Dying for Tenure: Race, Promotion and Tenure

Inside Higher Ed reports this news from MIT:

James Sherley, who started a hunger strike February 5 outside the provost’s office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ended his protest Friday. Sherley, who is black, maintains that racism played a role in MIT rejecting his tenure bid and he previously pledged to fast until he was either awarded tenure or died. On Friday, MIT and Sherley jointly issued statements announcing the end of the fast. Sherley said that his demands remain, but that he was breaking the fast “in celebration of the attention that has been brought to bear on issues of equity, diversity and justice at MIT and in higher education.” MIT said that it “deeply regrets” the hunger strike, but said that it had “focused attention on the effects that race may play in the hiring, advancement and experience of under-represented minority faculty, and on ensuring that our grievance processes are comprehensive, fair, and timely.”

It is naive to assume that institutes of higher education are totally exempt from prejudices that exist in society as a whole. Nonetheless, it is impossible to know what role (if any) race played in this tenure case.

I’m encouraged by indications that the face of academia is changing (albeit slowly). The racial and gender mix of the students I see in doctoral programs is very different than what I’ve noted in most business school faculty. I hope the increased diversity of today’s student population does indeed translate into increased diversity of tenured faculty in future decades.


A PhdComics Break

It could be worse…

Call for Papers — Hawaii International Conference on System Science

I’m sure there’s a call for papers on the web for the HICSS conference in general, here’s one for a minitrack that may be of particular interest to this group:

HICSS ’41 Minitrack
January 7-10, 2008
Big Island, Hawaii, USA

Important Dates:
Full Paper Submission: June 15, 2007
Author Notification: August 15, 2007
Final Version Submission and Registration: September 15, 2007
Conference: January 7-10, 2008

Social network analysis and understanding of social networks is a rapidly growing field within computer science and information systems. Recent Web developments, in particular the development of Web 2.0 and paradigms of real time experimentation provide an opportunity to examine “on-line social networks” and use that information for better software and better organizations. Social networks provide an abstraction that can represent almost any type of human interaction.

There are over 40 years of empirical results that have helped to better understand and
manage regions, organizations and individuals. Computer technology has aided this effort by providing the ability to visualize, analyze and simulate social networks. In addition, collaborative software broadened the possibilities of interaction. The Social networks and collaboration
minitrack will include social networks as it relates to information systems which may include business processes, network analysis of collaborative software, simulation of social links by analogy and other methods on the Web, semantic networks, algorithms, visualization,
persuasion, and knowledge networks.

The topics for this the Social networks and collaboration minitrack include but are not be limited to:

• Distribution of knowledge – how do people make decisions based on  advice networks.
• Innovation – organization network structure of innovation, how  structure affects innovation.
• Productivity – organizational network structure that affects productivity.
• Tools – tools that map, track or visualize social networks to provide  management decision support.
• Case studies of using social network analysis.
• Effect of network density on quality – innovation is doing things  differently; quality often means doing things the same.
• Organizational network measurement – ways of tracking and mapping the  social networks in organizations.
• Organizational network education – how network knowledge affects  management decisions, productivity or innovation.
• Organizational knowledge sharing – tools that aid sharing of knowledge through social networks.

Authors submit full papers by June 15. Follow the Author Instructions to be found on the HICSS web site (http://www.hicss.org), as deadlines approach. All papers will be submitted in double column publication format and limited to 10 pages including diagrams and references. Authors of accepted papers submit Final Version of paper by September 15. At least one author of each accepted paper must register by September 15 with specific plans to attend the conference.
Authors may contact Minitrack Chairs for guidance and indication of appropriate content at anytime.

Minitrack organizers:

Harri Oinas-Kukkonen (Primary contact)
University of Oulu, Department of Information Processing Science
Rakentajantie 3, 90570 Oulu, Finland
Direct phone: +358-8-553-1914
Departmental phone: +358-8-553-1900
Departmental fax: +358-8-553-1890
Email: Harri.Oinas-Kukkonen@oulu.fi

Andrew B. Hargadon
University of California Davis, Graduate School of Management One
Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.
Direct phone: (530) 752-2277
Departmental phone: (530) 752-7658
Departmental Fax: (530) 752-2924
E-mail: abhargadon@ucdavis.edu

Donald F. Steiny
University of Oulu, Department of Information Processing Science
Rakentajantie 3, 90570 Oulu, Finland
Departmental phone: +358-8-553-1900
Departmental fax: +358-8-553-1890
Email: dsteiny@stanford.edu
Alternate US phone: +1-831-471-1671

A Matter of Style

Like Nick, I’m spending more than a little bit of time this week reviewing research papers.

That brings me to my pet peeve of manuscript reviewing. If you read the APA style guide you might fall under the mistaken impression that you should place all of your figures and tables at the very end of your document.

Guess what? That’s not true. That idea is a hold-over from “back in the day” when typewriters, not word-processors, were the primary form of document preparation. It’s only true in APA when submitting a document for publication–when it will be typeset–not when you are self-publishing a manuscript.

When you submit a manuscript to a conference you are submitting, well, a manuscript. You are publishing a document for a select audience of 3-5 very important readers: the editors and reviewers who will decide if your research is included at that conference. What format makes their job easier?

My strong preference: put the tables and figures in the document, in context. I find it very distracting to go back and forth between the text and the back of the document looking for tables and figures. You’re already blocking off (wasting, shall we say) a quarter of a page telling me where each one goes, just stick it there for me. Make my life easier as a reader, not harder.

And, yes, I feel the same way about submissions to journals, too. Unless the journal guidelines clearly say to put tables and figures at the end, put them where they’ll be easiest to read.

If you’re lucky enough to have your research accepted for publication, you’ll probably have to do special formatting anyway (like moving each figure to its own file, for example). Worry about that stuff then. Meanwhile, do everything you can to improve your odds during the review process.

There’s that’s my rant. 

[Now, how long before someone says they prefer all that stuff shuttled off to the end…]

Open Thread

What’s on your mind?

Living on a Graduate Student Budget

After a professional career in the computer software industry, one of the biggest adjustments in my return to Graduate School was changing my attitude to money. Now, here in my fourth year, I truly have new found appreciation for the value of a dollar!

I was poking around on the web today for advice on how to live on a graduate student budget. Most sites focus on housing choices. No surprise, it’s probably the single largest financial decision and one that drives many other expenses (like transportation, utilities, even recreation and shopping expenses).

I did find even more specific advice laid out at the Harvard School of Public Health:

Choices and Adjustments
Many HSPH students have not been in school for several years and have developed a lifestyle that is dependent on their level of earnings. Returning to school as a graduate student may require an adjustment to spending habits. A more frugal lifestyle may seem like a difficult sacrifice, but should be viewed as a temporary measure that will be well worth the short-term inconvenience. Below are some ideas for reducing costs:

  • Roommates: Sharing the cost of rent is always less expensive than living alone.
  • Inexpensive clothing: For those moving from warmer climates, inexpensive winter clothing can be purchased at local second hand clothing stores, consignment shops, and discount stores. Dressing in several layers is warmest so that a few sweaters, a coat, a hat, a pair of gloves, and a pair of waterproof boots can take you through a Boston winter.
  • Limit entertainment costs: Planning for recreational activities should be done within the limits of your budget. As part of a university community, you may be able to use your student status and ID for discounts for movies, plays, museums, and other cultural activities in the Boston area. Many area schools also offer free social activities as well.
  • Do not bring a car: Financial aid cannot cover costs of car payments, insurance, parking, or maintenance. Owning a car in Boston is very expensive; insurance rates and parking costs in most areas are expensive. Using public transportation is most economical.
  • Pay off credit card debt before school begins: Your budget should only include current living expenses.

It all looks like sound advice to me, with the caveat that in some locales a car is an unfortunate necessity.

In other money-saving tips, I would add: shop for textbooks online, avoid impulse buying and look into all the possible avenues (your dept., your school, other grants, professor’s research budgets) for conference travel reimbursement.

Did you find the transition to a graduate student budget difficult? What strategies have worked (or failed!) for you?

Calls for Papers: European Conferences

Looking for an interesting conference to attend in Europe? Here’s two recent calls for papers on OCIS-related topics.

  • Workshop on Social Aspects of the Web (SAW 2007) in conjunction with 10th International Conference on Business Information Systems BIS 2007 in co-operation with ACM SIGMIS. Poznan, Poland, April 25 – 27, 2007.
  • CFP SociUM Workshop: International Workshop on Adaptation and Personalisation in Social Systems: Groups, Teams, Communities – in conjunction with UM’2007. Corfu, Greece. June 26, 2007.

Full details below the fold.

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