In other posts, I’ve written about how my new department chair is nice and fair to the point of being incapable of seeing when others are being not-nice and unfair. He tells me (or my husband) with some frequency that he respects me, but the reason he feels the need to say this often is because there are many intra-departmental episodes that seem to suggest otherwise. In addition, he doesn’t take action to move the department in any new directions other than business-as-usual. Examples I’ve mentioned before: he doesn’t object when there is a semester with no women speakers and he doesn’t do anything proactive to give women faculty important responsibilities.
BUT he just did something that was in his power to do but that took some proactivity to accomplish: he gave me a big, double-digit merit raise to help bring my salary closer to that of my male peers. To do this, he went to the provost and got additional funds, so he wasn’t taking anything away from other departmental colleagues. He did the same for my husband, who was also underpaid relative to his accomplishments. I think part of the chair’s motivation is that he knows that other universities are recruiting us. Even so, getting a big raise feels good after years of below-average raises from the previous chair, who favored the old guys and faculty friends in the department.
The departmental ecosystem has improved for me this year, thanks to the change in leadership. This makes decisions about leaving a bit more complicated. If I do go elsewhere, I won’t be leaving primarily out of anger and bitterness but rather for new opportunities and the chance to do something different with the rest of my career. That’s probably healthier, but it doesn’t make the decision any easier.
12 years ago