Thursday, August 28, 2014
As we begin this new academic year, a reminder of the power and beauty of the law from a past address of Professor Cheryl Hanna. (Re)Committing to a Life of the Law
But more importantly, I don’t just love the law, I love lawyers. I have the greatest admiration and respect for what you do. Now, that is not to say that we don’t have problems in the profession . . . . But it is my humble opinion the law and those who practice it are among the most important people in our democracy.
But I have been very disturbed lately by what I see as unjustified attacks on the profession. . . .
To that end, Todd asked me to give an inspirational talk. I am not sure that I can do that, but as a professor, I can give you homework. In the medical field, there is something that is called the model of the reflective practitioner. The premise is simple: professionals who intentionally reflect upon what they do and why they do it learn in more profound ways and express greater satisfaction with their profession. Doctors are being trained to actively engage in professional reflection as part of their medical education. However, law schools have not done a good job of implementing similar training for lawyers, and thus, lawyers often don’t have the tools or guidance to become a reflective practitioner, and, as a result I think, often experience greater ambivalence about the legal profession and their role in it.
So, I’d like to introduce some concept about intentional reflection to you and give you some tools to use to try to become a reflective practitioner with the hope that you will do yourselves justice and find more meaning in your professional lives.
[h/t Jackie Gardina]
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
As we start back to school, lots of thinking about what faculty do.
- What goes through a professor's mind. TaxProfBlog, Shadow Syllabus
- Professors should stop assigning textbooks. ATL, Professors, The Cause Of and the Solution To the Great Textbook Scam
- Elite education has become only about achievement, not expanding minds. NYT Book Review, The Enclosure of the American Mind
- Online education rush requires faculty to give away their intellectual property rights. Chronicle, The Erosion of Faculty Rights
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
It’s what he sees as the “unilateral” tightening of Northeastern’s publication standards for tenure by Provost Stephen W. Director. Three tenure denial cases from this year are under appeal, with each professor claiming that her application was judged against unclear, inconsistent standards—particularly about publication—at the provost’s level of review. That’s after they’d been backed by faculty reviewers and their deans.
[One woman] was informed in a relatively short letter of denial from the provost that her publications “have not appeared in the most highly regarded journals in the field and have not yet had a clear impact on the field.”
All three women professors write on interdisciplinary topics involving gender.
- Shelley Kimelberg (sociology, PhD Harvard). Her recent research focused on middle-class mothers and urban public schools
- Denise Horn (international relations/Poli sci, PhD Rutgers). Her book is Women, Civil Society and the GeoPolitics of Civilization (Routledge)
- Kimberly Juanita Brown (English, PhD Yale). Her book project is a program of The Reed Foundation, in support of her book project is “The Repeating Body: Slavery’s Resonance in the Contemporary."
Thursday, July 31, 2014
We previously posted about the religious exemption from Title IX granted to a religious school over dormitory housing for a transgender student. The school is run by the Quakers, but the Quaker leaders don't agree that on what their religion holds. Debate Over Transgender Student Reveals Division in Quaker Church
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Harper Jean Tobin and Jennifer Levi have posted Securing Equal Access to Sex-Segregated Facilities for Transgender Students, 28 Wisconsin J. Law, Gender & Soc'y 301 (2013).
If Title IX is to have any real meaning for transgender students, it must protect a student's ability to live and participate in school as a member of the gender with which they identify. This means that students must be permitted to use gender-segregated spaces, including restrooms and locker rooms, consistent with their gender identity, without restriction. Denial of equal access to facilities that correspond to a student's gender identity singles out and stigmatizes transgender students, inflicts humiliation and trauma, interferes with medical treatment, and empowers bullies. A student subjected to these conditions is, by definition, deprived of an equal opportunity to learn because of his or her transgender status, and therefore, because of his or her sex. Arguments against equal access reflect broader animus and stereotypes about transgender people, and rely on justifications that have been rejected by courts in related contexts. Access consistent with a student's gender identity is widely practiced, and is the only workable and nondiscriminatory approach that is consistent with Title IX's requirement of equal educational opportunity.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
The US Department of Education (ED) recently granted George Fox University (GFU) a religious exemption from Title IX to, effectively granting the institution permission to discriminate against transgender student Jayce M. while he was pushing the administration to assign him to a male dormitory on campus.
