Randall Stephens, Campus Climate Chilly?



4 comments
The Chronicle of Higher Education features an interesting piece, “Some Evangelicals Find the Campus Climate Chilly — but Is That About Faith, or Politics?”, by Thomas Bartlett. It highlights the trials and tribulations of Mike S. Adams, associate professor of criminology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, who has been denied promotion to full professor. Adams, who has been at the university for 13 years and has published and received three teaching awards, sees an anti-Christian conspiracy at work. He’s become a “lightning rod” for his conservative evangelical opinions, some of them published. Adams is seeking legal action against the school.

From conversations I’ve had with grad students and professors in the field of history, I’ve wondered if such claims have as much to do with aggressive conservative politics as with benign religious beliefs. George Marsden, C. John Sommerville, and Randall Balmer make that casein the article. But, perhaps, as Marsden suggests “Conservative religious views can be a strike against you if you’re early in your career."

4 comments:

Ralph Luker at: September 26, 2007 at 11:35 AM said...

Mike Adams wasn't denied tenure. He was denied promotion to full professor. He probably is a pain in the a**.

John Turner at: September 26, 2007 at 1:14 PM said...

I've never been convinced of a particularly hostile climate against evangelical belief, though I'm sure there are hostile individuals.

But that's only because I haven't experienced any hostility myself at two state institutions. In fact, at both public institutions at which I've taught, there have been a number of religious believers on the campus. I do think, however, that outspokenly evangelicals mightelicit some hostility. If an evangelical actually acted like an evangelical should, particularly in terms of evangelism, there would be a hostile response. But I don't think there's much hostility to religious beliefs per se. Perhaps that's an artificial distinction.

Paul Harvey at: September 26, 2007 at 2:35 PM said...

At Randall's request, I corrected the original post so that it now reads that he was denied promotion, rather than being denied tenure as was originally posted, a correction pointed out by Ralph above.

Here in CO, state legislators are busy trying to cut funding/close down departments or disciplines like Ethnic Studies, and radio commentators treat a figure like Ward Churchill like he's entirely typical of all academics. Thus, seems to me, at least in this case, that those on the left have a lot more to worry about than Adams, who will have to live with being an associate. Moreover, if [and I emphasize if, as I don't know anything about his work] he spends his time publishing stupid screeds about getting women back in the kitchen rather than scholarly pieces (as might be the case, given his acceptable but modest track record in his field), then denial of promotion doesn't necessarily seem out of line. The article in the Chronicle seems appropriately skeptical of his claims.

Rebecca at: September 27, 2007 at 9:59 AM said...

"Some of his [Mike Adams'] columns are, to put it mildly, conversation starters. In one recent online article, he made a proposal that colleges actually start offering M.R.S. degrees. "Our young men need good wives more than anyone needs another degree program teaching women how to become lesbians, feminists, and man-haters for life," he writes."

I imagine Professor Adams is spending too much time publishing nonsense pieces and not enough time writing criminology articles.

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