The dangers of joint appointments

One thing that this article, How Joint Appointments Stall the Careers of Ethnic Studies Professors, does not comment on is that tenure track faculty with joint appointments aren’t always seen as traditional faculty. As marginal insiders, foreigners, so to speak, they are at risk of not having the usual department protections.

Though I was in jointAnthropology/Sociology and Global Studies and not Ethnic Studies as such, I experienced this at Millikin University. I do ethnic studies, and I am ethnic, so in a heavily-white faculty, I’m practically Ethnic Studies.

Since I was escaping a situation where I had felt incredibly vulnerable to vipers and suchlike, I desperately desired safety. I had thought that being part-General Education Coordinator and part-faculty would mean additional layers of protection. Instead, Arts & Sciences appeared miffed that “their” position was “taken” by Academic Affairs. The Dean refused to properly process my annual evaluation paperwork until the Faculty Council pressured him to do so – after a year of me asking politely and wondering what was happening.

Joint appointments can work but, given academic politics, they follow Murphy’s law.


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