Monday, June 9, 2014
From the Chicago Tribune:
Peter Yu, Drew Sterrett and Lewis McLeod were headed toward bright futures at prestigious colleges and universities when each got involved in one-night sexual encounters.
All three young men claimed the encounters were consensual — but the women asserted otherwise. In each case, campus officials found the men responsible for sexual assault and expelled or suspended them.
...all three are pushing back, suing the schools on charges that their rights to a fair hearing were violated.
The three young men are suing Vassar College, the University of Michigan and Duke University, respectively; students who were suspended or expelled for sexual assault have also filed actions against Occidental College, Columbia University, Xavier University, Swarthmore College, Delaware State University and a host of other campuses.
Most are arguing that the college hearing process is unfair. In a new twist, some young men also are asserting that the college discipline process is skewed against them because of their gender, violating the 1972 Title IX law, which bans sex discrimination by schools receiving federal funds.
Some critics argue that students should have the right to an attorney and to directly question their accusers — protections not granted on all campuses.
They also expressed concerns about the federal government's 2011 directive to apply a lower burden of proof — "preponderance of evidence" — in these sexual misconduct hearings, instead of the higher standard of "clear and convincing evidence" that some campuses had been using.
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Nice Guys (and Girls) Do Finish First. "The hot new theory that says generous people do better at work than selfish ones." The organizational psychology research documents three types of workers: takers - the "what's in in for me"; matchers - quid pro quo; and givers - give with no expectation of reciprocity. I bet most Associate Deans can attest to this categorization. The surprising news in this research is that givers end up at both ends of the spectrum - as both stars and doormats. The goal is to give without sacrificing your own goals.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
2013 Legis. Bill Hist. CA A.B. 2350 (May 14, 2014)
This bill prohibits postsecondary education institutions from requiring a graduate student to take a leave of absence, withdraw from a graduate program, or limit his or her studies due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related issues. Specifically, this bill:
1) Requires institutions to reasonably accommodate pregnant graduate students so they may complete their graduate education programs.
2) Stipulates that an enrolled graduate student in good academic standing who chooses a leave of absence due to pregnancy, or who has recently given birth, shall return to her program in good academic standing following a leave period determined by the institution of up to two academic semesters, whichever is longer. A longer absence may be authorized for medical reasons.
3) Stipulates that a graduate student per (2) shall be allowed a period consistent with the institution's policies or 12 additional months, whichever is longer, to prepare for and take preliminary and qualifying examinations, and a 12-month extension toward the normative time to degree, unless a longer extension is medically necessary.
4) Requires every institution to have a written policy on pregnancy discrimination and procedures for Title IX pregnancy discrimination complaints and the name and contact information of the institution's Title IX compliance officer, and requires the policy to be made available to all students attending orientation sessions.
Basis for the proposed law?
1. Because Title IX says so.
2. To help get more women in STEM careers.
According to the University of California at Berkeley Law Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy (Institute), in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), preventing pregnancy discrimination is of utmost importance because women are not advancing in the field at the same rates as men, largely because of pregnancy and family concerns. The Institute finds that women now represent a large part of the talent pool for research science, but many data sources indicate that they are more likely than men to "leak" out of the pipeline in the sciences before obtaining tenure at a college or university. The Institute opines that Title IX protection is particularly vital for working students because Title IX also requires pregnancy leave for educational programs as well as the workplace.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
From the authors of the recent study Professors are Prejudiced Too that has been in the news. Explaining the methodology of how they discovered that professors respond more to mentor students who are white men.
- The good news. "Despite not knowing the students, 67 percent of the faculty members responded to the emails, and remarkably, 59 percent of the responders even agreed to meet on the proposed date with a student about whom they knew little and who did not even attend their university."
