Tuesday, September 07, 2004

U. (don't) C. Filipino profs

Though I can name a dozen or so tenure tracked Filipino professors through the Cal State system, I can barely count to five when looking at the U.C. system, and that includes the ones in science degrees. UCLA had a tenured professor and she left for Cal State, to a school and system that supported her.

However, Thursday, the students, community and alumni will be welcoming Professor Catherine Ceniza Choy to the campus.

Lipman Room
8th Floor Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley, CA
Thursday, September 9, 5:00pm to 7:00pm

It's a tough road to tenure no matter where you are. And particularly for Filipino professors, especially in humanities and social science fields, you've got departments and academic senates demanding a stack of published papers and books, grad students looking for mentors, people to chair their panels, and undergrads hoping you'll teach 2-3 classes of relevant Filipino related courses and maybe stop by a few events and speak. It's a difficult balance, plus looking for a few mentors yourself who will help you in getting past the tenure board.

Since undergrad, I've gotten crash courses on the workings of the university ladder. There have been several Filipino tenure track profs at Cal, many have been derailed for one reason or another. Offers made then revoked. Claims of little research to bulk their resumes. Campus decisions made during the student lulls of summer. Students returning in the Fall to find one less teacher with little explanation and departments quietly sweeping matters under the rug.

In the past many candidates were hired without yet completing their PhDs, which would often be a sticking point in regards to tenure, since at the time there weren't that many Filipinos going into higher academia, but since then there's been a surge of Filipinos getting their PhDs in various fields throughout the U.S. It bodes well for research regarding Filipinos.

But I have hope for Professor Choy, and will be there Thursday to say hello and wish her well. She already held an Associate Professorship at the University of Minnesota and did her PhD at UCLA. Let's hope California treats her well.

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