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When I first heard that Dr. Mehta of the psychology department was denied tenure and will potentially not be returning to Emmanuel College in the fall, I was mad. Knowing Emmanuel’s rumored history of cutting corners and raising tuition, this seemed like another way to save money for the funding of the new Julie Hall. After allowing my thoughts to settle though, all I can say is I’m disappointed.
I had the privilege of having Dr. Mehta for her First Year Seminar, Cross- Sex Friendships on Film which is still one of my favorite classes that I have taken during my two years at EC. In this course my peers and I studied the taboo subject of cross- sex friendships and analyzed the roles that gender and sexuality have in our society. These are topics that have always interested me but I haven’t always had the confidence to talk about. Taking her course allowed me to see space and need for these ideas to be discussed in academia. It even went far enough to inspire me to want to pursue these topics as a career.
Although I have decided to major in sociology to meet this goal, Dr. Mehta has always kept her door open to me. In the fall when I was struggling to commit to taking this path, she was there to offer support and give me courage to take the leap of faith. When choosing where I wanted to receive my undergraduate education, I knew I wanted to attend a school where connections like this could be made with professors. Dr. Mehta is the perfect example of why I chose Emmanuel College. I know I speak for many other students when I say because of her and professors like her, I feel like I can flourish.
Her contribution to Emmanuel College and the community is admirable. When not teaching, Dr. Mehta continues her personal research which is focused on sex, gender, and related social processes and how they influence adolescents’ and young adults’ beliefs and behavior; research interests that are otherwise not widely studied. As noted on her “Our Faculty” profile found on Emmanuel’s website, Dr. Mehta is also published, a staff scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital, and a fellow in pediatrics at Harvard Medical school in addition to leading the lifespan lab at Emmanuel College. All of these things demonstrate scholarship, teaching, service and engagement to a high degree. (See The Mysteries of Tenure by Abigail Matheson on ecthehub.com)
Emmanuel College’s Vision Statement reads as follows: “Emmanuel will be widely esteemed as the college in the heart of Boston that leads the nation in combining an extraordinary liberal arts and sciences education in the Catholic intellectual tradition with a commitment to strong relationships…” The tenure decision directly impacts these relationships without acknowledging both sides. While Dr. Mehta’s accomplishments speak for themselves, the impact she has on students adds much more to her case. A voting committee that fails to recognize this, fails to uphold the Vision Statement of the college.
I write this in disappointment not only for Dr. Mehta but to champion for all professors who are not fully appreciated and for students who have/ had to say goodbye to their mentors. An institution that fails to recognize important figures and value teacher- student relationships is not the institution that I proudly bleed blue and gold for. It is time to give students a space to advocate for their educators and a voice that holds weight in this decision making process, as we are the ones directly affected. #MoneyTalksTeacherWalk
Carly Colby ’18