The denial of tenure for Professor Lopez means that Dartmouth is losing an excellent researcher, educator, and colleague. I worked with Tish while I was a postdoc at Dartmouth for three years. I don’t think I’ve met another academic who matches the level of care and consideration that Tish puts into her teaching and advising of students. This is clearly demonstrated as well by the number of students who have come out to support her in the denial of tenure. Tish has made such a great impact at Dartmouth (both in the context of undergraduates and as a mentor to other academics like myself in the context of research) – it is very upsetting to hear about the institution’s decision in her case.Katharine Hall, Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London
Professor Lopez is well respected by her peers across the discipline. She has been an inspiration for me and other BIPOC geographers. I would like to express my statement of support for Professor Lopez!Andre Ortega
I was hired by Dartmouth right before Aimee Bahng was denied tenure and arrived to a campus reeling from the shock of her tenure denial. Tish Lopez’s shocking tenure denial several years later shows that nothing has changed when it comes to how this institution exploits then discards faculty of color who are dedicated to helping make the campus a better place. Witnessing the repeated mistreatment of several brilliant academics of color who embody the “teacher-scholar” model that Dartmouth continues to claim to uphold, one can’t help but see a pattern that indicates that the absolute secrecy in which every single step of the tenure evaluation process is shrouded is there to shield biased institutional practices from accountability. At state schools, including many top tier R1 institutions, faculty up for tenure have access to their internal and external review letters and are thus empowered to learn from and respond to them. At Dartmouth, faculty are not only denied that incredible opportunity to learn about how senior colleagues in their departments and their fields view their ideas and their place in the scholarly community, they are also denied the ability to respond to any potentially misconstrued evaluations. The tenure process at Dartmouth needs to become transparent and accountable. Tish is a brilliant, highly qualified scholar and teacher and she deserves better than how Dartmouth has treated her. The campus community will be worse off without her.Eman S. Morsi, Assistant Professor, Dartmouth College
Any institution, organization or group would be lucky to have a member as thoughtful, committed and strong as Dr. Tish Lopez. Her scholarship and praxis in feminist care ethics exemplifies the hope we all have for our research: that our findings will move readers, students, and colleagues to change for the better. Tish’s dextrous ability to move between activist, scholarly and elite spaces and across various countries and cultures without compromising her values is representative of the fortitude and clarity of purpose she brings to her life and her research. Our department and the entire campus has lost an integral member with Tish’s tenure denial. Indeed, the entire discipline of Geography will be deeply affected by this, given that Tish is a leader in mentoring undergraduates to pursue PhDs. The newest, brightest thinkers in the discipline are part of an academic lineage that Tish created as an advisor to Dartmouth undergraduates. The learning environment Tish provides for students is emblematic of the best possible legacy: one of rigorous discipline and care. She is the model of a teacher-scholar and our campus will be worse off without her.Jane Henderson, Mellon Faculty Fellow of Geography, Research Associate and Lecturer of Geography, Dartmouth College
I met Dr. Lopez while in a visiting position at Dartmouth in 2014-15. I instantly came to know Tish as one of the hardest working and most intellectually rigorous faculty members I had met. She cared so very deeply about her students, and especially students from marginalized communities, who otherwise had a difficult time finding faculty support. In addition, I learned so much from her about research methods, writing, archives, and mentoring. Although I am no longer at Dartmouth, I am still learning from Tish through her research and publications. Her most recent book, Vulnerable Witness, has been instrumental in considering the trauma that researchers may face. I frequently recommend it to my students and colleagues working on difficult topics, who may spend days in archives reading about terrible atrocities. In her research and practices, Dr. Lopez continues to transform not only the field of geography, but also academia more broadly. It makes me incredibly sad to hear that she has been denied tenure at Dartmouth. This is the second time I have had to write a statement like this after Dartmouth denied tenure to a woman of color – one who, like Tish, gave so much of herself over to the institution and its students. It is sickening the way faculty of color are instrumentalized in order to boast about faculty diversity, but then are not supported, tenured, or promoted. It is such a terrible loss for the Geography Department and for her students. I know that students and faculty learned so much from her in her time there.Tracey Rutler, Associate Professor, Penn State University
When I think of what Professor Lopez has been able to achieve, and that she has still been denied tenure, it makes me feel incredibly discouraged about my own tenure process some years down the line. I wish the system for evaluating tenure could account for more about life at the institution than it does. I wish the process had shown Tish how much we, her community, values her and her work.Marcela Di Blasi, Assistant Professor, Dartmouth College
The denial of this tenure comes as a complete surprise. Professor Lopez is well-known as a trendsetter in feminist, health, and cultural geography and as one of the most tireless mentors of first-generation undergraduates students in the discipline.Arun Saldanha, Professor, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
The decision to deny Tish Lopez tenure is surprising and disappointing. She boasts an impressive publication record, with strong metrics. Her groundbreaking scholarship has made and continues to make significant contributions to her discipline, while showing broader interdisciplinary impact. For instance, her co-edited volume “Economies of Death” informs my own current religion research on how the logic of debt and the institutions of indebtedness shape modern life in destructive ways. Furthermore, Professor Lopez’s reputation as a pedagogue precedes her. She is known for being a committed, engaged, dynamic, and compassionate scholar-teacher, drawing strong enrollments and enthusiastic student response. Such commitment extends beyond the classroom in her accessibility, receptivity, and support for students and their initiatives. Her service to the college and guild, including conference panels organized, are also evident. Professor Lopez is a wonderful and supportive colleague and a credit to her department and field. Her trajectory demonstrates an ongoing commitment to productivity and originality, and projects a lifetime of fruitful and impactful scholarship that deserves to be supported and nurtured.Devin Singh, Associate Professor, Dartmouth College
I strongly support Professor Lopez, an exceptional leader in the field of geography and a dedicated mentor. It is disheartening to learn that she was denied tenure at Dartmouth College. Her expertise and commitment have made a significant impact on her students and the academic community. Professor Lopez’s contributions deserve recognition, and I firmly believe that she possesses the qualities necessary for tenure. I urge Dartmouth College to reconsider its decision and acknowledge Professor Lopez’s invaluable contributions to the field.P.M., Dartmouth alumnus and Assistant Professor at another institution
I am writing this statement in strong support of Dr. Patricia Lopez. I have known Dr. Lopez for 12 years, have had the honor of collaborating with her through academic workshops and conference sessions and am familiar with the breadth of her publications in the areas of health and feminist geographies. I am saddened and outraged to learn that Dr. Lopez has been denied tenure by Dartmouth College after 9 years of service as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Assistant Professor. The injustice of this decision is all the more astounding given that Dr. Lopez is the only woman of color faculty member in the Department of Geography, and given that less than 10% of Dartmouth’s faculty are non-white while 50% of the student body identify as non-white.
I have long admired Dr. Lopez for her research and teaching excellence. As a researcher, she has risen to become an internationally-recognized researcher in health and feminist geographies. She has a strong publication record that includes 2 edited collections and several research-length articles in prestigious high-ranking journals in the field of Geography including, Environment & Planning A, Gender, Place, & Culture and Antipode. She has been involved in organizing countless sessions at major international conferences for more than a decade now, such as the AAG, and has become a key and influential figure in Geography. Her leadership in the field is also made evident through the service she has contributed through her roles on editorial boards and conference planning committees. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as academic research was impacted, Dr. Lopez pivoted to examine care labors during the pandemic, exhibiting not only her adaptability as a researcher but her commitment to engage with timely topics that have long-lasting effects on marginalized communities.
Dr. Lopez is also an innovative educator who is known in the field as being a dedicated and caring teacher. As stated in the Latinx Geographies Specialty Group letter and the numerous statements of support, she has been central in training the next generation of Geography scholars, many whom have pursued graduate degrees at prestigious Geography departments. She spends tremendous time mentoring students, through long office hour visits, generous and detailed feedback on students’ assignments and curriculum planning. At Dartmouth, she has taught lower-level introductory service courses in addition to specialized seminars such as the one she taught on #BlackLivesMatter. When we were graduate students at the University of Washington, Dr. Lopez was known as a brilliant and impactful teacher that undergraduate students admired. I have no doubt that she has continued to assume this role at Dartmouth as is made evident through the flood of support exhibited by her past and current students through this petition and website.
Dr. Lopez’s denial of tenure by Dartmouth College is yet another indication that Geography and the academy have tremendous work to do to value the breadth of labor that women of color are engaged in to create dynamic and rigorous scholarship and learning environments. Dartmouth Geography, and the discipline at large, will suffer a tremendous loss if Dr. Lopez does not remain a contributing member of our scholarly community. Most of all, undergraduate and graduate students, and specifically students of color, suffer from this decision which will have detrimental impacts rippling out throughout the institution, the discipline of Geography and society at-large.Michelle Daigle, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
I got to know Dr. Lopez during a workshop at Dartmouth in 2019. I was impressed by her commitment to teaching, care and presence as a person, and intellectual knowledge in the field of geography and social science. As a postdoctoral scholar now in the Geography Department, I am continually impressed by her popularity as an educator of students not only in Geography but also throughout Dartmouth. There is growing documentation by BIPOC scholars about the often invisible and extra labor they must generate in academic spaces. I sincerely hope that Dartmouth reconsiders this decision and is able to grant tenure to such a valued professor in the community.S.K.
