The Price of Tenure: Melanye Price Leaves Position for Rutgers
Several months after her administrative appointment to the newly created Internship Coordinator position, Professor Melanye Price has resigned from Wesleyan University in order to take a new position in the Africana Studies and Political Science Departments at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ.
The Internship Coordinator position was designed to facilitate student searches for internships and potentially assist in the transfer of academic credit. Price’s appointment to the position earlier this year followed the Government Department’s denial of tenure for Price in spring 2009, a decision that caused the campus to erupt in a debate about the possibility of discrimination in the tenure process.
“Since my tenure denial, I had been looking for other places to make my academic home and thankfully I found one,” Price wrote in an e-mail to The Argus. “I am hoping that it will be a good fit.”
“There are people who go to Rutgers for all kinds of reasons,” added President Michael Roth. “It was not something that we initiated, she initiated it, and we wish Melanye all the best in her new position.”
In addition to her responsibilities as Internship Coordinator, Price was originally scheduled to teach two Government Department courses during the 2010-2011 academic year, one during the fall semester and one during the spring.
Students enrolled in the course GOVT 259: Blacks in the American Political System received an e-mail from Department Chair John Finn in early June informing them that the course would no longer be offered in the fall semester.
Traditionally, faculty members who do not receive tenure by the end of their seventh year of teaching are given a yearlong grace period of service on the faculty before they must leave the University. Price’s appointment and scheduled teaching assignments at Wesleyan for the 2010-2011 academic year, however, did not correspond to this model. According to Government Professor Donald Moon, the circumstances are not unprecedented.
“It’s frequently the case that someone who has an administrative appointment and is also academically qualified in a particular field will be listed in a department and will occasionally teach a course,” he said.
Additionally, it is not unprecedented for faculty members who are denied tenure to receive such an administrative appointment in the first place.
“There have been a handful over the past several years,” Moon said.
Price informed the University of her resignation before the end of the 2009-2010 academic year; however, the Government Department delayed notifying students in the hope of finding a visiting instructor to teach the course. Although the University was unable to find such an instructor for the fall term, the Department is now searching for an individual to teach courses on black politics and related subjects.
“We hope to be offering a full range of such courses beginning in the 2011-2012 academic year,” Moon said.
Following Price’s resignation, the nascent Internship Coordinator position is now vacant; however, according to Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Rob Rosenthal plans are underway to fill the position in the near future.
“There is no current Internship Coordinator position, but [Director of the Career Resource Center (CRC)] Mike Sciola and others have been meeting to discuss how to create and staff such a position on a permanent basis, as well as provide an academic element to the internships through related seminars, and I expect a full plan on that in the next few months,” he wrote in an e-mail to The Argus.
In the meantime, Price advises students with questions about internships to contact the CRC directly.