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EALC Professor Denied Tenure By University

Japanese Literature Offerings to Suffer

By Ivan Oransky, Crimson Staff Writer

The University has denied tenure to a professor of Japanese literature, reversing the recommendation of the East Asian Languages and Civilizations Department, the department's chair said yesterday.

The decision, coupled with the departure of another professor to Dartmouth College, may mean that the department will not offer as many courses in Japanese literature next year, Professor of Japanese Literature Edwin A. Cranston said yesterday.

But Department Chair Wei-Ming Tu said that the department would not have to cut any courses.

"Basically we are okay," Tu said. "Certainly I am worried we are not up to full team... [It is] not best possible position but it is not disastrous."

The dean of the Faculty and the president declined to convene an ad hoc committee to review Associate Professor of Japanese Haruko Iwasaki for tenure, despite the department's unanimous recommendation, according to Tu.

In addition, Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature Dennis C. Washburn '76 has accepted a post as assistant professor at Dartmouth and will begin his new duties in September.

The departures leave the Japanese literature program with one senior faculty member, Cranston, and one junior faculty member, Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature Regine D. Johnson, who was one leave this year.

Graduate students said yesterday they were disappointed that the program will be understaffed.

"The department is a very unhealthy department at this point," said Seth Andrews, a graduate student in Japanese literature. "It's very problematic, especially for incoming students."

Cranston said last night that although he was planning to take a sabbatical next year, he made the decision to continue his teaching duties after Iwasaki was not granted tenure and after it became clear that the department would not be filling another senior post for next year.

"Since there are only the two of us," he said,"we are not going to be able to offer the samenumber of courses."

This year, Cranston, Washburn and Iwasaki alltaught courses in the Japanese literature program.With Johnson's return, the department will havetwo professors in the program.

Two Posts to Fill

The department had hoped to make two seniorappointments in Japanese literature: one in modernliterature as a permanent replacement for formerThomas Professor of Japanese Literature Howard S.Hibbett Jr., who retired last year; and one in anewly endowed chair.

The Takashima professorship, supported by a $3million grant from the Kyoei Steel Company ofJapan and named for the president of the company,will support a scholar in the humanities.

"The hope was that with the new chair, thedepartment would have two senior appointments,"Washburn said.

Washburn came to Harvard in September partly toreplace Hibbett.

"They're going to be severely understaffed,"Washburn said yesterday. But he said that theproblem will be corrected next year if officialscan fill two senior posts.

"They had the opportunity to fill twopositions, and they filled neither," said Andrews."It was very disappointing."

Cranston said that the University would beconvening an ad hoc committee to appoint theTakashima chair next fall, and that he hoped bothposts would be filled by the year after next.

Washburn said that the department is in aperiod of transition, but that in the long run,"They'll be up to full strength in one and a halfto two years."

Andrews said that the situation shows a lack ofcommitment by Harvard to building a strongprogram.

"From our position, it certainly smacks ofdisinterest on the University's part," he said."It seems the University is not concerned withmaintaining a respectable department."

Denial of Tenure

He said that he was surprised when theUniversity did not convene an ad hoc committee toreview Iwasaki, a specialist in advanced Japaneselanguage and pre-modern Japanese literature, fortenure.

Tu said that the University did not tenureIwasaki because her work has not been publishedand publicly recognized. But he said that herscholarship is excellent and that it was verypossible that she would return to the department.

"She's probably going to University ofCalifornia at Santa Barbara," Tu said. "In coupleyears when her work becomes recognized publicly... we'll make an attempt to bring her back."

It is unclear which post Iwasaki was underconsideration for. Graduate students saidyesterday that University of Washington professorJay A. Rubin, who served as Reischauer visitingprofessor of Japanese studies in 1990-91, wouldlikely be tapped for the Hibbett replacement, andthat Iwasaki would fill the Takashima chair.

Iwasaki's students also praised her upcomingbook.

"The book is going to revolutionize the field,"said Adam L. Kern, another graduate student inJapanese literature.

Tu said that Iwasaki had participated in manydepartmental committees and had helped raise fundsfor the Takashima chair.

"In terms of citizenship, she has beenremarkable," Tu said.

Washburn said that Iwasaki's concentration onadministrative concerns may have hurt her tenurechances.

