Clarification: My outrage is in the following order: Religion >>> Age >> National Origin > Paper count.
IIT Madras is hiring new faculty. I heard ahead of time that an advertisement was coming out on the 20th and I was eagerly looking forward to see it. What struck me most was how unwelcoming it was.
The advertisement started of inviting “applications from Indian Nationals with an established record …” (emphasis mine). I understand IITs are a government institution, but why restrict faculty positions to citizens. State-run universities in the US allow non-US citizens to work, and the USCIS exempts non-immigrants employed in institutions of higher education from their normal H-1B cap.
The experience asked of Assistant Professor applicants includes “Candidates preferably should be below 35 years of age.” Ageism is institutionalized in India, but shouldn’t institutes of higher learning lead the way in being non-discriminatory? Even IISc’s unofficial recruitment page is explicit in its discrimination. The UT-Austin faculty recruitment website has a simple line that says “The University of Texas at Austin is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.” Sometime ago, I came across the following statement on D. E. Shaw’s recruitment page (emphasis mine). I would be so happy to work in such a place.
The members of the D. E. Shaw group do not discriminate in employment matters on the basis of sex, race, colour, caste, creed, religion, pregnancy, national origin, age, military service eligibility, veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, or any other protected class. Note that for us, this is more than just legal boilerplate. We are genuinely committed to these principles, which form an important part of our corporate culture.
And, when it comes to the application form itself, I fail to understand the point of filling out an application form with details that are already in one’s CV. What is the point of asking one to fill in the “number” of papers? What does differentiating between “Journal” and “Conference” publications serve? Journals and conferences are valued differently in different areas. Moreover the tier of each conference/journal itself has to be considered. A quote from an article about journals versus conferences in Computer Science.
Some lesser-ranked universities evaluate faculty on the basis of journal publications, because the Dean of Engineering is unable or unwilling to understand computer science. In most scientific fields, journals have higher standards than conferences; computer science is a rare exception. A top-ranked CS department can convince the dean to use the proper evaluation metric. A lower-ranked CS department cannot (the dean may think the department is trying to fool him or her). If you are at one of these universities, you will need to publish in journals, probably by submitting slightly revised versions of your conference papers to journals. The rush for people at lower-ranked universities (some of whom are excellent researchers, and some of whom are not) to submit even marginal results to journals is another regrettable factor that tends to lower the overall quality of journals.
And I don’t know what the difference is between an international and a national venue. After all, the famed AAAI Conference, till a couple of years ago was a national conference. Do national conferences and journals allow papers only from “Indian Nationals” just like IIT Madras itself does?
What offended me the most, and prompted this post is the application asking a person’s religion. How is this even remotely connected to making a decision on a candidate’s application? The only connection I can see is discrimination. I have not seen private sector companies or other educational institutions ask this information, so, I don’t think IIT Madras is mandated to collect this information, even for the purpose of collecting statistics.
This application form would have been prepared at the direction of some IIT-M faculty members. After all, they are the people who make decisions and know what information they need to make such a decision. I am surprised they asked for this field to be there, or it was not caught by any one.