ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS, INDEED. At Blogs for Industry, Jim Hu has been following the Gabrielle Stryker tenure case with the expertise of a practitioner both of a related discipline and of successful grantsmanship.

I'm curious about how the Provost could not have any preconceptions about a junior member of his former department whose interim review (most places do these at year 3 or so, when tenure decisions are looming but it's not too late to address possible weaknesses in the record) must have crossed his desk.

The information that the Department headship changed during this period is also interesting. This means that neither of the past two department heads was a full Professor (actually three; from what I can tell, Dr. Stryker had at least four department heads during her time at Oakland)...which is not an indicator of departmental strength. The Dean mentioned above is also not the current dean. The acting dean is the Associate Provost.

Is anybody in charge at Oakland?

He also links to an Oakland University AAUP site that includes Professor Stryker's external letters. One is perfunctory but favorable.
Dr. Stryker's recent work on computer and mathematical modeling of T. cruzi transmission provides pioneer information regarding the devastating effects of interruption of vector control programs that are likely to happen in developing countries. I am optimistic that publication of her recent articles and continued work will open the new research funding sources and Dr. Stryker would continue to work towards the vaccine development against T. cruzi.
A second concentrates on a different part of her research and reaches a similar conclusion.
Overall, I think it is fair to say that Dr. Stryker got off to an awkward start in her research and was probably working in too many different areas. However, she has now focused on a very important area and is achieving a high level of success in an important field with ample potential for years to come. I am particularly impressed that she has sought out multiple important collaborations that appear to be productive alliances. In today's funding climate, this is an important strategic move that will insure [c.q.] future success in grant applications. For these reasons, I enthusiastically support promotion of Dr. Gabrielle Stryker to the rank of associate professor with tenure.
The third letter is somewhat more negative, including a damning-with-faint-praise passage that often turns up in such evaluations.
Thus, Dr. Stryker would not appear to be a strong candidate for my institution. However, this does not say that she would meet the requirements at Oakland.
Come off it. We ask for external reviews all the time. The reviewer's department may or may not have had the opportunity to consider the candidate's dossier in some previous search. That the candidate never submitted an application to the reviewer's department, or that the department ruled out the candidate for their own short-list, or would not make the cut at the reviewer's department, does not strike me as useful information. (The alternative strategy, to suggest that the candidate might be attractive to other institutions, is equally irrelevant. By definition faculty without tenure are on the job market all the time.)

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