SOAN and IA each awarded single tenure-track position

Illustration by Raya Deussen

After an extensive decision-making process, the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences announced in spring of 2019 that the Sociology and Anthropology (SOAN) and International Affairs (IA) departments were awarded tenure-track faculty positions. Search committees within the SOAN and IA departments have been approved to fill two vacancies made by departed faculty.

Oct. 2018 statistics published by Institutional Research show that SOAN and IA are the third and fourth most popular majors at LC, respectively. Both the IA and SOAN departments will conduct searches during the fall 2019 semester, though the hired assistant professors will not begin teaching until fall 2020. Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Daena Goldsmith will oversee both searches.

The SOAN department will replace Professor Emeritus of Sociology Robert Goldman, who retired after the 2018-19 academic year. An advertisement on the LC website states that the SOAN department “(seeks) candidates whose research and teaching complement the department’s strengths. Areas of particular interest include: Critical criminal justice; education; global capitalism; medical sociology; science and technology studies. Preferred areas of regional complementarity include the United States.”

Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology and Anthropology Jennifer Hubbert will lead the search committee for a new assistant professor. According to Hubbert, the SOAN department always aims to have eight tenure-track faculty, composed of four sociologists and four anthropologists.

Hubbert and her colleagues prepared extensively for their tenure-track faculty request, attempting to prove that the SOAN department was in high demand for a new assistant professor.

“We outline why we need the position, what kinds of teaching needs we have,” Hubbert said. “We outline what kind of outreach we are doing in order to attract a more inclusive, diverse candidate pool. (SOAN) has done extensive work in that arena.”

Hubbert notes that candidates experience a rigorous hiring process to ensure that the right person is offered the job, narrowing a field of hundreds of applicants.

“It is a very long process,” Hubbert said. “We will hopefully have the short list by the time this semester is over, but we will not do the interviewing until the beginning of (the spring 2020) semester.”

There are two vacancies within the IA department, though only one search committee is being convened. Former Associate Professor and Chair of International Affairs Heather Smith-Cannoy left Portland in June to work for the Arizona State University School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. 

Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences Cyrus Partovi plans to retire at the end of the 2019-20 academic year, creating the second vacancy in the IA department. According to Associate Professor of International Affairs and Program Director of Political Economy Elizabeth Bennett, the IA department is determined to replace Partovi with a tenure-track position.

“The intention has always been that when Cyrus leaves, to replace him with a tenure-track person.” Bennett said.

In an email sent to IA majors, the department publicly announced that a search committee has been formed to hire a new assistant professor.

“In Fall 2019, the International Affairs Department is conducting a search for tenure-track faculty position(s) within two tracks–(1) Middle East and US Foreign Policy (replacing Cyrus Partovi) and (2) Human Rights and International Law (replacing Heather Smith-Cannoy),” the email said.

Though the email suggests that IA may hope to replace both Smith-Cannoy and Partovi this semester, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Bruce Suttmeier confirmed that the department received just one tenure-track position.

“As the (job advertisement) says, we are only advertising a single position,” Suttmeier said via email.

Suttmeier explained that hiring tenure-track faculty is a complex but vital responsibility for the LC administration.

“Both students and faculty often push the institution to quickly hire new tenure-track … faculty members when someone leaves or retires,” Suttmeier said. “But (tenure-track) hiring is one of the most consequential and important things we do at the College and it needs to be done thoughtfully and deliberately.”

Professor and Chair of International Affairs Bob Mandel declined to comment on this story.

According to Bennett, the IA department is appreciative of securing one tenure-track position.

“In an ideal world, we would love to replace both of them (Smith-Cannoy and Partovi),” Bennett said. “The Dean gave us approval to do one search. We realize that we’re really lucky to get one tenure-track position, because so many departments didn’t get the ones they requested.”

Additionally, Bennett noted that with the size of LC’s budget and high campus-wide demand for new tenure-track faculty, the IA department should not expect an additional tenure-track position.

“We always hope that there are funds to somehow make another (tenure-track position) happen, but we have not been promised a second slot and we have no reason to think that that’s likely,” Bennett said.

Additional reporting by Ariel McGee and Hanna Merzbach.

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