Rebecca Garcia Co-Edits Book on Tenure and Leadership in Academic Mathematics

Professor of Mathematics Rebecca Garcia has co-edited “Aspiring and Inspiring: Tenure and Leadership in Academic Mathematics", a collection of essays from successful women and gender minority mathematicians on what it takes to build a career in mathematics.

The individual essays are intended to advise, encourage, and inspire mathematicians throughout different stages of their careers. Themes emerge as these prominent individuals describe how they managed to persist and rise to positions of leadership in a field which can still be forbidding to many. We read, repeatedly, that individual mentorship matters, that networks of support can be critical, and that finding fulfillment can mean formulating one's own definition of success. Those who aspire to leadership in the field will find much useful advice here.

The cumulative power of the collection carries a strong impact. The glass ceiling is very real in mathematics and is the result of cultural and sociological factors at work in our community. The book makes clear that we won't achieve equality of opportunity merely by exhorting those who are often excluded to change their behaviors and their goals. The need for systemic cultural change is vividly, at times painfully, evident in these stories. As Dr. Erica Graham says in her powerful and moving essay, we need “a different kind of academy”, and we'll only get it by working for it. We can start by reading this book and recognizing the kind of academy we currently have.

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