are numerous opportunities for service-based learning, and both the Center for Social Concern and the Hesburgh Center [Kroc Institute] for International and Peace Studies focus on education and action, involving students, to serve poor or marginalized people throughout the world. Being surrounded by people who take religion seriously could be enriching to your own work. Other Notre Dame benefits include the strong sense of community, aided in part by the remote location, football, and Notre Dame's Catholic character. In addition, South Bend is a great place to raise children (though many of the public schools are poor), and the cost of living is extraordinarily low. The proximity to Chicago and its cultural riches helps to compensate for meager offerings of the South Bend community.

As is often the case, precisely these strengths produce problems of their own for some women and men on the faculty. Even the institution's wealth can end up magnifying inequities, or at least increasing perceptions of unfairness. The strong sense of community can feel alien and isolating to people who are outsiders in various ways — because of religion, race, gender or sexual preference. (See the specific chapters in this book on being African-American, Asian, gay, Jewish, Protestant and Catholic at Notre Dame.)

There are at least 10 factors, four of which are quite common to all Ivy League institutions, that make it difficult for female faculty members here:
  • Like many of the best universities in the country, Notre Dame admitted women only about 30 years ago. As a consequence, its traditions and its culture have been slow to accept both faculty and student women as intellectual equals.

  • A second factor, also shared with other prestigious institutions, is that the percentage of female faculty members at Notre Dame is about half that at U.S. colleges overall.

  • Third, like other private and religious-affiliated universities, Notre Dame is not bound by affirmative-action requirements normally monitored at state universities.

  • Fourth, the high tuition and limited financial aid for students mean that Notre Dame is not very diverse. (Notre Dame meets all "needs" of students, but often with loans, not scholarships -- an arrangement which can and does discriminate against minority students. Indeed, its loan system makes it less diverse than most Ivy League institutions.) Few students are from minority or poor families. (The university seems to be paying more attention to this lack recently and there has been an increase in minority students, in particular from Mexico and Latin America.)

  • As a consequence, most of the students who come here are children of corporate employees and middle-level managers from the Midwest. Students here tend to be more gracious and polite than at some other places, but they often are more socially and culturally conservative. There is little recognition here of the need to be politically correct, at least insofar as women are concerned, and there is even disdain for political correctness.

  • A sixth factor contributing to the sexist atmosphere at Notre Dame is the fact that some of the Roman Catholics here have aligned themselves with fundamentalist segments of the Church and have not really accepted the strong social-justice emphasis of Roman Catholicism (see Chapter 13a called "The Catholic Character of Notre Dame.")

  • Seventh, given its founding by priests, Notre Dame retains a clerical social character, rather than a family-based social character. Clerical attitudes are often manifested in subtle and not so subtle forms of sexism or misogyny. The fact that women cannot be Roman Catholic priests results in the exclusion of women from certain kinds of positions and particular kinds of power at Notre Dame. (It should be noted that there are some women in high positions in the administration. Some work very hard to mitigate the latent sexism. Others do not.)

  • Eighth, unlike most state institutions, Notre Dame has limited faculty governance and almost nothing of university-wide or administrative importance is decided democratically. Notre Dame is run in a more top-down, benevolent-dictator fashion. Most professors are not willing to "make waves" or to fight for more faculty voice — perhaps because they are so well-paid and accommodated. As a result, even when female faculty members see the need for change, it is difficult both to find a collective voice and to use democratic channels to gain support for that voice. (Within departments there is usually much more democratic practice — on issues of hiring, promotions, curriculum, recruitment of graduate students, etc. And some new initiatives, such as certain institutes and Summer Shakespeare programs have been generated by departmental energy.)

