If you yearn to read more opinion pieces by feminist professors at Yale, have I got some good news for you:
A new program introduced at Yale in the spring aims to bring more female and minority experts into the field of opinion writing.
The Yale Women’s Faculty Forum and the Provost’s Office have provided $50,000 to sponsor the Public Voices Thought Leadership Fellowship at Yale, which pairs senior faculty members with writing mentors from the OpEd Project, a New York-based organization that works with universities and nonprofits across the country to encourage gender equality in opinion journalism. OpEd Project instructors work with 20 “OpEd fellows” — female and minority male members of Yale’s faculty — for two years of mentoring.
The program was the inspiration of Laura Wexler, an American studies and women’s gender and sexuality studies professor. She was assisted in this worthy endeavor by School of Medicine professor Shirley McCarthy, her co-chair on the Women’s Faculty forum, “a group that promotes gender equity” at Yale.
Ms. Wexler believes that we need “a greater variety of voices to help expand public commitment to scientific research, enrich our social world and deepen our political choices.” Anyone who talks about the need to “deepen our political choices” is smart to get a writing coach. (Just a question: Would–like–voting for a Republican ever qualify as a deep choice? Just asking…)
Michael Rubin came across this gem, and I think the women at Yale should sign him up as their diversity coach–immediately:
The good administrators at Yale University do not seem to realize it’s not just the inability to write concisely on relevant topics which hampers faculty voices from reaching mainstream newspapers and websites, but also ideas. American liberal arts universities have long since ceased being intellectually stimulating places, as most professors and guests on campus represent a range of debate far narrower than that in the broader policy world. Rather than focus on the problem in terms of gender or color as Yale does, it would behoove the university to tackle instead intellectual diversity. There is much less space between liberal black men, liberal white men, liberal women, or liberal blue dwarfs than there would be between liberals of any race and gender, and conservatives of any race and gender.
Sometimes it pays to be color blind and focus on the merit of an idea rather than whomever happens to be making it. By designing the program to focus on identity groups, Yale’s attempt to bolster op-ed production becomes a self-parody of why so many top-tier universities fail to produce ideas with traction.