Tiger Advocates: Get to know Harry Kurtz

January 15, 2019

Pic of Harry KurtzSome people think and others do. He feels that there is inequality in academia and decided to do something about it. Meet Senior Tiger Advocate Dr. Harry Kurtz.

What roles do you serve at the university?

I am an associate professor of microbiology in the department of biological sciences, where I teach and conduct research as my primary responsibilities.

How long have you been a Tiger Advocate?

I’ve been a Tiger Advocate for about two years now.

Why did you decide to become a Tiger Advocate, and what do you hope to accomplish?

The reasons I became a Tiger Advocate are both personal and professional. It’s almost 2020 and I don’t believe women have been fully accepted as equals in academia. That’s frustrating, especially given their historical contributions to science, engineering, and other academic disciplines. When I received the initial call to volunteer, I saw it as an opportunity to better myself and to make a difference for the long term. Through my role with Tigers ADVANCE, I have an opportunity to try and improve the climate for all members of Clemson.

What are some interesting things that you’ve learned as part of your participation in the Tiger Advocates program?

First, there are a lot of people working to improve climate in academic life.

Second, while seemingly intractable, the problem of bias in academia is solvable. However, it is a process that will require time and sustained effort to complete and maintain.

What are some changes you’ve made as a result of participating in the Tiger Advocates program?

The Tiger Advocates program is in its infancy, so it is hard to point to any changes resulting from the program at this moment. To date, we have adapted a workshop on gender bias to Clemson and have presented the Advocates Workshop to a number of Clemson faculty.

What would you like faculty members to know about the Tiger Advocates program?

We actively seek Clemson-specific stories to aid our efforts. With the exception of Title IX or potential criminal violations, what you discuss with us will remain confidential. We are here to enlighten and your stories will help us do so effectively. Anything you tell us will remain with us, unless you give us permission to use your story as the basis of a case study.

About Tiger Advocates

Part of the NSF-funded ADVANCE initiative, Tiger Advocates is a group of faculty interested in supporting equality in their departments, colleges and throughout the university. Advocates are active and effective proponents of gender diversity and equality specifically in terms of increasing the number of women and underrepresented faculty, encouraging the hiring for and promotion of women and underrepresented faculty into administrative positions, and ensuring the fair and equitable treatment of all faculty within their academic units. Learn more here.