Introduction: Reflecting on the Profession
by Susan M. Sterett, University of Maryland and Jennifer A. Diascro, University of California Washington Program
Dr. Jennifer Diascro, Associate Academic Director of the University of California Washington Program, and Dr. Susan Sterett, Professor and Director of the School of Public Policy at UMBC, co-edited the Symposium on using stories to diagnose what happens with lives in the profession. Stories bring into question the dominant tropes for professional success: that tenure track at a research institution is the only model for work, that colleagues’ and decisions are not a significant part of the story, and that what institutions do is predictable. Many have diagnosed patterns of exclusion, and advised people what to do to fit into one model in the profession, with little awareness of diverse careers and demands, and little sense of life after tenure. Stories give life, illuminate processes, and allow people to describe their whole lives before the profession rather than the fragments patterns capture. In the introduction, Sterett and Diascro invite everyone to shift perspectives in telling stories, and to draw a reader’s own conclusions about the challenges that face individuals and institutions.