Monday, June 08, 2009

Speak up, AsAm Professors

Speak up & Act, Asian American professor!

This email came from an Asian Am. professor who is about to retire. He has been a Dept. Chair, a grant reviewer in a government agency and has already negotiated his early retirement plans with his university. Below he shares his experience and observation on subtle discrimination on campus with his younger Asian Am. colleagues.

On Grant Reviews:
"Advancement in academia often depends on getting extramural funding. I have served on government agency panels that review grant proposals. For course development grant, my perception is that it's harder for Asian Americans to get funded. Many of the reviewers are not Asians and the reviewers come across tougher on proposals submitted by non-Caucasians without the benefit of being underrepresented minorities."

On Hiring:
"Furthermore, during the hiring process, my previous colleagues stack the deck in their votes for non-Asians. Part of the concern is the clarity of speech. However, even for ABCs, the criteria are different. These kind of behavior is very hard to prove. Having worked as the sole Asian in my building for more than 25 years before another Asian was hired in a different department, I can definitely say that the treatment is very different from many administrators and from my contemporaries. The older faculty were actually less prejudiced than the younger ones to my

On Negotiating Early Retirement/Rewards for External Funding:
"Furthermore, when it came to negotiating early retirement, the deals were secret and done on a case by case basis. Had I not been previous chair of my department and knew about one particular case, the college was going to deny me health insurance after retirement. Rewards from extramural funding were also handled very differently for me from that of my Caucasian peers, all three of whom I outranked in terms of years in service and years in the professorial rank."

His Concluding Remarks:
"My perception is by no means scientific but if you get enough of this, you might have some basis. I am just about retired and am not saying this to advance myself. I am sending a check for $35 to become a member. Your message resonated with me."

80-20 thanks this professor, who prefers anonymity, for passing on his life experience to others of the Asian Am. community. It should awaken those young Asian Am professors who otherwise might have no idea of how the real world is like. Universities are considered the basin of liberalism. Alas! The fact is Asian Ams in private industries have 55% of the chance of all other Americans to rise to management, while those in universities have ONLY 41% chance of all the other Americans." See Chart 1.

Joining 80-20 will NOT hurt your career. If anything, it'll empower you. Need an example? Please allow me to share my experience. Under my name, a few lines 502 below, are shown a part of my career as a professor. I was involved in projects that my elders & friends considered imprudent, and advised me to avoid. Instead, getting involved liberated & empowered me. Please note the time periods of each involvement, and how each involvement had empowered me to go further.

"There is nothing to fear, except fear itself." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Go to join 80-20. We need 8 more NEW members to receive a $3,500 matching fund. Thank you.

Respectfully yours,

S.B. Woo
Acting Exec. Director, 80-20 PAC, Inc. (a volunteer)
Professor ('66-2001), Founding Pres. of Faculty Union, Chief spokesman & chief negotiator ('71-'73), Trustee ('76-'82), all at the Univ. of Delaware; Lt. Governor of Delaware ('85-'89)

Data on which Chart 1 is bases have been verified by EEOC, and entered into the Congressional Record by Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware