Equity beyond COVID-19

February 17, 2021 / PSU-AAUP

AAUP National

By Simon Feldman and Afshan Jafar

Winter 2021

Revising tenure and promotion standards.

This past year brought unprecedented changes to academia. By early spring many colleges and universities had switched abruptly to remote education amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In the immediate aftermath of this transition, faculty members scrambled to figure out how to teach remotely, how to use breakout rooms, when to mute and unmute ourselves (and turn off our video), and which chair was best suited for hours on end of teaching from home. In the midst of this upheaval, some of us understandably neglected to think about the long-term effects of the pandemic on other aspects of our work—research and service.

After a couple of months, as the reality settled in that we were facing a crisis that would last well beyond the spring, some institutions discussed and implemented tenure-clock stoppages for faculty on the tenure track. The AAUP, along with the American Federation of Teachers, issued “AFT and AAUP Principles for Higher Education Response to COVID-19,” which states, “Tenure-track faculty members whose work is disrupted by the institutional or governmental response to COVID-19 should have the option to stop their tenure clock for the duration of the disruption.”

While this recommendation was appropriate under the circumstances, now, many months deeper into the pandemic, emerging data suggest that it was entirely insufficient. For example, a recent study of manuscript submissions to Elsevier journals, “No Tickets for Women in the COVID-19 Race?,” reveals that COVID-19 has had a largely negative effect on women’s journal submissions. Not only has there been a documented decline in women’s productivity compared with pre-pandemic times; there is now also a decline in women’s productivity compared with that of men.

Read the full article at AAUP National

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