There are not enough words to sufficiently describe how much Professor Lopez and her work mean to me. I took my senior seminar in Geography with her, and it was one of the most meaningful, thought-provoking experiences I have ever had: I am sure any other student who has taken a course with Professor Lopez would say the same. What she brings to the table is so incredibly important, both as a scholar and a human being. Together we connected dots between society and ourselves, and grew to understand the networks of power that impact us all. I was introduced to fundamental critical scholarship that I was shocked hadn’t been covered, or even mentioned, in many of the classes I have taken here. When she teaches, I feel like I am breathing fresh air and seeing the world with a new set of eyes. Not to mention, she cares so deeply about each and every one of her students. She allows us to take space for ourselves, and she consistently strives to create a classroom environment that is safe and welcoming. And though her impact of an educator extends well beyond the confines of any institution, it is such a loss not only for the college, but for students now and those to come. Professor Lopez fundamentally shaped my Dartmouth experience for the better, especially as a person of colour. Visibility is so important, and to share space with an accomplished, amazing, STRONG woman of colour: I felt seen as a POC student, and I felt included. I know I am not the only one whose heart hurts at the idea of fellow students not having the privilege to take a course with her.Isabella Villaflor, Dartmouth Student
While I graduated in 1997, so I was never at Dartmouth while Professor Lopez was teaching, I nonetheless see her denial of tenure as another data point in Dartmouth’s shameful history of retaining faculty of color through the tenure process.
It brings to mind the denial of tenure to Professor Aimee Bahng, whom Dartmouth lost to Pomona College when it made the short-sighted decision it did. Not to mention the denials of tenure to after tenure denials to Derrick White, Sharlene Mollett and numerous other faculty of color.Mayank Keshaviah, Dartmouth alumnas
Professor Lopez’s teaching, mentoring, advising, and scholarship has had a far-ranging impacts on the Dartmouth community and the discipline of geography. It greatly saddens me and is indeed heartbreaking that Dartmouth will no longer have her incredible abilities to inspire students individually and collectively, and will also be without her tireless commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion for students of color in particular and indeed for everyone within the Dartmouth community.Christopher Sneddon
Dr. Lopez and I have been close friends, colleagues, and collaborators for the better part of 15 years. I have seen firsthand through our close collaboration in research and writing her care and intellectual brilliance in her scholarship. And I have been inspired and awed by her pedagogical practice, commitments, and mentorship approaches.
As a researcher, Dr. Lopez approaches questions with a forensic level of investigation and detail, poring over archives, reading theorists once and then again and again and again, relentlessly seeking greater understanding, truth, and the (often most) important details that no one else would notice or take the time to uncover and consider. She is one of the most careful (and I mean care-ful) researchers and thinkers I know. Her research is meticulous, never rushed, never lazy in the conclusions she makes — she checks and double-checks and triple-checks the claims she makes, committed as she is to avoiding the circulation of unsubstantiated knowledge and sloppy scholarship. For this reason, Dr. Lopez’s scholarship takes time. The care with which she researches, the almost painful precision with which she writes is not a process that can be rushed or streamlined in favor of the external pressures of an arbitrary (and profoundly opaque) tenure process or misplaced value of quantity of publications over quality. She is a scholar in the truest sense of the word, driven by both an insatiable intellectual curiosity and a deep commitment to uncovering and transforming injustice in equal measure.
I have also seen the deeply ethical way she inhabits her position as a teacher, taking extremely seriously her responsibility for educating and inspiring a new generation of thinkers and doers. It’s not hyperbole to say that Dr. Lopez is one of the best university professor I’ve ever encountered. Her creativity in pedagogy has inspired me and so many other scholars and teachers who have learned what it means to be an innovative and care ethical teacher from Dr. Lopez and who have as a result benefited by being stronger and more innovative teachers ourselves. In effect, Dr. Lopez has amplified her impact far beyond just the students who cross her path. As reflected in the letters of support and statements to Dartmouth from her past and current students — which is but a fraction of the students and faculty whose lives she changed — Dr. Lopez is an unusually gifted mentor and teacher with a stunning capacity to inspire and educate.
Dr. Lopez is a generous, powerful, and critical thinking scholar and teacher whose gifts have been shared selflessly with Dartmouth students and faculty and with the broader discipline of Geography.Kathryn Gillespie
As a former Postdoctoral Fellow at Dartmouth College, I was witness to both the powerful work of Dr. Tish Lopez and the deeply troubling history of undervaluing women of color faculty at Dartmouth. As one of the few, minoritized women of color faculty on campus, Dr. Lopez’s work strives to build what Dartmouth rhetorically professes: a critical, socially transformative education and a student-facing, inclusive faculty body.
I first learned of Dr. Lopez’s indelible impact on campus not through encounter with her directly but rather through the material reflections of her labor on students. I met students who described their transformative experiences in her classrooms. I have been teaching long enough to know that this kind of influential imprint on the intellectual growth and academic enthusiasm of our students is rare. I listened as students memorably quoted what they learned from her. One student described the content of what they learned in her class in relationship to the ethics of her pedagogical praxis—in other words, they made analytical connections between knowledge production and dissemination. Having later heard Dr. Lopez discuss pedagogy in faculty workshop spaces, I know that what this student discovered was an object of Dr. Lopez’s careful pedagogical design.
