Brinkley Decides to Take Tenured Post at CUNY
Dunwalke Associate Professor of History Alan M. Brinkley has accepted a tenured post in the prestigious graduate faculty of the City University of New York (CUNY), he said yesterday.
Although the appointment awaits the approval of the CUNY Board of Trustees, Brinkley said he has been told that it is nearly certain they will confirm the offer made last May. The offer came just weeks after the History Department voted against offering a permanent post to Brinkley.
The former winner of the Levenson Award for teaching said that he plans to reduce the portion of time he spends teaching to concentrate on research in his new job.
"As much as I enjoy teaching, it took up so much of my time that I didn't have enough an opportunity to do my own work," said Brinkley, who is currently on sabbatical from Harvard to work on a book about the New Deal.
Brinkley, who will join Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. '38 and only three other full-time historians at the CUNY graduate history department, said this job offered him a change of pace from Harvard. "I will be doing less teaching than I did at Harvard and I suppose that is one of my reasons for going there," Brinkley said.
Warren Professor of American History David H. Donald said Brinkley deserved praise for his new appointment as the CUNY graduate history department includes several of the nation's leading American historians. "Being asked to join this faculty is a most prestigious thing," Donald said.
"This is a case of an extraordinarily gifted scholar being asked to join a great university and it is cause for great rejoicing among his friends," he added.
But Donald said he was not convinced that Brinkley would actually cut downhis teaching load.
Although Brinkley's main teaching requirementwill be to lead a graduate seminar for doctoralcandidates, Donald said, "Knowing Alan, he'll beteaching around the clock."
Brinkley's failed tenure bid last spring wasconsidered a test of how heavily a departmentweighs teaching ability when considering whetherto grant a candidate a lifetime post at theUniversity.
Harvard's rejection of Brinkley suggested tomany that the department values research much morethan teaching in its assessment.
"I enjoy teaching but there are costsassociated with teaching," Brinkley said.
But Donald said he did not think that aprofessor who spent time on teaching would haveinsufficient time to do research. "Witness thenumber of persons in the history department whoare producing scholars and teachers as well,"Donald said.
But he added, "It is true that for a youngscholar who is entering the field, it is oftendifficult to decide how to allocate time betweenteaching and writing but this is a personaldecision and not an institutional problem.