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Department level criteria for T & P as required by FSH 3520 H-1 are
ambiguous and inadequate.
PSES revised departmental criteria for Tenure and
Promotion in May, 1999 (appendix 2; http://agweb.ag.uidaho.edu/pses/policy/tenure-reviewprocedures.pdf),
just prior to my bid for Tenure and Promotion.
These guidelines are vague, were not reflected in my position
description, and thus offered little if any specific guidance either in the
clear communication to me of expected achievements for tenure and promotion, or
to reviewers evaluating my accomplishments.
Revised Tenure and Promotion Guidelines in 1999 call
for the inclusion of a position context statement and a personal philosophy
statement in the Professional Portfolio submitted in the Tenure and Promotion
package. However, there is no
similar provision to include a statement of position context or philosophy in
the Position Description on which annual evaluations and eventually tenure and
promotion are judged. As I will
demonstrate in section IV below, my position context and particularly my
research philosophy are critical for evaluating my accomplishments.
I contend that not providing for consideration of this information in the
yearly position description has led to a misjudgment of my case by my
Department Head, who was unaware of the full history of my position.
Thus, I was denied a thorough and objective analysis of my program.
Failure to follow through on recommendations to the department in my
third year review.
My third year review (appendix 5) recommended that
technology transfer responsibilities for the Pollination Ecology position be
shifted to extension personnel. This
was never accomplished. Questions from growers and field reps concerning bee
management and alfalfa seed production continued to be routed to me.
Clear examples of technology transfer activities continued to be accepted
as evidence of accomplishment in annual reviews and in my T&P evaluation
(e.g., my web pages; see my CV, appendix 3). UI extension personnel have asked
me to make presentations at alfalfa seed schools that are not directly related
to my research program, but which address bee management issues of interest to
growers. If extension faculty were
seriously advised to handle technology transfer for me, why was I being asked to
do this kind of presentation? I
know of not one case where extension personnel were explicitly given or took
responsibility to deal with questions of bee management that would otherwise
have been given to me. Indeed, my
expertise in bee management exceeds anyone else’s in the University, so it is
not surprising that technology transfer responsibilities have remained with me.
The third year review sends an ambiguous message
concerning the appropriate balance between extension and short-term vs.
long-term research. Statements such
as “Dr. Strickler should focus her efforts on a long-term research program
that will yield some high-quality publications…” conflict with other
statements such as “One cannot ignore the extension demands that any position
in Parma must answer to…”. Letters
appended to the review from the Idaho and Oregon Alfalfa Seed Commissions
calling for more short-term research at their request add to the ambiguity of
the message. My research program
reflects my perception of the necessary balance between these two conflicting
job requirements, but the extension demands have often required more time than
the 10% service component indicated in my job description.
Thus problems relating to the ambiguous nature of my appointment have
persisted without administrative intervention through my T & P evaluation.
Additionally, my third year review in July 1996
recommended that a mentor be assigned to me as a resource “given the temporary
elimination of the Chair of the Division of Entomology”.
Official guidelines for mentoring were adopted by the department on
8/20/97 (appendix 7), a year after my third year review.
Assignment of my mentors was not accomplished until August, 1998. I was
contacted by one of the assigned mentors in October, 1998, and was not contacted
by the others until February 1999. Lack
of timely appointment of a mentor denied me the long term insight of a potential
advocate for my program. This is
especially troubling given multiple changes in administrators in PSES (appendix
1). I was hired in November,
1993 when Dr. Sharron Quisenberry was Entomology Division Chair. When she left in August 1995, Dr. Larry O’Keeffe was
overextended in his roles as both Department and Division Heads. Dr. Ding Johnson became division chair in September 1997.
Dr. Denny Naylor was interim Department Head from December 1997 through
June 1998 while a new Department Head was sought.
Dr. Mike Weiss, the current Department Head was both new to the job and
suffering from medical problems during critical points in my tenure and
promotion process, making it difficult for him to accurately assess my program.
In addition, faculty at outlying research stations must contend with a
chronic problem of less effective and less timely communication with
administrators in comparison with campus faculty. Thus, I was denied a thorough and objective analysis of my
program. More on the mentorship
problem in section V, below.
Failure to provide outside reviewers with critical information.
Because of the controversial nature of my position
and my program beginning with my hiring, I asked that a confidential letter
written in June 1998 by Dr. O’Keeffe (appendix 6) be sent to outside reviewers
(see e-mail communications with Ding Johnson, appendix 8.
The initial request was made prior to this e-mail).
Due to his illness, Dr. Weiss did not hear of this request in a timely
fashion for distribution to outside reviewers.
Therefore, reviewer assessments of my program could not consider the
controversial nature of my position.
In his letter to President Hoover (appendix 13), Provost Pitcher lists the pattern of votes for Dr. Strickler. Conspicuously absent is the Department vote for tenure, which was marginally positive (appendix 10), and the positive recommendation of the Department committee (appendix 9). In verbal comments to me (March 12, 2000), Provost Pitcher indicated that my outside peer reviews were negative. In his letter (appendix 13) the reviews are characterized as “mixed”. A reading of the letters (appendix 11) reveals that they are in fact very positive. The Provost rejected my request (appendix 13) to be granted another opportunity to come up for tenure due to the highly unusual circumstances of my case. In his verbal communication with me, he indicated that he did not want to oppose the vote of the department. However, I contend that the issues raised in the letter of non-support from my Department Head indicate a lack of understanding of the history and philosophy of my position (see section IV, below). If these issues were raised in the department’s consideration of my research program and/or if premature evaluation of me by my Department Head influenced votes of my colleagues, then the department has not had an opportunity to consider my response, and thus they have judged me inappropriately. On these grounds the provost should grant me another opportunity for consideration.
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