By the time I met and worked with Dr. Lopez as junior faculty in the inaugural cohort of the Mellon Faculty of Color Working Group’s Mentorship Program, my regular engagements with her in our workshops confirmed what students shared with me. I learned about Dr. Lopez’s work as a scholar and teacher—her interdisciplinary approaches to imperial geographies, race, and health as well as how she engages care ethics as both analytical and pedagogical praxes. As a fellow junior scholar of race and imperialism and as a fellow teacher, I learned from Dr. Lopez in these sessions and still recall the contributions she made. Not incidentally, this program was funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation in order to invest in faculty of color against the historical and statistical disparities we face in academia, which have been broadly evidenced, studied, and documented. Meeting Dr. Lopez in this space provided me with a model and a community at Dartmouth working against these disparities.
I worked at Dartmouth while faculty, staff, and student lives were shaped by the COVID pandemic and the recent movements for racial justice sweeping the country. From that moment on, faculty of color on campus—many of us untenured or contingent—advised and supported more students than ever before. Students desperately sought out faculty of color with expertise in studies of race as well as race and health—particularly Dr. Lopez—to guide their fraught intellectual and civic relationships with a deeply unequal country. What is the purpose of our work as educators and scholars if we cannot provide our students the tools they need to engage with this world, in the here and now? Yet, there are few tenured or tenure-line faculty of color, and particularly women of color faculty, at Dartmouth who specialize in studies of race, racialized public health, or racialized politics to engage students and urgent nationwide conversations. Without Dr. Lopez, there would be even fewer.
Dr. Lopez’s interdisciplinary, urgent scholarship and her inspirational, care-centric pedagogies are exemplars for the academy. This is Dartmouth’s profound loss.Najwa Mayer, Society of Fellows, Boston University
The denial of Professor Lopez’s tenure is a shattering loss for the Dartmouth community. It also has a cruel sense of irony: much of Lopez’s scholarship centers on care labor, which is almost by definition undervalued and unrecognized. In fact, as I understand it, news of this decision came to Professor Lopez while she was actively engaged in care labor leading the department’s study abroad program. Dartmouth has an established pattern of denying tenure to brilliant scholars of color. These scholars disproportionately mentor minoritized student populations—a form of care labor that frequently “counts” for less in tenure and promotion decisions but without which the College could not thrive. Dartmouth is not only losing a brilliant, field-expanding scholar; it is losing one of the greatest champions of its most vulnerable students.Whitney Barlow Robles, Lecturer, Dartmouth College
Professor Lopez brings a deep ethical engagement and intellectual rigor to everything she does. Tish centers care and justice in her teaching, mentorship, collegiality, and scholarship. I have learned an enormous amount from her and I am lucky to have her as a colleague.Erin Collins, Assistant Professor, Dartmouth College
I urge Dartmouth to take another look at this case, and to look more broadly at its tenure practices. Prof. Lopez is one in a line of notable cases of tenure denial recently, particularly of people of color and of women. At a time when systems of patriarchy and racial oppression are under a lens of interrogation, and at a time of precarity in academia (both for those who labor in academic institutions and for the academy as a whole), Dartmouth should be striving to include and invest in strong scholars who have succeeded despite it all. Please, have the flexibility and grace to reconsider this decision.Amanda Fulmer, Faculty, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Patricia Lopez (Tish) has given Dartmouth a lesson in the meaning of life-saving intellectual and community work. Her rigorous academic work, skin-in-the-game pedagogy, and generosity of spirit transform students’ lives; the comments on this chain bear witness to her stunning ripple effects. When I ask students about their brilliant projects or how they survive here, nine times out of ten I get this answer: Professor Lopez. I had the good fortune to read a letter of recommendation that Tish wrote for a student for an academic leadership award. The letter was unprecedented in my twenty-five years as a professor: Tish’s energetic engagement with the student’s ideas was matched by her deep knowledge of their past academic work, paid employment, life trajectory, and leadership of multiple important campus initiatives against white supremacy. Tish selflessly puts her brilliant intellect and tenacious heart at the service of her students and colleagues. She quietly leads by example, challenging other faculty to be more intellectually rigorous but also more joyous and generous teachers and scholars. We should all judge ourselves by the high standards Professor Lopez lives up to everyday.Pamela Voekel, Associate Professor, Dartmouth College
