[CITASA] [Air-L] 3 positions at Nanying Tech U Singapore---avoid

Steven Corman steve.corman at asu.edu
Thu Aug 6 15:38:01 EDT 2015


All, I have a good friend who works at NTU.  He tells me the decision was made by the President of the University, not the President of Singapore.  That does not mean, of course, that the government had no input, but we should be careful about propagating rumors.

Best,

Steve

-----Original Message-----
From: CITASA [mailto:citasa-bounces at list.citasa.org] On Behalf Of Philip N. Howard
Sent: Wednesday, August 05, 2015 4:22 PM
To: Michael Baron; Patrick Williams
Cc: Bart Cammaerts; air-l; citasa at list.citasa.org; Marjolin L. Antheunis; Aphra Kerr
Subject: Re: [CITASA] [Air-L] 3 positions at Nanying Tech U Singapore---avoid

Hi Michael, well in a strange way the call was partly mine!  I was one of the external reviewers.  The whole review panel recommended tenure and all of us agreed to go public when the decision was overturned.  So I can comfortably encourage colleagues to avoid jobs in Singapore and I have been declining subsequent invitations to do tenure and promotion reviews.  In my experience that system doesn't need me.  Yes Singapore has a distinctive tenure process--it is one that seems to be especially constraining for people working in the social sciences and humanities.

You suggest Singapore's research environment may seem more like Russia, China and Kazakhstan than like the US, UK, or Europe.  Better comparisons may be Hungary or Turkey...many domains of inquiry but those who study technology, media, political sociology and journalism really do have to do so quietly.  While I agree there can be lots of nuances to academic cultures, I also believe human rights are universal, freedom of expression is an important subset of those rights, and academic freedoms are an important subset of those freedoms.  If NTU and Singapore want to recruit scholars who study information, media, and society, perhaps they should advertise internally rather than internationally.  

But I fully agree on your point about engagement with governments that interfere with academic freedoms!  So here could be some good outcomes from all this conversation:

1.  Colleagues who work at NTU and in Singapore please let your admin know that advertising these jobs internationally caused a heated debate and much criticism of the reputation of NTU and Singapore's universities.  They need to know the reputational costs.  If the candidate pool isn't strong you can explain why.

2.  Colleagues who apply for these jobs should ask questions about the tenure expectations and risks.  You evaluate the fit for yourselves and how Singapore's authoritarian government may provide opportunities and constraints on your career and intellectual trajectory.  NTU faculty can report to their admin that job candidates are still asking about Singapore's tenure politics.

3.  If I get more invitations to help with tenure reviews I'll continue to decline saying "in my experience you don't respect the tenure process" and if any of you get an invitation you can consider accepting.  If you accept, do so by saying "I've heard the tenure process is political" and ask about how your review letter will contribute.

That should be a good set of exit, voice and loyalty options.  With some consistent prodding from us, NTU and Singapore may be able to clean up its tenure and promotion process and adopt some good freedom of expression norms.
p.


Dr. Philip N. Howard
Professor, University of Washington
Professor, Central European University
     GPG Key: 9CAAEABC
     www.philhoward.org
     @pnhoward

**New Book**
Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up. Yale University Press, 2015, www.paxtechnica.org

-----Original Message-----
From: CITASA [mailto:citasa-bounces at list.citasa.org] On Behalf Of Michael Baron
Sent: Wednesday, August 5, 2015 8:14 AM
To: Patrick Williams <subcultures at gmail.com>
Cc: air-l <Air-L at listserv.aoir.org>; citasa at list.citasa.org
Subject: Re: [CITASA] [Air-L] 3 positions at Nanying Tech U Singapore---avoid

With all due respect, while I am not denying the possibility of politically-motivated censorship by the University, It could be argued then, that no jobs with the Universies in China, Russia, Kazakhstan etc. academics should apply for...and no associations with institutions from these countries should be established.

It is a common and reasonable expectation everywhere, that academics complay with policies established by the faculty they are employed by and do not openly criticize their own management via public domains. Being a foreign academic/consultant/associate - one has to be even more respectful towards  policies, practices and agendas of the employer. There is a clear difference between freedom of speech/expression/academic freedom and employee loyalty! As an employer, a University can have a peer assessment system of its choice (just like any other employers in any other industries) as long as this system is within legal boundaries. In this particular case, I may not agree with the NTU's approach...but the call is theirs rather than mine so I would refrain from advising others not to accept jobs with them


On Thu, Aug 6, 2015 at 12:37 AM, Patrick Williams <subcultures at gmail.com <mailto:subcultures at gmail.com> > wrote:


	I saw Philip Howard's response to the NTU jobs on the CITASA and AoIR
	listservs. Just to follow up on it.
	
	I'm not sure where the information that the president of the country
	overturned Cherian George's tenure decision came from, but my understanding
	(and FYI I'm an associate professor at NTU) is that NTU's board denied his
	tenure; there was no overturning. Certainly there were many faculty,
	including me, who were shocked by the incident, but there were probably
	just as many who were not surprised. I learned very quickly after moving to
	NTU that engaging in actions (whether through activism, publishing
	research, etc.) that directly criticize government policies could have dire
	consequences. But I would disagree that "it is a bit early, and a bit
	risky, to invest your academic career in Singapore." The research
	environment is lively and active, the faculty is internationally diverse,
	and faculty are supported in their work....as long as they don't bite the
	hand that feeds them. [Yes, that may feel like a slap in the face to a
	liberal academic, but it's also increasingly a reality in higher education
	everywhere.]
	
