Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Defining faculty down

The proprietor of a local eponymous conservative hate/attack blog lashed back today at the suggestion bruited about in some quarters that she was misrepresenting herself for saying she was a university faculty member.

Not all liberal bloggers are worth exposing, of course. For example, someone just emailed me the latest liberal blog attack on me. An anonymous liberal hate blog is now libelously claiming that I'm misrepresenting myself by terming myself a university "faculty member", which is a title the JMC department's chairman specifically told me that I was authorized to use before I used it. In fact, if these rocket scientists had bothered going on the department website, they'd see JMC labels all instructional staff part of faculty, including ad hocs, who are working journalists who teach 1 class. These guys might also remember that I am married to a lawyer. If they keep defaming me, there might come a day I decide enough's enough. For now, I don't find them relevant enough to take such a stance, and I only find out about their libel piecemeal from others.

First off, rather than going by labels on a departmental web site the Brawler went by the UW system chapter of the Wisconsin Administrative Code. And it's quite clear: A lecturer -- which this eponymous liberal basher is -- is not faculty.

That said, it does appear that department head told this eponymous blogger that she could use said designation. And it seems (and this was a designation that the Brawler must admit he was ignorant of before originally posting) that a lecturer can have faculty status without having a faculty appointment. Presumably -- and the Brawler does not know definitively -- this would be the basis for the former radio host's claim. Check out 1.01 (1) B of UWM policy and procedures.

The language says:

Faculty status means the right to participate in the faculty governance of the university. Faculty status does not confer rank or tenure or convert an academic
staff appointment into a faculty appointment.

So apparently you can be a faculty member even if you don't have a faculty appointment.

Don't conservatives typically oppose titles or honors that are meant to make people "feel good" rather than recognize actual achievement?

And the reality is that under the WAC, Jessica McBride is not part of the faculty. She's part of the academic staff.

And that ain't libel!

UPDATE: Interesting observations in comments on the ins and outs of faculty/academic staff.


  1. I'd say, let them sue, then we can countersue, take their house, and you can be the Merton Mauler.

    And we do know a good attorney, too. So there.

  2. No, you can't be a faculty member unless you're a faculty member -- a professor, associate professor, assistant professor, or instructor (the last is someone hired for faculty but still finishing a Ph.D.).

    You can be an academic staff member, such as a lecturer (but more often a senior lecturer), who was hired as academic staff but is given faculty status for specific purposes (for example, in a small department with too few faculty to serve on the required committees to run the place).

    It used to be done at UWM in its building days. It's big enough now that it rarely occurs any more.

  3. How the hell is this defamation?

  4. Anon 1 is right. Although I wouldn't doubt -- in an effort to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible -- McBride's department chair told her that instructional academic staff and faculty are treated equally within the department, hence the listing on the department's website, it doesn't seem at all likely that she's recognized by the university as having faculty status. In addition to the fact that she's not on a single faculty committee on campus, I'm sure when defending herself she wouldn't have passed on the opportunity to point out that the faculty senate and chancellor approved her faculty status on the UWM campus, both of which are necessary for that status to be awarded.

  5. Oooh. A libel lawsuit? That one would make her head explode, trying to figure out whether she's a public figure or not. On the one hand, her ego requires it. On the other hand, acknowledging the reality, that very few people actually know or care who she is, would make her libel suit only slightly more plausible. At any rate, the fact that she's digging deep into semantic tar pits to justify the bad labeling goes to show what a crappy exemplar of journalism she really is. Does it pass the smell test? Hell no. When public officials claim, for instance, to hold degrees or honors or titles and then don't, the working press goes ape-crazy, as it should, over the misrepresentation. Hell, John Kerry actually RECEIVED his medals, and the right wing went crazy parsing the true meaning of what it meant for him to have shrapnel in his leg. Comes now this fraud, who is just so grasping and desperate for attention and legitimacy, whining about some dumbasses, myself included, who've spotlighted her elisions. Guess what, professor (cough, cough), this is what you get when you dish it out. But someone so wise and ethical as you must already know that.

  6. Anony 7:52, to be fair, she did serve on a campus committee -- see its title:

  7. That's an Academic Staff committee, which is appropriate since she's Academic Staff.

  8. Exactly. But maybe she was told its title also was up to her -- so it must be true.