"There was some question about the bookitself," Washburn said. "She put a lot of workinto the department, administrative work, and insome respects put her own work off."

Although students differed on their opinion ofIwasaki's teaching skills, most expresseddisappointment that the University denied hertenure.

"This is going to be another case of Harvardmissing a superstar," Kern said.

Iwasaki said that she does not have definiteplans for next year, but Tu said that she wouldlikely remain at the University as a fellow tocomplete her book.

Washburn cited several family concerns as areason for his departure. Washburn said that hiswife, also a Japanese teacher, will take a yearoff before assuming her post at Dartmouth, makingit easier to care for their children.

He said that he had no problems with thedepartment during his year at Harvard.

"I was perfectly satisfied with the departmentin many ways," he said

"Since there are only the two of us," he said,"we are not going to be able to offer the samenumber of courses."

This year, Cranston, Washburn and Iwasaki alltaught courses in the Japanese literature program.With Johnson's return, the department will havetwo professors in the program.

Two Posts to Fill

The department had hoped to make two seniorappointments in Japanese literature: one in modernliterature as a permanent replacement for formerThomas Professor of Japanese Literature Howard S.Hibbett Jr., who retired last year; and one in anewly endowed chair.

The Takashima professorship, supported by a $3million grant from the Kyoei Steel Company ofJapan and named for the president of the company,will support a scholar in the humanities.

"The hope was that with the new chair, thedepartment would have two senior appointments,"Washburn said.

Washburn came to Harvard in September partly toreplace Hibbett.

"They're going to be severely understaffed,"Washburn said yesterday. But he said that theproblem will be corrected next year if officialscan fill two senior posts.

"They had the opportunity to fill twopositions, and they filled neither," said Andrews."It was very disappointing."

Cranston said that the University would beconvening an ad hoc committee to appoint theTakashima chair next fall, and that he hoped bothposts would be filled by the year after next.

Washburn said that the department is in aperiod of transition, but that in the long run,"They'll be up to full strength in one and a halfto two years."

Andrews said that the situation shows a lack ofcommitment by Harvard to building a strongprogram.

"From our position, it certainly smacks ofdisinterest on the University's part," he said."It seems the University is not concerned withmaintaining a respectable department."

Denial of Tenure

He said that he was surprised when theUniversity did not convene an ad hoc committee toreview Iwasaki, a specialist in advanced Japaneselanguage and pre-modern Japanese literature, fortenure.

Tu said that the University did not tenureIwasaki because her work has not been publishedand publicly recognized. But he said that herscholarship is excellent and that it was verypossible that she would return to the department.

"She's probably going to University ofCalifornia at Santa Barbara," Tu said. "In coupleyears when her work becomes recognized publicly... we'll make an attempt to bring her back."

It is unclear which post Iwasaki was underconsideration for. Graduate students saidyesterday that University of Washington professorJay A. Rubin, who served as Reischauer visitingprofessor of Japanese studies in 1990-91, wouldlikely be tapped for the Hibbett replacement, andthat Iwasaki would fill the Takashima chair.

Iwasaki's students also praised her upcomingbook.

"The book is going to revolutionize the field,"said Adam L. Kern, another graduate student inJapanese literature.

Tu said that Iwasaki had participated in manydepartmental committees and had helped raise fundsfor the Takashima chair.

"In terms of citizenship, she has beenremarkable," Tu said.

Washburn said that Iwasaki's concentration onadministrative concerns may have hurt her tenurechances.

"There was some question about the bookitself," Washburn said. "She put a lot of workinto the department, administrative work, and insome respects put her own work off."

Although students differed on their opinion ofIwasaki's teaching skills, most expresseddisappointment that the University denied hertenure.

"This is going to be another case of Harvardmissing a superstar," Kern said.

Iwasaki said that she does not have definiteplans for next year, but Tu said that she wouldlikely remain at the University as a fellow tocomplete her book.

Washburn cited several family concerns as areason for his departure. Washburn said that hiswife, also a Japanese teacher, will take a yearoff before assuming her post at Dartmouth, makingit easier to care for their children.

He said that he had no problems with thedepartment during his year at Harvard.

"I was perfectly satisfied with the departmentin many ways," he said

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