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Lesson Plans


TENURE update (Long post)

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gallegos_r
Wed, 12 Feb 1997 10:22:59 -0700

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> The Santa Fe New Mexican Newspaper Article reads as follows:
> (front page....w/ full color pic.) 1/31/97
>
> Las Vegas, NM
>
> The tenure - not to mention the future - of Professor Catherine Clinger at
> New Mexico Highlands University is tenuous.
> To say the least.
> Tenure was not granted to Clinger, an art professor at Highlands for nearly
> five years, by the university's Board of Regents on Dec. 9. The decision,
> which in essence gives Clinger her pink slip at the end of this spring
> semester, was most unpopular among the students in the art department.
> Still is.
> Eleven students - the most vocal and ardent Clinger supporters- met Monday
> with Highlands President Selimo Rael. Sitting to Rael's right were John M.
> Pacheco, vice president for academic affairs, and James M. Alarid, special
> projects and assiatnt to vice president for academic affairs.
> The meeting, initiated by a letter from the university to the students, was
> the latest in a series of events that began almost immediately after the
> December decision. Since then, students circulated a petition, wrote about
> 50 letters and met with school officials on Dec. 12 to discuss the matter and
> see if somehow the decision would be overturned.
> It wasn't.
> And it most likely won't be either. "There is nothing I can do about it,"
> answered Rael, near the conclusion of the 75-minute meeting, when asked
> whether there were any possible way for the decision to be reversed. "We're
> in the predicament we're in because of decsions she made."
> According to Rael, Clinger did not fulfill her contractual obligations.
> Clinger was to have achieved a terminal degree - in art, that would be a
> master of fine arst degree - within the required five-year timetable to
> receive tenure.
> "There has been a five-year period of time when things could and should have
> taken place but didn't," Rael said. "It was part of her agreement five years
> ago.
> "It's all in writing. It was formalized and entered into voluntarily by both
> sides."
> Not so, Clinger said.
> While Clinger refused to discuss details, she did say she never agreed to
> that stipulation eithere verbally or in writing.
> It's not uncommon for professors to be granted tenure at Highlands without a
> terminal degree, if those professors and the university had an agreement
> before the first contract was ever signed.
> "I believe I have the equivalent professional status to a terminal degree,"
> she said from her office Monday. "I made that clear to them before I signed
> my first contract."
> Clinger, 38, is a master pirnter, the highest level of printing there is.
> "It's a 15th century graphic art form," Clinger explained. "It's passed down
> from master to student. Other artists entrust me with their work."
> Clinger achieved a master printer status in 1982. She has studied and worked
> in Germany, Switzerland, France, New York and San Francisco and has an
> international exhibition record. Her impact in Las Vegas goes beyond the
> classroom.
> Clinger designed and wrote the curriculum used by Highlands for a bachelor of
> fine arts degree. She also redesigned the bachelor of arts degree. When
> Clinger and Professor David Lobdell arrived inLas Vegas, there were four,
> perhaps five, students majoring in art. Thare are now 75 art majors, making
> it the second-fastest growing academic program on campus. Of the Highlands
> graduates, all but one have been admitted into graduate art programs across
> the country.
> Clinger was also at the forefront of an on-campus mural restoration project,
> part of the WPA Mural Projects of New Mexico. A mural was discovered
> underneath a lot of paint inside Ilfield Auditorium. Clinger asked for and
> received permission to have a class of students assist a conservator with the
> restoration. She also found a sponsor willing to donate $5,000 to the
> project.
> From the class, a team was going to be formed. That unit was to have gone
> out in the community and restore more murals. But the sponsorship was
> withdrawn when Clinger was not granted tenure and, subsequently, the class
> has been canceled.
> Rael expressed surprise when Rozx Gallegos, a graduate student, informed him
> about the cancellation of the restoration class and the loss of a backer.
> "This is the first I have heard about both of those," Rael said Monday. "The
> restoration will go forward. It's an important piece of history we want
> displayed. It surprises me that the class was canceled. But the restoration
> cannot be dependent on a single individual. This will go forward."
> The students didn't appear convinced. Not about the restoration project, not
> about the tenure decision.
> "This is a huge void in our lives," Gallegos said. "She has had such a
> positive impact in our lives."
> Judy Pellegrino, another graduate student carrying a 4.0 average, concurred.
> "I'm not happy anymore," she told Rael. "To let go so easily of Professor
> Clinger is something I don't understand. You should be proud of your art
> department ant the work professor Clinger has done. Not only is it going
> to be a loss to the school, it's going to be a loss to the community.
> "The art department needs someone with down-and-dirty expereince. Professor
> Clinger has that. A Ph.D. doesn't mean that much to me. I'm bummed about
> this."
> Pellegrino is not alone.
> "You can't measure someone's worth by a Ph.D.," Trish Griffin said. Griffin
> requested a hearing where students voices can be heard. "Our voices should
> not only be listened to but acted upon," she said, pointing out that most
> university decisions affect students the most.
> "The don't understand how this decision is affecting us as students," Maria
> Seesz said after the meeting. "They think we are just going to drop this and
> go away. We're not. This issue is too important to us."
> Which issue? If it's tenure, then the studnets could be wasting their
> energies.
> "If tenure is the ultimate focal point may I suggest that that is an
> unachievable goal," Rael told the group. "It's unfortunate. None of us like
> that particualre decision on this particular individual.
> "The wrong issue is tenure. The right issue is Catherine Clinger. We
> haven't given up on the right issue.," Rael continued. "The value of
> Catherine Clinger is not an issue. I like Catherine Clinger very much.
> She's a good instructor, a good person. It's a disappontment for all of us.
> The goal is how Catherine Clinger can remain part of this institution."
> The first step, Rael said, is for Clinger to meet with Pacheco. "She needs
> to come in and meet with her boss," Rael said. "It's more in her hands than
> it is ours," Pacheco added.
> "I'm attempting to appeal the decision," Clinger said.
> Clinger, the Faculty Senate Chair at Highlands, hopes to have her say at the
> next board of regents meeting.
> So too, do the students.
> There is no date for the next meeting since new regents have to be confirmed
> by the state Senate during the current legislative session, which concludes
> at the end of March.
> Clinger has been overwhelmed by the show of support.
> "It makes me feel good that independent beings can make up their own minds
> about issues," she said. "I love and adore them, but I don't cut them any
> slack. They are made to be made responsible. Being an artist is not for the
> lazy or weak-willed. Artists are among the most responsible in society."
>
> -------------------------------------------
> Written by Pancho Morris
> Return-Path: CCtenure

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