- The bad news. "Professors were more responsive to white male students than to female, black, Hispanic, Indian or Chinese students in almost every discipline and across all types of universities."
- And. "We found the most severe bias in disciplines paying higher faculty salaries and at private universities."
Maybe its not just Princeton freshmen that need to check their privilege.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
I just published the book chapter, Teaching Women's Legal History in Teaching Legal History: Comparative Perspectives (Robert Jarvis, ed. 2014). Here's an excerpt:
My objectives for the class focus on women, historical relevance, and feminist methodology. First, the class is designed to explore the historical development of women’s rights in the law, information that is mostly absent in other courses except for a scattered representation in constitutional law. Second, my goal is to foster an appreciation for the modern significance of that history. This “applied legal history” approach seeks a useable past that enables history to be relevant to ongoing legal disputes of gender. Finally, the course introduces and utilizes feminist methodology of deconstruction and integration. It trains the students to read the law with suspicion by looking beyond the seeming objectivity of the law to expose assumptions and biases. It also then adds to that law and context the omitted experiences of women. There is value in expanding feminist methodology beyond the usual feminist theory class because it offers a critical way of approaching the law, emphasizes social context, and teaches gender as a core value.
So suggests a new study, Prestigious Colleges Won't Make You Happy in Life or Work. What does result in happiness, defined to mean positive well-being and engagement? The study says "not selectivity or prestige, but cost of attendance, great teaching and deep learning, in that order."
The take-home message for students is clear, says Brandon Busteed, who leads Gallup's education work: "If you can go to Podunk U debt free vs. Harvard for $100,000, go to Podunk. And concentrate on what you do when you get there."
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
From the NYT, Fight Against Sexual Assault Holds Colleges to Account. The many news accounts have been tracking colleges' failures to properly investigate complaints of sexual assault, delaying action, using sloppy fact gathering, authorizing untrained decisionmakers, and refusing to issue effective sanctions or preventions. This article points to other systemic failures.
1. Universities Haven't Prioritized the Issue
“It just hasn’t been on most university administrators’ agendas; they don’t know how to approach it, and they just haven’t taken the time to be informed,” said Bonnie S. Fisher, a professor at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Criminal Justice and an author of some of the largest studies of campus sex crimes. “It’s just another issue on their desks that they’re hoping doesn’t cause a loss of students or bad media attention.”
2. The Obama administation has used a stricter interpretation of existing laws.
Universities have increasingly been told that this means they are required to protect students from sexual harassment and assault. In 2011, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights sent a letter to colleges, putting them on notice that it saw many of them as mishandling sexual assault cases, and that it would use a new, stricter interpretation of their duties under Title IX.
That helped fuel a jump in Title IX complaints filed with the Office for Civil Rights by students against colleges, specifically about their responses to sexual violence — from 11 in the 2009-10 fiscal year to 31 in 2012-13 and 37 in the first eight months of the current year.
At the same time, the Clery Act requires federally financed colleges and universities to disclose the number of cases of sexual assault reported on or near their campuses each year.
3. Education, maybe, is a unique context.
The Obama administration has told universities they must use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard in deciding whether to hold an accused student responsible, not the stricter “clear and convincing” rule many used. Some civil libertarians have cried foul, and public universities have asked whether the rule could conflict with the due process rights they, as arms of the states, must give the accused.
Monday, May 5, 2014
It's April, which means, it's near Prom Time for many high school students. Which brings us to this Slate article (by "last April," the article means to refer to April 2013):
Last April, Issak Wolfe, a transgender high school student at Red Lion Area High School in Pennsylvania, was denied the opportunity to run for prom king by his school’s principal. His fellow classmates and most of his teachers supported and respected his male gender identity, and he had received repeated assurances that his name would appear on the prom king side of the ballot. But when the ballot was released, Issak was dismayed and embarrassed to discover that he was listed as a candidate for prom queen and was referred to by the female name he was assigned at birth instead of his male name. Issak later learned from administrators that the decision was made by his principal, because he “didn’t feel comfortable” with Issak running for prom king.
