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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Margaret Anne O'Connor, July 1, 1987. Interview L-0031. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

All that has changed for the new generation of faculty members

While O'Connor is glad that some of the pressures have been removed from younger faculty members, she worries that incoming faculty will feel much less investment in the university community.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Margaret Anne O'Connor, July 1, 1987. Interview L-0031. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

MARGARET ANNE O'CONNOR: Let me just remark on one other person here, Dell Johansen, of the Department of Economics. I remember she retired early, in about 1977-78. She was an Associate Professor in the School of Economics, and she retired after she was passed over for promotion. That was before we had our exit interviews that the Dean now holds with departing faculty members, but she said that she wished she could talk to the dean because she felt, as a woman, that--and this is someone who wasn't a firebrand brought in--this is somebody who'd been here since the 50's, and I think that she felt, again, that her value to the University had not been recognized, and I think that's an incredible oversight. That is the University's failure, and the University is one that is suffering.
I think that it's, in part, as you say, you're only judged on those very narrow achievements within your major field. It's a male definition of success and accomplishment. MARGARET ANNE O'CONNOR: But I'd like to point out that now that our younger and newer women faculty members are not being asked to be on so many committees and are not carrying the load, that they are meeting those standards very easily. I think if that's what the University wants, that's fine. I do sort of think, though, that the University runs the risk of losing some of the best people, because one of the things that serving on six committees does is make young faculty know their colleagues all over the University, makes them feel very much a part of the community, and makes a decision to leave to go to a different institution a very different kind of decision. I would like to suggest that a lot of the younger people, male and female, who are just being judged on their teaching evaluations and the strength of their publications might leave. In a way some of the other members of the faculty who were brought in under a whole different age had a different sense of reality.
Yes, I think you're right. I think the University is losing some of these requirements but maintaining that emphasis. MARGARET ANNE O'CONNOR: Right.