Maricela Guzman was hired as Writing Center Director at a branch campus of a moderately large university. In her interview, she displayed an uncanny breadth of knowledge about technology but seemed unable to answer
questions about how that technological expertise would translate into writing center practice and administration. The administrators at the branch campus were really quite interested in developing a new program in technology and culture, so they overlooked the shortcomings in composition studies and argued for her hire. She was hired into a tenure-stream position.
As an assistant professor,Guzman runs the writing center, argues forcefully for an assistant and maintains her scholarship. Her scholarship includes three articles in refereed journals and three articles in online journals. It also includes a CD-Rom project on the planet Mars. In addition, Guzman presents at conferences, those having to do with technology, computers and writing, and CCCC. Her print-published work is translated for European markets. The CD-Rom project is selected by Doubleday as the selection of the month in science (Doubleday having moved from “book of the month” to “selection of the month” so as to consider other than print media). As a scholar within the digital paradigm some people consider Guzman to be on a par with nationally-recognized full professors by the third-year review period.
At third year review, discussion among the tenured faculty is uneventful. The only comments heard are comments of praise. Yet when the Chair of the Personnel Committee discusses the results of the balloting with the Department Chair, he learns that her recommendation will be a mixed one, despite a departmentally approved policy to recognize on line and other technological research. The Department Chair says her recommendation will be mixed because faculty argue that Guzman is not performing recognized scholarship in the fields covered by English studies. None will gainsay Guzman’s expertise in the sciences, but some faculty say she was not hired to do scientific work. And the administration at the branch campus is pressing the chair to raise her teaching load, now that the technologies and culture program is up and running, arguing that Guzman spends very little time in the writing center.
Now, in her fifth year, Guzman is interested in pursuing questions of racism and gender within computer technology, but she is also cautious. She will likely gain tenure, but her sense of community and her sense of mission have become real concerns. She doesn’t quite know what to do, despite the Department Chair’s promise to support her.
Tenure and Promotion Cases for Composition Faculty Who Work with Technology