Fortunately for students like Isaak, the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Education took an incredibly important step forward earlier this week when it declared that discrimination against transgender students is prohibited under existing bans on sex discrimination, specifically Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. While this is tremendous news, OCR must now follow up with comprehensive guidance on Title IX and transgender students to schools nationwide.
Saturday, May 3, 2014
The 5 Takeaways on administrative help from the federal Department of Education to the institutional enforcement against campus assault.
1. Dept of Ed will issue FAQ to guide schools in following Title IX
2. Creation of new website NotAlone.gov to compile previously scattered best-practice resources that has the potential to be a game changer for transparency and awareness.
3. Dept of Ed will collect and disseminate list of schools' Title IX compliance officers
4. Plans to survey more students on campus
5. Model policies and protocols for colleges
Friday, May 2, 2014
On Tuesday, the Obama administration released the first report from the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault, which was created in January, issuing guidance to schools on collecting data, establishing better prevention programs and responses to assaults, and announcing a new federal website that will be a clearinghouse of information and a public source of enforcement data. On the same day, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a new “questions and answers”document clarifying schools’ obligations under Title IX as it pertains to sexual violence. Title IX is a federal law prohibiting gender discrimination.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
A former history professor at the University of Pennsylvania is suing the school, claiming she was denied tenure because she took time off to have and care for her children.
Kristen Stromberg Childers, who taught at the Ivy League college from 2002 until 2010, contends in the federal discrimination lawsuit that her family-leave periods were the "determinative and motivating factors in the decision to deny tenure."
Childers took maternity leave during the 2003-2004 and 2007-2008 academic years for the births of her two children; she also took half-time, half-pay family leave in the 2008-2009 school year due to medical and educational issues her older child was having, the suit says.
She was denied tenure in February 2008 and again after submitting a new application in 2010.
Childers filed a grievance, and a panel in May 2011 found that the review process unfairly considered statements about the assistant professor's child-care leave in making its decision.
According to the lawsuit, the grievance panel found that the chairwoman of Penn's School of Arts and Sciences' personnel committee "inappropriately" wrote to the school's dean that "committee members found it especially hard to judge productivity in light of Dr. Stromberg Childers' family leave time and her junior leave." The dean later said in a letter that it was "difficult to give a balanced assessment" of the professor's productivity "because of the amount of family leave she has had."
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
The federal law that protects students from sex discrimination, Title IX, also protects transgender students, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights formalized in new guidance issued Tuesday.
In new guidance from education officials on the topic of sexual violence in schools, the Department of Education, for the first time, made clear its position that transgender discrimination in schools is included under what it considers as sex-based discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
“Our federal civil rights laws demand that all students — women and men; gay and straight; transgender or not; citizens and foreign students — be allowed to learn and participate in all parts of college life without sexual assault and harassment limiting their opportunities,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights, in a statement. “The Office for Civil Rights stands ready to enforce this core principle to ensure all students’ safety in schools.”
Thursday, April 24, 2014
The Family Law Prof Blog posted Even in Academia, Dads Don't Do Diapers. The assumption of this study was that if there was gender equality in parenting anywhere, it would be in academia where men have more flexible time at home. But, no.
Most of the academics in our study said they believe that husbands and wives should share equally, but almost none did so.” To be precise, only three men out of 109 reported that they performed half the child-care work. One possible explanation, according to the father-and-son duo, is that women derive a higher enjoyment of many of the activities involved in the care of small children. The Rhoads asked the men and women to report their level of enjoyment in performing 25 different tasks—everything from playing with the baby to washing his clothes. On almost every count, women said they experienced a higher level of satisfaction. Steven Rhoads admits the discovery that mothers enjoy changing diapers was, to his own mind, the most surprising aspect of his findings. “It shows you gender roles go pretty deep,” he says.
Are you kidding me?!? The conclusion is that we enjoy changing diapers! Please. The entrenched gender role is not that women enjoy such crappy duties. (Ok, I couldn't resist.) But that they are socially conditioned not to show dissatisfaction with mothering or towards their children under threat of the "bad mother" indictment.