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Drexel University – Bias in the Halls of Academe?

Breaking news of a scandal rocking Drexel University shows the employment of “rigged” processing in the granting or withholding of promotion and tenure to professors that reeks of bias and subjectivism.

An anonymous source among senior full professors at Drexel has revealed that the processing of candidates for promotion and tenure at the LeBow College of Business at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, shows taint of favoritism and dis-favoritism.

LeBow College of Business is reported to have 100 professors, of which reportedly five are women, according to the source. This fact alone is cause for speculation while absorbing the following details underlying the scandal.

A galvanic case is at the heart of the scandal. The particular circumstances of the case span the six-year career path of an assistant professor in the business school, who has achieved an outstanding record, but who is denied promotion and tenure on highly suspect grounds.

Background

The progression of a newly hired assistant professor up the rungs of the academic ladder at Drexel spans a seven-year probationary period, during which period the new professor must demonstrate outstanding qualities for promotion to associate professor and for being granted tenure. This seven-year period is considered to be the tenure track.

Tenure means having a formal, secure appointment until retirement, especially at an educational institution, after working on a provisional basis.

Subsequently, once promoted and granted tenure, there are additional requirements over the next seven years for the associate professor to advance to the rank of full professor.

At the time of hiring a new ass’t professor at LeBow, a scholarly publishing standard is set forth as part of the terms of hiring. Such a requirement for scholarly publications is commonplace in academic General hashtag linkage to COVID-19 Pandemic institutions and is referred to commonly as the requirement to “publish or perish.”

Along the way, there are annual performance evaluations of the tenure candidates’ progress.

Drexel holds a “mid-term review” of the tenure-track candidates’ progress at a point three years into the seven-year probationary period.

Then, along the way to the six-year mark, there are additional annual performance evaluations. During the sixth year, the tenure-track candidate makes a written proposal for promotion and tenure, summarizing his or her work and achievements and the reasons they should be granted promotion and tenure.

If the candidate is not promoted and not granted tenure, the contract ends with the end of the following, seventh academic year. This timing gives the non-selected candidate an academic year to find other employment.

Candidates are evaluated in the areas of service, teaching, and research (which largely comes down to the quality or perceived rank of the scholarly journals in which the research is published).

Journals are ranked according to their perceived status or merit, and publication in a highly ranked journal confers high ascribed-quality ranking to the research published therein.

LeBow College has a list of scholarly journals and an assigned quality ranking for each journal on the list. The various college departments (e.g., finance, management, or marketing) have set these quality rankings.

Failure To Adhere To Published Standards

In the galvanic case at the center of the storm, the LeBow College’s procedures used to evaluate an assistant-professorial candidate for tenure and promotion and the practices employed deviated from the college’s published standards for tenure and promotion, according to the source.

At the time of hiring, the then-department head told the particular, then-newly-hired ass’t professor that six published articles in six “B” level scholarly journals over the ensuing six years would be needed to achieve promotion to associate professor and tenure