Tenure at NU Essay

Tenure at NU Essay

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Tenure at NU


*Please note: Portions of this article and some information appeared in the Northeastern News, in the issue of December 3, 2003, Vol. LXXVII, No. 45. The respective text and information was extracted, solely, from the student reporter’s own writing and news-gathering.

Appealing an Administration: A Professor’s Struggle to Remain at NU
Six years ago, Northeastern’s Modern Languages Department asked an incoming professor, Harry Kuoshu, to build a Chinese Studies program. With minimal faculty support, he did just that, providing integral courses for the uprising interest in Asian Studies at the university.

So when Kuoshu applied for tenure last March, the process seemed a mere formality. With unanimous support from both the Modern Language Department and the College of Arts and Sciences committees on tenure, his dossier was sent to the office of the Provost Ahmed Abdelal—who then rejected Kuoshu’s request.

“I was very shocked,” said Kuoshu, from his office in the Modern Languages Department. “I try to forget about it. I focus on my work and on my research.”

An author of three books, Kuoshu believes his rejection stemmed from criticism of his scholarship by external reviewers—experts from other institutions that evaluate the research of tenure-track professors. Recently nominated and named to “Who’s Who Among American Professors,” Kuoshu teaches virtually all classes in the Chinese Studies program. As a result, his tenure rejection has brought forth a wave of protest from his students, who have been actively writing to President Richard Freeland.

Upon the provost’s decision, Kuoshu sent his dossier to an appeals board on tenure—comprised of 13 members—who voted 7-6 to uphold Abdelal’s prerogative. Un...


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Now well-established in the Suffolk community, Haughton believes that his tenure rejection from Northeastern worked out for the betterment of his career. Having spent the majority of his teaching career in the greater Boston area, earning his Ph.D. in 1983 from Harvard—where he taught briefly before arriving at Northeastern—he has become a senior analyst at the Beacon Hill Institute for Public Policy, a place he juggles his time with along with teaching at Suffolk.

“It’s funny the way things work,” he said. “But you know, life goes on. I teach at Suffolk now and I’m very happy.”

In terms of his tenure rejection at Northeastern, Haughton said that while the incident caused some stress, he remembered that such episodes are common.

“Everyone is academia realizes that’s the game,” he said. “If you have solid skills, you’ll land on your feet somewhere.”

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