The shootings on February 12 at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, which left three faculty members dead and two more professors and a department assistant wounded, have sparked a good deal of soul-searching within higher education. Amy Bishop, an assistant professor of biology at the university who was recently denied tenure, was arrested at the scene and has been charged with murder and attempted murder.
Bishop’s tenure denial may or may not be relevant to the shootings, but some scholars are asking what role, if any, the stresses of academic life played in the tragedy. What are the psychological effects of academic culture, particularly on rising scholars? Can or should something be done to change that culture?
The Chronicle asked a group of scholars and experts what they thought.
Cristina Nehring, writer and Ph.D. candidate in English literature at the University of California at Los Angeles:
Amy Bishop is nobody’s poster girl–not even for the tragic perversity of the tenure process.