  • Ninth, Notre Dame tends to be less hospitable to women faculty because, as compared to professors at other prestigious universities, male faculty here are less likely to have professional wives who work outside the home. It is difficult for accomplished wives to obtain employment in a small town like South Bend and, as a consequence, faculty with professional wives often accept jobs elsewhere. Professors who accept positions at Notre Dame are often those with more traditional wives and as a consequence, their image of women is different from that of many male professors elsewhere in the country. (Any new woman faculty member who stumbles into the meetings of the very friendly organization, "The Ladies of Notre Dame and St. Mary's," might be forgiven for assuming that indeed faculty wives can be rather conservative.) On the other hand, a number of male colleagues came to Notre Dame decades ago with wives who also had PhDs but were unable to get acceptable positions at the university. They had to make some tough decisions in order to live here and several of those women retrained and took up totally different professions. Neither they nor their husbands are particularly "traditional" in terms of gender relations.

  • Finally, the strong emphasis on athletics at Notre Dame — in particular, football — may be correlated with sexism or misogyny. Surveys indicate that at universities where either sports or fraternities play a large role, there tend to be more rapes and more sexism.

Of course, Notre Dame faculty and administrators almost universally pay lip service to female equality. Many of them know the rhetoric and use it, but they often are not willing to act when their support is necessary to stop discrimination, to ensure equal treatment and to address the gender imbalance in the faculty. Outspoken feminists are harder to get hired. Even if faculties vote to hire them, their appointments can be stopped "at the top." Women professors who go to the administration for help often can expect to be treated politely and kindly but ignored. In some departments, when female faculty come up for promotion or tenure, they can expect to be scrutinized according to the exact letter of the law. When male faculty of the same rank, in the same departments, come up, they often have buddies who will work behind the scenes to obtain friendly outside reviewers and to skew the situation in their favor. When women professors, evaluated for tenure or promotion, have many publications, grants, and excellent teaching evaluations, they often are faulted for not being "collegial" or "easy to work with". When male faculty with few publications, few grants, and low teaching evaluations come up for tenure, their male colleagues often use a lesser standard to evaluate them, and they claim that "they are brilliant" or are working on some long-term project that has not yet come to fruition. These same excuses are almost never used for female faculty members. The normal democratic and procedural safeguards for such situations, in place at state universities, typically do not function well enough at Notre Dame.

Officially, however, the university's statistics do not show more women failing at the point of tenure than men, although many factors make those numbers notoriously difficult to interpret. I would advise any woman considering accepting a position at Notre Dame to look carefully into her prospective department's recent record with regard to tenuring and promoting women.

Specifically, the climate for women is either "chilly" or "warm", depending on the department. Some departments actively recruit women (The Notre Dame Physics Department has a higher percentage of female faculty members than the Philosophy Department.) Others are hostile to women, even if they hire them.

What follows are some worst case scenarios. A new female faculty member can expect to receive few dinner invitations from their male colleagues and, instead, is likely to be treated as an acquaintance rather than welcomed warmly into the department as a peer. She can expect to hear sexist comments and to endure sexist presuppositions, in part because the males engaging in such behavior are so clueless that they are not even aware that they are being offensive. In subtle ways she can expect to be treated more like a secretary or a "gopher" than a professional equal with professional goals.

Even senior female faculty members report that some male colleagues tell students not to take their courses. Women also typically have a hard time recruiting the very best female grad students. In some departments, women can expect to have some of their colleagues condone sexual harassment or refuse to recognize it. In some departments, they can expect to have female job candidates subjected to a higher standard than the males who are interviewed. In the year 2000, for example, the highest-ranked Notre Dame department refused to hire a young woman with a Princeton Ph.D. (Princeton has the top-ranked department in the world ), treated her with unfairness and hostility during the interview, then concluded that she was not bright enough to join them. The young woman received numerous prestigious job offers and accepted a tenure-track job at Yale.

Although Notre Dame faculty and administration typically do not display an overt hostility to women, many men here are either not comfortable with women, or are threatened by accomplished women, or are jealous of successful female colleagues. If women try to correct any sort of discrimination or work to hire female faculty, they often will be viewed as radicals, even lunatics. If women describe themselves as "feminists," they can expect to be ignored and gossiped about. One of the most troubling things about Notre Dame is that women and gays, in particular, often do not feel comfortable here.
Chapter 13g)

On the other hand, many of us have entered much warmer departments and have had some extraordinarily supportive male colleagues — including some department chairs — who are committed to improving Notre Dame's climate for women. The English, Anthropology, and the Department of Film, Television & Theatre Departments all maintain gender equality in their ranks.

