Report: Va. Tech institutes ideological 'litmus test'

Virginia Tech is reportedly requiring professors seeking tenure to pass a sort of litmus test when it comes to “diversity” and “inclusion.”

When it comes to applying to for tenure at many universities, scholars academic work and teaching are usually what falls under the microscope. This is no longer the case at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), which recently released new promotion and tenure guidelines.

This is not the first time the university has attempted to institute such a policy. Seven years ago the Office of the Provost sent out a memo stating that professors seeking tenure should "do a better job of participating in and documenting their involvement in diversity initiatives."

The university appeared to back down from this policy after facing heavy public pressure from groups like the National Association of Scholars and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

The university has also recently rolled out an “InclusionVT” initiative aimed at promoting and increasing inclusion on campus. The initiative also required senior leadership in each department to develop inclusion goals.

The National Association of Scholars analyzed the initiatives and found that the new guidelines required tenure seeking professors to repeatedly demonstrate their efforts to promote a more diverse and inclusive climate on campus. Sections in the guidelines that previously had no mention of “diversity” or “inclusion” now require professors to prove their contributions to these efforts.

Examples of these new requirements include: demonstrating efforts to expand one’s teaching skills through “pursuing training in inclusive pedagogy;” candidate's research should increase “efforts that advance the scholarship of diversity within her or his field;” and reporting “[i]nformation regarding the candidate’s contributions to an inclusive campus and collegial workplace at Virginia Tech.”

Virginia Tech did not respond to request for comment from Campus Reform in time for publication.

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