The Special Committee on Tenure and Equity is charged with:
We are hoping to provide colleges and departments with constructive advice and innovative “best practices” for mentoring and promoting junior faculty, with a special emphasis on ways the University can reduce gender disparities. Penn State has recently taken an important step in the right direction, revising our policy to stop the tenure clock so that junior faculty can be allowed two such stoppages rather than one. (While this policy is gender-neutral on paper, it will almost surely affect women more than men, insofar as it deals with issues ranging from childbirth to adoption to eldercare—forms of family labor that have historically fallen primarily to women.) And since these issues are not unique to Penn State, we are hoping that we can provide a useful model for research universities nationwide.
The committee’s task would follow the line of inquiry outlined above– to analyze the Tenure Flow Report and to devise innovative, outside-the-box recommendations for improving the tenure rates for our junior female faculty. This is a broad charge, one that might touch on disparities in expectations for junior faculty regarding research, teaching, and service. But it will be an important task, addressing an issue to which sustained attention seems appropriate.