There is no colleague at Dartmouth I appreciate or respect more than Professor Lopez. As student after student has testified over the years, this is the professor who ignites their scholarly interest and helps them discover what they are capable of in the classroom and out–all while treating them with the basic humanity that is too often in painfully short supply. Her intellectual generosity and her selfless commitment to helping students discover their own strengths are, I hear over and over, transformative, life-sustaining, the critical experience of their college lives. Professors like Tish Lopez who use their scholarly expertise as the basis for profoundly ethical relations with others are setting the standard that we should be judged by.Bethany Moreton, Professor, Dartmouth College
My colleague Patricia (tish) Lopez’s mentorship is a gift not only to minoritized students but faculty too. I arrived at Dartmouth fresh out of graduate school and could not yet fathom the inhospitable working conditions that women of color face. Since my first week on campus, Tish has generously shared strategies for teaching, mentoring, advising, and navigating the tenure-track. She has been a lifeline in the hardest of situations. Tish’s informal mentorship is vital to the retention of women of color, which makes her tenure denial all the more shameful. Her commitment to care and feminist praxis models a transformative pedagogy that pushes all faculty to be more imaginative, creative, and effective teachers. Any university is lucky to have her brilliance and collegiality.Mingwei Huang, Assistant Professor, Dartmouth College
Professor Lopez is the kind of professor that students at Dartmouth need and too rarely get. I have advised numerous BIPOC students on campus who have considered applying to transfer to another institution because of Dartmouth’s pervasively and well-documented toxic environment. Summarily dismissing one of the few role models here, for both students and other academics alike, who theorizes, prioritizes, and enacts care is a slap in the face to those students and confirms their suspicions that their value to Dartmouth is primarily as PR fodder. It’s an embarrassing and disgraceful day for Dartmouth and a profound loss for its students.R.C., Dartmouth College Faculty
This is our loss.Sachi Schmidt-Hori, Associate Professor, Dartmouth College
Like many others, I feel so lucky to have met Professor Lopez and have nothing but respect and support for her work, care, and contributions.
The first class I ever attended at Dartmouth was taught by Professor Lopez, and this class alone inspired me to take two more classes with her and eventually become a Geography major. First, her work is brilliant — one only has to read about her many publications and accolades. But beyond being an excellent scholar, Prof. Lopez goes a step beyond and implements care ethics into her actual teaching praxis.
In addition to formally (and informally) mentoring many undergraduates, Prof. Lopez cares about every student she teaches and is extremely generous with her time. Since graduating, she’s graciously written me two letters of recommendation, after having lengthy calls to ensure she can write the best possible letter. You can just imagine how many hours this adds to up to be, as she’s mentored many students and receives numerous letter requests from students and alumni each year.
Professor Lopez creates worlds of care at Dartmouth that would not exist otherwise. She treats students as the 360-degree individuals that they are and empowers them to ask questions and become more fully themselves. Thanks to Professor Lopez, I felt supported during some of my toughest times — which is something I cannot thank her enough for. As a student I was always able to bring questions to her office hours and have rich discussions about ideas, scholarly work, and critical theory, and for that I am deeply appreciative. Professor Lopez’s brilliant teaching informs my work to this day, four years since graduating, and I am grateful to be in touch with her. She prioritizes relationship building, and since the professor-student relationship is something Dartmouth touts, it is astonishing they denied tenure to one of their best care-relationship practitioners. As shown by these numerous statements, Prof. Lopez has created ripples of lasting impact and will be sorely missed.
Professor Lopez is a one-of-a-kind geographer, practitioner, teacher, mentor, and community member.Megan Larkin, Dartmouth alumnas
Professor Lopez is an exceptional educator and exactly the kind of professor higher education needs right now as it grapples with the ongoing impacts of racism, sexism, gender discrimination, and ableism. This comes through in her scholarship and thinking, her service to the university, discipline of geography, and higher education more broadly, and her teaching and mentoring. She has made Dartmouth a better place and this tenure denial is a tremendous loss for the institution.Abigail Neely, Associate Professor, Dartmouth College
Dr. Lopez is an outstanding scholar whose work on care and health are widely recognized in Geography. She connects political ecology and health and feminist geographies in novel and unique ways to understand grief, research practice, and health disparities. She is well-published in high impact journals including Social Science and Medicine, Environment and Planning A, and Gender, Place and Culture. Most importantly, Dr. Lopez is an outstanding teacher and mentor who puts her scholarly inquiry to practice in the classroom, research, and mentoring relationships. She is a dedicated and gifted teacher, who sets a high bar for student research and engagement while providing consistent support and feedback. Denying Dr. Lopez tenure is a huge loss to the Dartmouth community, and students in particular.Heidi Hausermann, Associate Professor, Colorado State University
I was disappointed, to hear that Prof. Tish Lopez was denied tenure at Dartmouth, but unfortunately I was not surprised.
