Monday, July 17, 2006

APA Representation

One final thought while it's on my mind: the matter of representation on APA nominating committees. Now, normally, the candidates for the nominating committee teach at Ph.D granting institutions (or at top-flight Northeastern liberal arts colleges). And I'd guess that it is one's stature as a member of a Ph.D granting institution that gets one elected to the nominating committee (at least in part).

But here's the problem. Without begrudging the service that the nominating committee provides, it's obvious that its membership doesn't accurately reflect the profession as a whole: e.g., those of us who teach primarily undergraduates, who teach at less than flag-ship institutions, whose responsibilities are primarily teaching, not research, who don't have TAs, etc.

When I look at the thumbnail CVs of the candidates for APA posts (helpfully provided with the ballots), it's clear that few, if any, have any experience teaching at the sort of institutions where most of the rest of us teach. And then I wonder how well their concerns match those of the rank and file.

And that's one reason I have serious doubts about the APA's ability to represent academic philosophers.

My solution? I'd like to see at least one slot reserved for philosophers teaching at non-Ph.D granting institutions, or at an institution that, say, falls within the appropriate Carnegie Foundation classification.

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