moore1Let’s continue our discussion of the Record‘s (excellent) coverage of former Professor Bernard Moore. (Part 1 here.)

From College dismisses visiting professor mid-semester by Lina Khan:

Hiring visitors

Since news of Moore’s financial fraud first emerged, details about his false credentials and numerous fictitious identities have raised questions as to how the College found itself among the list of institutions he deceived.

Indeed! And EphBlog has provided a wealth of information on that topic (here, here, here and here), with more to come. The Record should be praised for finding out more/other details, but they ought to use our information as well, perhaps after confirming it with the quoted individuals.

Moore joined the faculty in September 2008 as a visiting lecturer in political science and taught five courses over that academic year, specializing in areas of constitutional law, race in politics and the judicial system. Moore applied for a tenure-track position in the department a few months after he began teaching but was rejected and instead eventually appointed as the W. Ford Schumann ’50 Professor in Democratic Studies for the following year, another visiting role.

We need more details! What committee initially hired Moore and when did they do it? Who brought Moore and Williams together? (My guess is that Bill Spriggs ’77 met Moore, was impressed and passed his name on to Morty, who then alerted the Political Science Department. But I have zero real evidence for this. And that is why I want the Record to figure out the history.)

1) The key person to interview is not James Mahon, chair of the political science department now, but Cathy Johnson, chair of the political science department in 2007–2008. She would know all the details of how Moore came to Williams. The Record ought to ask her. If she refuses to discuss the details . . .

2) Was there a position open to which Moore applied or was a position created especially for him? Again, there is no plausible reason for the College not to reveal this background, other than abject embarrassment and a desire to sweep everything under the rug move forward. I have been unable to use my Google-fu to compile a listing of Williams job openings in political science that were advertised in 2007–2008. Can anyone?

3) One clue to the hiring history in political science is that Paul McDonald was hired in 2008, after competing against Boaz Atzili, Michelle Murray and, perhaps, Joshua Rovner. This was probably the one job search that was authorized in political science that year. So, where did the money/position for hiring Moore come from? Thin air?

4) More clues can be found by looking at the history of visiting lecturers (what Moore was, as a non-Ph.D. in 2008-2009) and visiting assistant professors (what Moore was this year) in political science. Consider:

2007–2008: Visiting Assistant Professor: DOLGERT
2006–2007: Visiting Assistant Professors: BONG, A. SWAMY, R. SKINNER.
2005–2006: Visiting Assistant Professors: BONG, C. COOK, GROFF, A. SWAMY.
2004–2005: Visiting Assistant Professors: GROFF, A. HIRSCH, J. LEE, T. LEHMANN.

Notice any patterns? That’s right. No visiting lecturers. How did the Political Science Department magically have the money for a visiting lecturer for 2008–2009? (By the way, Moore is listed as a visiting assistant professor is his first year, but I am pretty sure that this is a mistake.)

5) The other clue that Moore’s hire was “special” lies in the courses he taught and in the professors who were not on leave in 2008–2009. The typical reason for hiring a visiting assistant professor is that you need either a) someone to help out with the intro courses because too many permanent faculty are on leave or b) someone to teach specific upper level courses because of leaves taken by specific senior faculty. But the only political science professors on-leave in 2008–2009 were: MCALLISTER, SHANKS and MELLOW, none of whom teach the sort of upper level courses that Moore would teach. Only Shanks was on-leave for the whole year.

If anything, 2008-2009 was a period of less than normal leave activity in the political science department. Assuming that this was known in the spring of 2008 (as it almost certainly would have been), the department would have had a great deal of trouble convincing the Dean of the Faculty that it needed money for a visiting lecturer in 2008–2009.

Consider the classes Moore taught:

PSCI 201(F,S) Power, Politics, and Democracy in America
PSCI 304(F) Race and the Criminal Justice System
PSCI 217(S) Constitutional Law II: Rights
PSCI 307(S) Black Politics
PSCI 320(S) Judicial Politics

In other words, of the five courses Moore taught, three were, for all practical purposes, brought to Williams by him. They were not courses that the department would have expected to have someone teach. The other two (201 and 217) were classes that are taught each year. (Ask Alan Hirsch why he wasn’t teaching PSCI 217 that spring.)

To be fair, Moore’s hiring might be connected to the departure of assistant professor of political science George Thomas. He seemed to only be at Williams for two years, before leaving for Claremont Mckenna. Still, I don’t see a connection, other than Moore teaching PSCI 217, a class that Thomas had taught before.

Summary: I bet (75% chance) that Williams was not hiring a visiting lecturer and/or assistant professor in the spring of 2008 in Moore’s subfields. Not enough faculty were on leave and those that were taught other subjects. Instead, Williams found out about Moore somehow, decided that he was a catch, and created a position for him.

6) Besides wondering how Moore came to Williams, we need to determine how he was reappointed. Who was on the committee that selected him as W. Ford Schumann ’50 Professor in Democratic Studies? When did they make that decision? (Sounds like it would have been well into the spring of 2009.) Were they concerned about Moore’s “horrific” teaching? If not, why not?

7) I bet that the folks in the department who fought against Moore being appointed to a tenure track position are feeling fairly proud of themselves! Would be fun to have a transcript of that meeting!

8) The Record needs to do a better job of describing its sources. How does it know that Moore applied for a tenure track job and was rejected? It just can’t assert something like that with zero evidence. It needs to cite someone with specific knowledge, either named or anonymous.

9) Recall what the Record reported in the fall of 2007:

While the student body becomes more diverse with each year, increasing faculty diversity remains a priority and a challenge for the College as it struggles to find and attract eligible candidates.

“This is an issue of little supply and huge demand,” said Mike Reed, vice president for strategic planning and institutional diversity. “Even though I want to increase in a certain area, you’re limited by where you have opportunities. Not only are there not that many PhDs, we probably would not accept half of them because of the degree-granting institution.”

Reed’s office targets five academic departments in particular for recruitment: English, political science, psychology, biology and athletics. Chosen based on size and the opportunities available, these departments will be the special focus of faculty diversity in next two to three years as greater networks are formed in these areas.

Six months later, Moore was offered a position at Williams by the Political Science department.

Still think that Moore’s race isn’t going to enter the picture at some point? Don’t say I didn’t warn you . . .

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