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creating a good climate for women

Karen Allendoerfer ravena at cco.caltech.edu
Fri Jun 21 10:16:09 EST 1996

In article <1996Jun13.182452.6715 at alw.nih.gov>,
Bharathi Jagadeesh <bjag at cog.nimh.nih.gov> wrote:
>Susan Hogarth writes
>:  _However_, the operative word in your post 
>: > seems to me to be the term "private fellowships".
>: > Why shouldn't they make whatever conditions 
>: > they want? (not _trying_ to be flippant here,

>Jane Dorweiler writes
>: In theory, yes, but Gov't fellowships frequently
>: have very similar criteria.  
>And aside from whether it is legal, there is the more
>important question of whether it is right. And there,
>I suggest that it is, at the least, inappropriate to
>make selection criterion that are not relevant to the
>goals desired by the fellowship (i.e. doing good science).
>If the fellowships purpose is to foster cooperation among
>communities, encourage international cooperation, then
>the situation is different. But we do need to be careful
>to examine whether the rules are really directed to a
>specific goal, or merely exclusionary.
>Is evryone suggesting that it would be "right" (or unobjectionalbe)
>for private fellowships to use height, eye color, or
>physical attractiveness as a criterion for awarding a
>fellowship to do science?

I find myself agreeing with Barathi on one hand, that we "need to
be careful to examine whether the rules are really directed to a
specific goal, or merely exclusionary."

But maybe we are forgetting that there are plus sides, scientifically,
to moving to another institution.  

I just recently had lunch with a friend of mine in New York, who is in
the humanities, and is up for tenure.  She came from California, and 
feels like an outsider, and she also feels some hostility from her new
chairman, who is not the chairman who hired her.  The chairman who hired
her she describes as a "visionary" who was interested in bringing in new
ideas, as well as bringing in diverse racial groups and women.  The
new chair she describes as beholden to an archaic and arcane "old boys'
network."  He was an undergrad AND got his Ph.D. at the institution at
which she works.  She was making the argument that the department, by
a policy of hiring and promoting its "own," had created a hidebound
political bureaucracy that was very hostile to outside ideas (and to her
personally).  Since I don't know all the particulars of her situation, 
and her field is not science, I suppose the applicability of her story is
somewhat limited.  But I do think that universities, departments, and
individual scientists can and do benefit from intermixing and moving around.
I think an important one of these benefits can be the destruction or
prevention from forming of inbred "old-boys" networks.


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