Faculty Assessment and Graduate Student Training in the Humanities

Overview
The past decade has brought increasing concern about the future of the university as it navigates strong currents of change in the national and global ecology of higher education. These changes bring opportunities for creative innovation and broadened access; they also create anxiety within the academy when they call into question traditional assumptions of value, consequence, and privilege. This working group focuses on changing criteria of assessment for new modes of work in the Humanities and the role and place for graduate student training. As new modes of work, especially multimedia work, have materialized in the Humanities, they have tended to be assessed on the basis of older established assessment criteria especially in the case of hiring, tenure, and merit promotions. The Working Group considers the range of new assessment criteria, their relevance and viability as well as how graduate student training may adapt and adjust its traditional protocols.

The Year in Review
This Working Group included 11 UC faculty, administrators, staff, and graduate students who met to examine graduate student training and faculty assessment across the UC system. The group met for three in-person meetings (two in Irvine at UC Irvine and one in Oakland at the UC Office of the President) and virtually via Google Hangout at least 8 times throughout the year. In these meetings the group discussed the current state of graduate student training and faculty assessment, reviewed relevant literature, and created a white paper. In addition to these activities, the group co-sponsored a visit by Stanford Professor Russell Berman to UC Irvine on the topic of graduate student training (including the controversial topic of time-to-degree). Looking forward, the group is discussing the best way to disseminate the white paper so that UC campuses—and in particular, faculty and graduate students by way of their departments—can engage in conversation about the white paper’s recommendations, providing additional suggestions and topics for continued conversation. They are considering hosting a series of regional in-person and UC-wide virtual town hall-style meetings in the winter and spring quarters.

Working draft of the white paper.

Principal Investigators:

William A. Ladusaw, Humanities Dean, UC Santa Cruz

William Ladusaw is a Professor of linguistics and is the Dean of the Division of Humanities at the University of California Santa Cruz. As dean, Ladusaw oversees the division’s seven academic departments, the Language Program, and the Writing Program, as well as the Institute for Humanities Research, the Dickens Project, the Satyajit Ray Film and Study Collection, and the Linguistics Research Center. Ladusaw joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1984. Prior to being named interim dean, he served since 2004 as vice provost and dean of undergraduate education (VPDUE). He also served as chair of the Linguistics Department from 1997-99 and was provost of Cowell College from 1997-2003.

Julia Reinhard Lupton, Professor of English, UC Irvine

Julia Lupton is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine, with a joint appointment in Education. In 2013-14, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship for her book project, “Shakespeare Dwelling: Habitation, Hospitality, Design.” In 2013-14 she served as Interim Chair for the Department of English. From 2010 to 2012, she directed UCI’s Program in Jewish Studies. Her most recent scholarly books are Thinking with Shakespeare: Essays on Politics and Life (Chicago, 2011) and Citizen-Saints: Shakespeare and Political Theology (Chicago Press, 2005). Her current project is entitled “Shakespeare Dwelling: Habitation, Hospitality, Design.” The book aims to use the visual, cognitive, and phenomenological resources of design theory to disclose the many points of creative contact between formal and vernacular acts of design on Shakespeare’s stage. The emphasis will fall on the life of objects (developed via affordance, user, and interobjectivity studies), the design of space (supported by excurses into architecture and urbanism), the management of time (supplemented by phenomenology and political theology), and housekeeping and hospitality (filled out via vernacular design discourses from the Renaissance to the present).

Participants:

Abigail Boggs, Graduate Student, UC Davis

Abigail Boggs received her PhD in cultural studies from the University of California, Davis in 2013 after completing a dissertation on the figure of the international student in US higher education. Her dissertation situates this figure within the shift from liberal to neoliberal modes of organizing U.S. personhood, difference, and economics on national and transnational scales. Her work is informed by queer transnational feminist cultural studies, American Studies, Ethnic Studies, and contributes to the emerging field of critical university studies.

Susan Carlson, Vice Provost of Academic Personnel, UC Office of the President

Susan Carlson serves as Vice Provost for Academic Personnel and has responsibility for systemwide policy and practice in faculty recruitment, retention, diversity, and compensation. With support of a staff of 10, she serves as steward for the Academic Personnel Manual (contains regulations on ladder-rank faculty, research faculty and health science clinical faculty, lecturers, librarians, and postdoctoral scholars), supervises the development of policy review and enhancements, and provides the academic perspective on labor contracts. Her office develops and analyzes data on faculty and academic appointments University-wide and works closely with campus academic administrators and the Faculty Senate on academic affairs issues and initiatives. She reports to the UC Regents on faculty personnel issues. She is a Professor of English at UC Davis.