Despite the obvious benefits of being at Notre Dame, some female professors will need to learn to survive in a department hostile to women. Here are some suggestions for doing so.

First, remember that your teaching and research accomplishments will always be with you, regardless of the university where you are employed. The more successful you are professionally, the more power you will have to help other women and to overcome those who might treat you unfairly. Spend your time and energy developing your research program, not worrying about your department.

Second, expect to draw much of your support from the national community in your discipline, and work hard to be a part of that community. Do not depend on your department colleagues alone for support. If you must deal with department problems and worries about departmental treatment of you, reserve an hour or two a week to talk about this with a supporter or to think about it and analyze the situation. Do not let the sexism dominate your consciousness.

Third, seek out an advocate-mentor-confidant in your department, someone you can talk to, someone who will protect you. Finding such a person and feeling comfortable with him or her will take some time, so try to meet people for lunch and initiate conversations with them so that you can "get a feel" for possible mentors and friends in the department. If there is no one in your department to fill this role, talk to some WATCH members who can suggest other women who will work with you.

Fourth, if you are beginning to feel that you are treated unfairly, do not withdraw from department activities and events. Remain a part of things. A typical pattern at Notre Dame is that a new female professor will be treated badly or ignored by members of her department, then she will find it too painful to be around them. As a consequence she will withdraw, and the men will complain that "we never see you around." The men, of course, typically will be completely unaware of all the things they are doing that make the new hire feel unwelcome.

Fifth, try to win over your colleagues with graciousness and cordiality. Don't let your fears, worries, or disagreements spill over into your treatment of them. You may not be able to change them, but at least you want them to know that you are a good person and that you wish no one ill. You also don't want to give any of them a reason, in addition to possible sexism, for disliking you.

Sixth, ask all the members of your department for advice about tenure procedures and performance; also ask them to be open with you about your performance, and ask some of them to visit your classes and give you comments on your teaching. You must try to be strong enough to learn and hear all these things, both because these requests from you can build bridges to other colleagues, can begin to establish a relationship of trust and openness, can tell what problems you may need to overcome, and can make you aware of potential obstacles in the future and therefore better prepared for them.

Seventh, although it is impossible to list all the strategies for surviving in a hostile department, talk to senior women, particularly in the same college as you, for other suggestions. The women at Notre Dame are very supportive of each other, perhaps in part because many of us face difficult situations. You can find a way to grow personally and professionally here, even if you are in a hostile department.

Eighth, If you become aware of sexual discrimination against yourself that you are unable to address directly, you should seek redress by discussing the matter with any of the following: your college diversity officer; an associate dean or dean; the associate provost responsible for affirmative action, or the head of the new Office of Institutional Equity who can investigate the situation and make recommendations to the appropriate people.

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1 Notre Dame's Mission Statement says: "The intellectual interchange essential to a university requires, and is enriched by, the presence and voices of diverse scholars and students."

2 Notre Dame's Mission Statement says: "The Catholic identity of the University depends upon, and is nurtured by, the continuing presence of a predominant number of Catholic intellectuals."

3 Final Report of the Colloquy for the Year 2000 p. 4.

4 Final Report of the Colloquy for the Year 2000 p. 4.

5 Id.

6 Recommendation Two of the Final Report of the Colloquy for the Year 2000 says: "In the interest of sustaining and developing the Catholic character of the University, it is anticipated that the Congregation of Holy Cross will continue to emphasize academic careers and it is recommended that the university give special consideration in personnel decisions, consistent with prevailing standards of excellence, to the Congregation's unique role at Notre Dame."








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6/15/02 12:47 AM
2007 University of Notre Dame