My lack of surprise has nothing to do with my assessment of Tish’s work–it is excellent. Rather, the denial of tenure fits a pattern at Dartmouth, where field leading BIPOC scholars are recruited and hired, and then shown the door five or six years down the line. This suggest deep problems at Dartmouth in how the department and the university support and value the work of BIPOC scholars. I could rehearse here Dr. Lopez’s accomplishments, her value to the discipline, her generosity as a colleague, her excellent teaching and her stellar mentorship. But that shifts the discussion to her merit, rather than to the ways in which Dartmouth as an institution has failed: failed Dr. Lopez, failed its students, and continues to fail to build a diverse academic community.Léonie Newhouse, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Durham University
Although I was never lucky enough to participate in one of Professor Lopez’s courses during my time at Dartmouth, I was aware of who she is. Her reputation among students speaks for itself, as she is known for being a supportive and knowledgeable professor, dedicated equally to her students and her craft. Of my friends that had her as their professor, none of them had a bad thing to say, and most had many positive experiences to share. This is not common; even the best professors cannot be the right professor for each student. Yet Professor Lopez seems to achieve just that. Further, Dartmouth as an institution is better for having a teacher and researcher of Professor Lopez’s caliber and compassion on campus. To lose her due to an ill-informed decision to deny Professor Lopez tenure would be a sorry mistake that will leave students, the school and its reputation, and her fellow professor’s worse off. Trust, quality of teaching and research, interest in available courses, and more will be eroded. Professor Lopez brings an invaluable perspective to Dartmouth that must not be lost.M.S.L., Dartmouth alumnas
Prof Lopez is an exceptionally thoughtful researcher and generous educator. Her department and college have benefited significantly from her hard work, and her contributions are so important especially within a predominantly white department.M.M.
I assign Professor Lopez’s work in my classes, just as her scholarship informs my own thinking and writing. I support Professor Lopez and her students.Emily Billo, Associate Professor, Goucher College
I am saddened and angered by the decision of Dartmouth College to deny tenure to Dr. Patricia Lopez. As a former postdoctoral fellow in the Dartmouth College Department of Geography (2018-2019), I have personally witnessed and benefited from Dr. Patricia Lopez’s mentorship and intellectual guidance. Dr. Lopez is a brilliant scholar, an inspiring teacher, and has contributed immensely to making the Dartmouth College Department of Geography such an intellectually stimulating, caring, and collegial place. The quality of her scholarship exceeds any imaginable standard for tenure, and is timely, careful, and theoretically rich. Her important work in economic geography, more-than-human geographies, geographies of health, and development is paralleled by her meticulous, insightful, connective, and inspirational engagement with others’ work, both colleagues and students alike. Her mentorship has made a difference in the career trajectories, well-being, and intellectual development of countless students at Dartmouth. Her application of an ethics of care in her scholarship, mentoring and pedagogy have enriched the college and the discipline of geography alike. Dartmouth diminishes itself by devaluing her tremendous work.Brian S. Williams, Assistant Professor, Mississippi State University
Professor Lopez has given me invaluable advice and suggestions on law review articles I was writing.Richard Delgado, Distinguished Professor of Law, Seattle University
I write as a former colleague of Professor Lopez, someone who has had the pleasure of intellectual discussions with her but also of learning from her example as a scholar and a teacher. Professor Lopez, or Tish, and I would talk about teaching, especially about the challenges of introducing undergraduate students to difficult critical theory, and I was always amazed by how much effort she put into reaching students where they were, to bringing them into the conversation, to getting them excited about critical approaches to geography. Although I’m not a geographer, my research does overlap with Tish’s in that I work on biopolitics (or the politics of bodies, biology, and health/healthcare) and draw on human/political geography in my scholarship. I learned so much from conversations with her about the differential or uneven conditions of peoples or embodied subjects when it comes to care, illness, and vulnerability. I mostly work on US/North American literature, but Tish always challenged me to think about other places, from the Caribbean to the Middle East, expanding my frame of reference. I’ll add that one of the reasons learned so much from Tish was because she was at so many events, talks, etc. with her notebook in hand, scribbling down every interesting idea, ready to talk about it with anyone nearby. She’s one of those scholars that brings other scholars alive.Christian P. Haines, Associate Professor, Department of English, Penn State University
I’m shocked and dismayed to learn of the negative decision on Dr. Lopez’s tenure. I have known, and been impressed by, her work for a decade. Her research is high quality, engaged, and published in the most prestigious journals in her field (research does not get published in journals like Environment & Planning A, Gender, Place, & Culture, Antipode, or Social Science & Medicine unless it is excellent).
The high regard in which she is held by me and her colleagues in the field is highlighted by the invitation the editors of EPC: Politics & Space extended to her in 2017 to join the journal’s editorial board. As Managing Editor of the journal, I can assure you that Dr. Lopez is highly though of in this role. It speaks to her value in the discipline.
Moreover, it is clear that Dr. Lopez is a dedicated, caring, and effective teacher. The statements made in support of her by students attest to this.
My sense, from seeing job ads, calls for post-doc applications, etc. from Dartmouth over the years, is that the institution has a stated goal of diversifying, including by hiring BIPOC scholars. Yet, the point is never just to hire BIPOC scholars, the point is to retain them. Recruitment & Retention. Denying a dedicated, well-published BIPOC scholar tenure suggests there has been a failure on the part of the institution to nurture and retain valued faculty by supporting them and by evaluating them in terms of a full accounting of their contributions to their field that does not fall back on the narrowest metrics that have conditioned and constrained many academic institutions throughout history.