	The Cherian George case was political, but then again people are denied
	tenure or fired every year at universities for political reasons. You
	didn't do what your dean asked asked you to do once and got on her/his bad
	side....you didn't collaborate with the 'right' people in a lab or
	department or wherever....you told your students God doesn't exist....such
	stories circulate in the US, UK, Europe, and elsewhere as well. Even
	tenured professors in the US feel unsafe at some institutions, from
	teaching on sensitive issues to not securing 'enough' grant
	money...Singapore is nothing special in this regard.
	
	There are many people who don't get tenure at NTU, but many who do. I would
	agree that scholars doing advocacy or activist work that would target
	Singaporean public policy might very well do better elsewhere. But there
	are many scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and communication who
	do great work otherwise. Therefore I would add a caveat to Philip's
	statement: "If you study communication, technology, journalism, media, or
	have domains of inquiry that are culturally, politically, or economically
	sensitive, this is probably not a good place for you."  A more accurate
	statement would be: If you study any of those things and plan to critique
	Singapore governmental policy, this is probably not a place for you." Folks
	interested in a job in Singapore can begin by looking at faculty profiles
	and seeing what kinds of things profs here are publishing, for one thing.
	Or just apply and, if you get a campus interview, ask good questions about
	your concerns during your visit. If you don't get a good feeling, you don't
	have to take the job.
	
	Cheers,
	
	patrick.
	
	On Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 7:42 AM, Philip N. Howard <pnhoward at uw.edu <mailto:pnhoward at uw.edu> > wrote:
	
	> Alas I don't believe these jobs will be good for many people on this list.
	>
	> Unfortunately NTU, and Singapore, has a bad reputation for academic
	> freedoms.  Very recently the president of the country overturned a tenure
	> decision involving one of our colleagues, Dr. Cherian George (phd
	> Stanford), and neither his department nor his university were able to stand
	> by him.  I was one of his external reviewers and got drawn into the
	> campaign to have the university and government respect the usual system of
	> peer assessment.
	>
	>
	> http://techpresident.com/news/23575/op-ed-singapore-doesnt-always-need-internet-censorship-silence-critics
	>
	> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christian-sandvig/internet-freedom-prof-den_b_2770033.html
	>
	> http://blogs.wsj.com/indonesiarealtime/2013/03/01/singapore-professor-denied-tenure-sparks-academic-freedom-debate/
	>
	> If you study communication, technology, journalism, media, or have domains
	> of inquiry that are culturally, politically, or economically sensitive,
	> this is probably not a good place for you.  Singapore as a country may open
	> up in time, but you probably don't want to be the next test case for
	> academic freedom!  It is a bit early, and a bit risky, to invest your
	> academic career in Singapore.
	> p.
	>
	> Dr. Philip N. Howard
	> Professor, University of Washington
	> Professor, Central European University
	>      GPG Key: 9CAAEABC
	>      www.philhoward.org <http://www.philhoward.org> 
	>      @pnhoward
	>
	> **New Book**
	> Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up.
	> Yale University Press, 2015, www.paxtechnica.org <http://www.paxtechnica.org> 
	>
	> -----Original Message-----
	> From: CITASA [mailto:citasa-bounces at list.citasa.org <mailto:citasa-bounces at list.citasa.org> ] On Behalf Of Barry
	> Wellman
	> Sent: Sunday, July 26, 2015 3:29 PM
	> To: communication and information technology section asa <
	> citasa at list.citasa.org <mailto:citasa at list.citasa.org> >
	> Subject: [CITASA] 3 positions at Nanying Tech U Singapore
	>
	> As Rich sez, a great dept.
	>    Barry Wellman
	>   _______________________________________________________________________
	>    FRSC                 INSNA Founder               University of Toronto
	>    http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman           twitter: @barrywellman
	>    NETWORKED:The New Social Operating System.  Lee Rainie & Barry Wellman
	>    MIT Press            http://amzn.to/zXZg39        Print $14  Kindle $9
	>    _______________________________________________________________________
	>
	>
	> Message: 1
	> Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 19:06:34 +0200
	> From: Rich Ling <riseling at gmail.com <mailto:riseling at gmail.com> >
	> To: AoIR mailing list <air-l at listserv.aoir.org <mailto:air-l at listserv.aoir.org> >
	> Subject: [Air-L] Three positions in Comm School at Nanyang
	>         Technological   University, Singapore
	> Message-ID:
	>         <
	> CAO5RENCvT+mAsfUcwA5oTtOUAfydYGRVdP16dbD62r5ZeJ1Xiw at mail.gmail.com <mailto:CAO5RENCvT%2BmAsfUcwA5oTtOUAfydYGRVdP16dbD62r5ZeJ1Xiw at mail.gmail.com> >
	> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
	>
	> Dear all,
	>
	> There are three positions open at Nanyang Technological University in
	> Singapore. There is a Full and an Asst. Prof. position in the area of ICT
	> and an Asst. position in Integrated Marketing Communication.
	>
	>
	> http://www.ntu.edu.sg/ohr/career/CurrentOpenings/FacultyOpenings/WKWSCI/Pages/index.aspx
	>
	> The University is very dynamic. It is rising in the rankings and it is a
	> great place to work.
	>
	> --
	> Rich L.
	>
	>
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