No! I understand your colleagues received tenure, promotions and awards for their un-printed works but you can’t.

Every alarm bell goes off as you here such a thing. Your first reaction is why? This experience and many more like them inspired Patricia Matthew, author of the Written/Unwritten: Diversity and the Hidden Truths of Tenure, to chronicle the experience of minorities in Higher Ed on the tenure track. “A theme runs throughout the scholars’ stories: Predominantly white institutions hired me in part because of my diverse background, but I often faced setbacks on the tenure track for not being like everyone else.”

Matthew sat down with The Chronicle this week to discuss her book and the experiences of minorities on the tenure track in Higher Ed. Here is a brief snippet of the interview:

Q. Can you talk about the meaning of the anthology’s title, Written/Unwritten?

A. We all know this in some way: If you’re in a situation where you’re being evaluated, there are things they tell you. You have to turn in this paper or this document at this time, you have to present this evidence and this material. But there are just all of these practices that are hidden.

It’s not so much somebody saying, “I’m not going to tell this to a person of color.” It’s just that there are these practices, and habits, and assumptions made about how one goes through a tenure process. And people don’t always make sure faculty of color have that information.

The other thing — often, it’s about faculty of color not dotting the I’s in the way that people think they’re supposed to dot the I’s. It’s really about if you fit. And how do you fit into an institution if you’re not like your colleagues? It could be as subtle and simple as the way you ask questions in a department meeting, or the way you respond to student concerns.

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