Dr. Lopez will no doubt be devastated by the institution’s decision at the moment. But, in the long run, this is also Dartmouth’s loss.Eugene McCann, Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University
Prof. Lopez changes lives – and I’m not being hyperbolic. Student after student, searching for belonging, support, and a challenge in an academia marked by white violence and white mediocrity, have found Lopez’ courses and been transformed. I am one of those students. When I first arrived on campus in fall of 2017, numerous upper class students who I looked up to and who were leaders on campus promptly directed me towards Lopez and the geography department as a beacon of hope for my time at Dartmouth. They were more correct than they may have realized. Prof. Lopez saw so much in me, more than I would ever be able to see in myself due to the layers of dissonance that Dartmouth induces, and pushed me to learn more, be more critical, and to believe in my ability to produce work that I’m proud of and that can make change in the world. My entire social and career trajectory have been deeply shaped by ideas first introduced to me in Lopez class. I was lucky enough to have her as my primary thesis advisor, and our weekly talks quite literally got me through the pandemic when I thought for sure that finishing my degree, let alone my thesis, were not worth it while the world around seemed to fall apart. She helped me secure a research job to stay afloat due to lost work, she stewarded me as my ideas shaped into a phenomenal thesis project, and she saw me as a human first – something that every student of hers has remarked and deeply appreciates. This is the kind of professor Dartmouth needs – someone who cares for students as people rather than as machines; someone who pushes us to remain critical in a world marred with misinformation and propaganda; someone who is unafraid to stand by students and all marginalized people when it really matters. Shame on Dartmouth, and know that the geography department and the college as a whole are of lesser value without Professor Lopez. This decision reflects what we’ve all known about the deeply colonial white supremacy that still runs rampant at prestigious institutions of higher ed, and it is eternally disappointing that Dartmouth has again chosen arbitrary measures over the actual value Prof. Lopez offered to students and the university community.Jasmine Butler, Dartmouth alumnas
I have never met a professor as adored by their students as Dr. Patricia Lopez. Dr. Lopez is an incredible scholar, who has significantly pushed conversations in health geography and the discipline more broadly around questions of social difference and the politics of care. Her pedagogy is beyond impressive, and her mentorship incomparable. She has inspired and nurtured numerous first generation students of color who are undertaking cutting edge research projects and transforming the discipline of geography. I deeply respect and admire Dr. Lopez as she truly embodies brilliance, generosity, compassion and kindness. I am outraged and saddened by this unjust and cruel decision by the administration.Madelaine Cahuas, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota
Dr. López is a brilliant researcher who also cares deeply about her students. This is a rare combination. If you truly want Dartmouth to change, hit them in their wallet. Start a fund to donate money, even symbolic amounts, to a HBCU (Historically Black College or University) or HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution) with a Geography program that values POC. Call it the Tish Lopez Dartmouth Faculty Diversity fund. That will get change rolling faster than any petition, and it will help colleges that could truly use your donations!Anonymous, Dartmouth Faculty
I had the privilege to learn from Professor Lopez in several courses and to be mentored by her as my main advisor for my honors thesis in Geography. I can say without a doubt that she was my favorite professor within the department and at Dartmouth. She prompted me to think critically beyond assigned readings and coursework and helped me to distill my thoughts and research into a successful thesis focused on maternal and child healthcare technology. She is also an incredibly kind and empathetic person, and I have enjoyed staying in contact with her since graduating in 2017. She graciously wrote me a recommendation for a masters in nursing program at the University of Pennsylvania, in which I am now enrolled.
Professor Lopez is also an incredibly accomplished researcher and scholar, and her work on various topics in health geography through lenses of feminism and care ethics are important and impactful within and outside the field of Geography.