Timothy Malachai Edwards, Graduate Student, UC Los Angeles

Timothy Malachai Edwards is a graduate student at UCLA in the Department of Germanic Languages. His current research interests include the collapse of Zionism as a metanarrative, how this crisis is treated in German, Hebrew and Yiddish literatures, and how Jewish ‘otherness’ has been understood historically and on what grounds. Recently he has been exploring psycho-therapeutic approaches to revisiting sites of trauma and destruction and finishing a philosophico-cinematic study of Claude Lanzmann’s film Shoah with his advisor Todd Presner.

Catherine Gudis, Associate Professor of History, UC Riverside

Catherine Gudis is Director of the Public History Program at UCR and teaches classes in public history and 20th century U.S. history, building on her twin interests in modern consumer culture and cultural and urban constructions of race, space, and place. Professor Gudis is the author of Buyways: Billboards, Automobiles, and the American Cultural Landscape (Routledge, 2004), which traces the relationship between automobility, advertising, and the commercialization of the urban environment. She has contributed to and edited Cultures of Commerce: Representations of Business Culture in the United States (coedited with Elspeth Brown and Marina Moskowitz, Palgrave/MacMillan, 2006) and museum books on art and culture, including Lions and Eagles and Bulls: Early American Inn & Tavern Signs (Princeton, 2001), Ray Johnson: Correspondences (coedited with Donna DeSalvo, Flammarion, 2000), Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990s (Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1990), Oehlen Williams (Wexner Center, Ohio State, 1999), and A Forest of Signs: Art in the Age of Representation (MIT, 1989).

Rachel C. Lee, Associate Professor of English and Women’s Studies, UC Los Angeles

Rachel Lee is an Associate Professor of English and Women’s Studies at UCLA, specializing in Asian American literature, performance culture, and studies of gender and sexuality.  She is the author of The Americas of Asian American Literature: Gendered Fictions of Nation and Transnation (Princeton University Press, 1999), and co-editor of the volume Asian America.Net: Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Cyberspace (Routledge University Press, 2003). Her current project, The Exquisite Corpse of Asian America, examines Asian bodies as they overlap with various discourses on technology, transnationalism, cyberspace, and sexuality, in a variety of genres such as stand-up comedy, dance, new media/digital technology, and literature. Lee is also currently Associate Director, Center for the Study of Women, University of California, Los Angeles and heading a multi-year research project, “Life (Un)Ltd,” addressing the question of what impact recent developments in the biosciences, biotechnology, and in clinical practice have had on feminist studies, especially those theorizing the circulation of population data and biomaterials in relation to race and (neo)colonialism.

Molly McCarthy, Associate Director, UC Davis Humanities Center

Molly McCarthy is the Associate Director of the UC Davis Humanities Institute and has experience both in the academy and the world of journalism. As a teacher and working scholar, she has held faculty positions at Stanford, Wellesley College, and Queens College CUNY. Her teaching and research interests include U.S. women’s history, immigration, print culture and consumption. She is the author of The Accidental Diarist: A History of the Daily Planner in America. Before returning to Brandeis University to complete a Ph.D. in American History, McCarthy, a graduate of Columbia’s School of Journalism, worked as a daily reporter for Newsday where she shared in the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Reporting for coverage of the tragic crash of TWA Flight 800. As the DHI’s chief communicator and grant writer, McCarthy seeks to continue to advocate broadly for the importance and relevance of humanities research.

Stefan Tanaka, Professor of Communication, UC San Diego

Stefan Tanaka is a Professor of Communication at the University of San Diego as well as the Director of the Center for the Humanities Education and a historian who works on modern Japan. His earlier work focused on the ways that history, pasts, and time were configured to define Japan’s world and itself. Recently that inquiry has shifted to history as a technology of communication. This shift to history as media opens an inquiry into different ways that historical knowledge, categories, and practices are both tied to particular literary systems and might change in the digital age.

Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Associate Professor of Computer Science, UC Santa Cruz

Noah Wardrip-Fruin is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he co-directs the Expressive Intelligence Studio, one of the world’s largest technical research groups focused on games. He also directs the Playable Media group in UCSC’s Digital Arts and New Media program. Noah’s research areas include new models of storytelling in games, how games express ideas through play, and how games can help broaden understanding of the power of computation. Noah has authored or co-edited five books on games and digital media for the MIT Press, including The New Media Reader (2003), a book influential in the development of interdisciplinary digital media curricula. His most recent book, Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies was published by MIT in 2009.