Posted by Arjendu on March 16, 2011
Readers of this blog will have certainly noticed that the quality and thoughtfulness of the writing jumped once Melissa joined up as a co-author. What most of you might not have known was that Melissa was doing something somewhat rare in academia when she started doing this: She was blogging eponymously pre-tenure. You could scroll back through the blog to see what she has had to say, but what you should notice is that she does not shy away from speaking her mind, and even from showing her fears and hesitations about her work. Now, transparency is something I strongly believe in, and encourage, but there are those who might have advised her that this was not very politic and I would’ve been devastated if my invitation had somehow affected her career negatively.
Well, I am glad to say that that particular issue is moot. Melissa is now tenured at Carleton. You can read the official announcement here (along with news about other friends of ours). To this I will add two snippets extracted from my letter to the tenure committee: “I admire and respect her tremendously as a teacher, as a physicist, and as a colleague-citizen both of Carleton College and of the intellectual ‘external college’ of physicists and teachers of physics … Melissa has already proved a remarkable asset to the Department and the College, and these are very early days given her relative youth. She has exceptional potential for growth as a teacher and as a researcher. I expect her to become a leader at the college level (unless she is distracted by her opportunities nationally for the APS or AAPT, and perhaps even if she is so distracted). She will continue to be an asset for years to come[.]”
I truly doubt that her status change is going to affect her honesty and transparency, and that’s the way it should be. But I’m very glad, nonetheless.