Letters to the Editor: Karen Bass’ scholarship problem looks bad. Don’t ignore it.
Karen Bass was chosen in 2010 as professor of anthropology and history of art in the School of Social Sciences. Prior to the appointment, Bass had no academic training in any field of human activity, nor had she ever been involved in research, which could be a factor in her selection as successor to Roberta Bondar (a former vice-chancellor of the University of Tasmania, and author of The Great Good Place: the Tasmanian High School and the transformation of Australian higher education). Her qualifications are scant and she lacks the experience of a PhD student, and so was selected and appointed by a committee as Professor Bass has not worked as a researcher. However I would like to ask her to be frank and honest about her qualifications and experience as a professor, and also to consider that her appointment is a very good investment in the future of TCAF, and not just in the way it will bring new research into the study of university education, but also in the wider understanding of Tasmanian culture and society.
Professor Bass is married to Alan Bass, the Dean of the university’s School of Social Sciences. She has a son and two daughters. Her husband is a university librarian, and is a member of the advisory board of the Tasmanian State Archive for Education Research, which will be opening a new research facility in November 2018 (see ‘A great day for TCAF!’ page 14) and is a member of the Board of the Education Endowment Fund.
We pay AU$500 a week for the privilege of being treated with kindness and respect by our university employer, who has employed a woman with no formal qualifications, and has done more than anyone to promote gender equality in higher education. We pay AU$500 a week to be lectured to by a woman, and a woman who is not qualified to engage in any scientific research. We buy the privilege of being invited to lunch with a woman at a hotel who has little or no academic experience. We pay AU$500 a week to have a woman as our lecturer. And we pay AU$500 a week to have a woman chosen as our university professor; a woman who will be in charge of one of the most important institutions of higher education in Australia