In light of the recent debacle at
In a public statement on the issue, Geoffroy stated:
I know extremely well how to assess the qualifications of a candidate seeking tenure. Over the past two decades -- as dean of
One thousand faculty promotion and tenure cases? And only over the past two decades? Let’s look at the math. President Geoffroy has been reviewing tenure cases for two decades, which is 20 years. In these 20 years he has supposedly reviewed 1,000 cases. This means he reviews on average 50 cases a year. At that rate, he reviews one case a week, taking only two weeks off every year for summer vacation, winter vacation, Thanksgiving, spring break, national holidays, personal days, and sick days. This is not to mention the other duties he had at
Given Geoffroy’s expertise in this area, let’s look at his assessment of Gonzalez’s tenure. Geoffroy writes:
I specifically considered refereed publications, his level of success in attracting research funding and grants, the amount of telescope observing time he had been granted, the number of graduate students he had supervised, and most importantly, the overall evidence of future career promise in the field of astronomy.
As has been mentioned on this blog before, Gonzalez has a very impressive referred publication record. While ISU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy (which Geoffroy calls “one of our strongest academic programs”) requires “the publication of approximately fifteen paper of good quality in refereed journals,” Gonzalez has nearly 70 such papers, exceeding his department’s requirements by over 350%.
And concerning the “most important” factor—the future promise of Gonzalez in the field of astronomy—the facts are overwhelming. Gonzalez is the author of Observational Astronomy, a textbook published by Cambridge University Press and used in
In addition, Gonzalez has produced research which has led to the discovery of two planets and he is currently building technology to discover extrasolar planets. He has also served on the NASA Astrobiology Institute Review Panel (2003) and on the National Science Foundation Advanced Technologies and Instruments review panel (2005).
All of this was accomplished before the age of 45. To ISU, however, only one thing mattered: Gonzalez book The Privileged Planet, in which he advocates that our universe is the product of intelligent design. This was made more than clear by the quotes of a number of faculty in the department where Gonzalez has his appointment. Other faculty at ISU (including one in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and one whose spouse teaches in the department) have signed onto “Project Steve,” an anti-ID list of people named “Steve” produced by the
Selling Evolution Science Education. As if all this wasn’t enough evidence of the antagonism against Gonzalez, John Hauptman, a physics professor at ISU who voted to deny Gonzalez tenure, wrote concerning Gonzalez’s case:
a physics department is not obligated to support notions that do not even begin to meet scientific standards.
This is all very telling considering the fact that ISU grants tenure to 91% of its applicants. And so is Iowa State President Gregory Geoffroy against academic freedom? It doesn’t seem like it. Geoffroy hired as his vice-president and provost at ISU Elizabeth Hoffman, the former president of the
In sum, the “tenure machine” Geoffroy seems to be nothing more than a tyrannical president and an embarrassment to