Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez is an assistant professor of astronomy at Iowa State University (ISU). Born in Havana, he and his family fled from Cuba to the United States in 1967, where he earned a Ph.D. in astronomy with honors from the University of Washington in 1993.
Several of his colleagues have concluded that in 2007 Gonzalez was denied tenure at ISU as a result of his support for intelligent design. Tenure denial often means the kiss of death in academia, making it very difficult to find an academic position elsewhere. Although the story was first broken publicly in the Iowa paper, Ames Tribune, on May 12, 2007, the actual decision took place earlier in the spring (Dillon, 2007).
Dr. Gonzalez had just bought a house, married a local woman, and wanted to start a family and continue his very promising career as an astronomer at ISU. He tends to keep to himself, focusing on his highly productive research program, which would continue if he were allowed to stay at the university. His supporters have argued that this is what ISU does not want, because of his alleged scientific heresy.
According to ISU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, the tenure process, as outlined on page 4 of its Procedures and Promotion and Tenure Policy and Procedure, requires “excellence sufficient to lead
to a national or international reputation …[that] would ordinarily be shown by the publication of approximately fifteen papers of good quality in refereed journals.” Having produced 68 refereed scientific papers, Dr. Gonzalez has exceeded by more than 350 percent his own department’s standard
for “excellence” requirement for tenure. ISU considered 66 faculty for tenure during the past academic year, and only Gonzalez and two others were denied tenure (Dillon, 2007)….
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