Monday, October 1, 2012

Indiana Jones and the Doom of Tenure

McSweeney's has a lovely post: the tenure denial decision that Henry "Indiana" Jones received.  I always knew that Jones would face much conflict from his peers for ditching office hours, cancelling numerous lectures and engaging in sketchy research practices.  But tenure denial?  Perhaps if we project backwards our standards of today to 1939.  Back then, I am not sure that publication and citation were that important, especially at smaller liberal arts colleges.

I would imagine that helping to fund the school's museum via his "expeditions" would have made up for his lack of publications.  Given the standards of the day about interactions with the students, I do not think his off-campus romances would have mattered at all.  Affiliation with Nazis (however mischaracterized) might have been a bonus in 1939 rather than a detriment.

Clearly, Jones would have received a negative vote from his colleagues--not due to publications but because the gallivanting would have imposed significant costs on the rest of the department.  Jealousy, too, would have played a role, as Jones managed to get heaps of travel grants, had the undeserving admiration of the female students, and had an "in" with the museum.  But the big question is whether his financial backers might have swayed the Dean and the President of the University to focus on Jones's contributions to his country and to his college (via artifacts).

So, I would say that Jones's case is still under review.  Clearly, his appeal has been hurt by the whole Crystal Skull/aliens fiasco.

Too soon to tell, of course.  These appeals can take a great deal of time.

No comments: