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American Philosophical Association‘s Committee on the Status of Women report on CU-Boulder philosophy department

American Philosophical Association‘s Committee on the Status of Women report on CU-Boulder philosophy department

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Published by Matt Sebastian
American Philosophical Association‘s Committee on the Status of Women report on CU-Boulder philosophy department
American Philosophical Association‘s Committee on the Status of Women report on CU-Boulder philosophy department

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Published by: Matt Sebastian on Jan 31, 2014
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05/15/2014

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January 31, 2014
Summary of Report by the American Philosophical  Association to the University of Colorado Boulder Background
 In April 2013, the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on the Status of Women was invited and approved to conduct a full review of the climate for women in the department. The invitation to conduct that review was issued by the philosophy department, Dean Steven Leigh of the College of Arts & Sciences, and Provost Russell Moore. That review was conducted in late September 2013. The report from that visit was submitted to the University in late November. The administration began a review of the report’s recommendations in late November and that review continued through the winter break and into mid-January. The consensus of the leadership was that the report should be made public as quickly as new leadership could be secured for the philosophy department. Based upon the report and input from the department, Dean Leigh, in consultation with Provost Moore, suspended in early December graduate admissions to the department for fall 2014. This was to allow time for new procedures and processes to be developed for the recruitment and effective management of graduate students before new ones were accepted. Dean Leigh and Associate Dean Mary Kraus began the process of searching for new external leadership of the department in December that would work to transform the culture of the philosophy department into one that would be supportive of faculty generally, and more supportive of a safe, productive and healthy environment for women.
Summary of the APA Report Findings
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Faculty and graduate students alike are pleased with the academic quality of the philosophy department;
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Faculty are pleased with the high quality of undergraduate and graduate students;
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Undergraduates are enthusiastic about the department; their interactions with faculty and accessibility of faculty;
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However, the committee found that the department has maintained an overall environment “with unacceptable sexual harassment, inappropriate sexualized unprofessional behavior, and divisive uncivil behavior”;
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The committee noted that this environment has harmed women and men and members of “every stakeholder group” in the department;
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It was further noted that much of this behavior has resulted in female faculty avoiding the workplace and opportunities to socialize with colleagues and in their leaving or “trying to leave” in disproportionate numbers;
!
 
The report stated a climate of incivility in the department that has resulted in an unprofessional environment that is teaching graduate students inappropriate methods for handling harmful or unprofessional behavior among students;
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The report made many recommendations for changes in culture and practice and recommended that “recovery processes be both rigorous and guided.”
 
 
Next steps
 
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CU-Boulder has suspended graduate admissions until policies and procedures can be reviewed and standardized to create a consistent, fair and collegial environment;
!
 
The dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, with the support of provost and chancellor, is implementing the majority of steps recommended in the APA’s report, as well as a number of other measures, starting with the announcement today of a new chair, Dr.  Andrew Cowell, who is external to the department; -
 
Other key steps that the chair is reviewing include:
o
 
Bringing in internal and external experts for training on ODH policies;
o
 
Initiating bystander training for faculty, staff and students to enable them to report actions hostile to women or others in the classroom and work environment and to challenge those who contribute to that environment;
o
 
 A strategic planning process facilitated by an external expert to set goals and actions to improve the overall climate in the department, transforming it to one of openness, mutual support and collegiality;
o
 
 A review of all practices and procedures for interactions with and management of graduate students, and ensuring all social functions in the department are safe, controlled, and “family friendly.”
 
o
 
Creating a process for the department to expand its current concepts of sub-disciplines within philosophy to be more inclusive;
 
o
 
 A process of clarifying policies relevant to resolving differences and disputes, including making use of the university’s ombudsperson;
o
 
Creating an external advisory committee of campus faculty to guide the role and mission of the philosophy department.
 
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