The Dartmouth administration has a history of disproportionately denying tenure to BIPOC women, which perpetuates institutional and structural racism at the College by further creating a lack of representation among faculty and decreasing mentorship opportunities for BIPOC students. The denial of her tenure is a blatant mistake on the part of the Dartmouth administration. I strongly stand in support of overturning this wrong decision to grant Professor Lopez her deserved tenure.Haley Reicher, Dartmouth alumnas
Professor Lopez was my first and last professor at Dartmouth. As a first generation college student, Latina, and immigrant, it was truly an honor to come across such a magnificent and caring professor, that Professor Lopez is. She was my favorite professor at Dartmouth and made me fall in love with Geography, which I ended up majoring in. Throughout the course of my undergrad, she was a constant support. She provided me with guidance to thrive at a predominantly white, affluent, and privileged institution. The words she shared with me in an office hours session completely changed how I viewed myself as a minority student at Dartmouth and quite frankly, change my approach to everything I do. My Dartmouth experience would not have been as great as it was, if it was not for her. She made me feel like I belonged at Dartmouth and I will forever cherish and remember that.Anonymous, Dartmouth alumnas
Advice from Prof. Lopez fundamentally changed the trajectory of my educational and professional careers. Prof Lopez’s voice is one that is NEEDED among Dartmouth faculty.Alexandra K. Rego, Dartmouth Student
I had the honor of taking multiple classes with Professor Lopez. She changed my Dartmouth experience and made me fall in love with geography. I looked forward to class every single time and could not have asked for a better professor. She took the time to get to know her students and was extremely passionate about the work we did. I have always recommended Professor Lopez’s courses to friends and they have said nothing but excellent things. I cannot imagine the Geography Department without Professor Lopez and am extremely disappointed at Dartmouth’s decision to deny her tenure. Once again, Dartmouth has failed a woman of color.G.M., Dartmouth alumnas
Dr. Lopez’s work, particularly that on care, has be foundational to our field. My students and I draw on it very often in our own teaching and research. I am appalled at the tenure denial decision that Dartmouth has taken.Roberta Hawkins, Associate Professor, University of Guelph
Professor Lopez – Tish – changed my life. She is an unbelievably kind and generous mentor, as well as an extremely effective teacher. Her kindness, honesty, wisdom, and support, not to mention her intelligence and generosity, carried me through several terms at Dartmouth and continue to impact me to this day. I truly wish every student could have someone like Professor Lopez on their side to support them academically and emotionally through their time at Dartmouth.Rachel Florman, Dartmouth alumnas
As an instructor, Tish shares genuine enthusiasm for the material she teaches. She is exceptional at engaging with students and always made lectures feel interactive and like a meaningful exchange of ideas. She led us to understand how the things we learned in class affected the world at large; the lessons she taught stayed with me through my off-term internships, leading me to my first job out of college. Tish was also a rock for me throughout my my thesis-writing process. She and I met weekly to discuss the progress I’d made and any relevant readings or context she thought I could use, even though she was not my advisor. Her feedback and edits were invaluable and her advice shaped the trajectory of my work. Even now, I am sure to read everything Tish publishes — my friends and I shared an accessible link to one of her recent articles on care ethics — the work she’s doing transcends the academy and remains relevant in my daily life.
Dartmouth made an unbelievable mistake in denying tenure to Professor Lopez. Tish embodies what Dartmouth wishes it could be: a community of “scholars who teach” with impressive research, classes, and impact on undergraduates. I am truly sorry for the Geography students who won’t get to take her classes or receive her mentorship in the future.
Professor Lopez is by far one of the best professors I’ve had at Dartmouth. I took Global Poverty and Care with her during my Freshman spring, which was an incredibly difficult emotional time for the entire student body given the passings of four classmates that year. It was a really hard time for me specifically because I was very stressed and overwhelmed about helping plan the vigil to honor one of my friends who was lost. Professor Lopez was always so understanding during this time, never demanding I “prove” to her that I wasn’t doing well. She just supported me. During a time when Dartmouth has demonstrated it clearly has a mental health crisis, it should support professors who support mental health, as they often have direct impact on student mental health. Professor Lopez is one of those professors. She represents everything Dartmouth should try to be. It would be a mistake to not have her continue to teach here.C.B., Dartmouth Student
I regret not having taken a course with Dr. Lopez, because I believe her passion and compassion would have made me a better person and her wisdom and knowledge a better learner. Dartmouth College desperately needs more faculty of color. As a Southeast Asian FGLI student, I have gone so long without meeting anyone at this school in a faculty position who I could see myself in, who I could relate to until this year. Dartmouth is not a safe, supportive space for students of color, low-income, FGLI students, and any other student coming from a marginalized community. We need professors who students feel supported by, who puts care and thought into how they teach their classes/what they teach/their research. Even though I have never taken a class with her, I felt the profound impact of Professor Lopez’s presence on campus. Dartmouth became safer, more supportive, and more enriching with her here. And it is a disgrace that she was denied tenure.Julia Tran, Dartmouth Student
Professor Lopez has made significant contributions to the field of geography, and is well-loved as a mentor and teacher. As a fellow woman of color navigating academia, I am disheartened and outraged that someone who has done so much for her institution and community should be snubbed of job security. Professor Lopez deserves better.Chase Puentes, University of Washington student
Professor Lopez was a beacon of academic rigor and compassionate pedagogy in my time on campus. Her ability to challenge and support students, her boundless scholarly knowledge, and her commitment to the goodness of the human spirit are unmatched. When I reflect on my time at Dartmouth, she is exactly the type of Professor I would hope other students have the opportunity to learn from.Max Brautigam, Dartmouth alumnas
I have heard such amazing and kind words in regards to Dr. Lopez and her teaching in the Geography department. She deserves tenure and deserves to pave the way for bipoc excellence and professorship at Dartmouth.A.L., Dartmouth Student
Professor Lopez is the best professor I’ve ever had. I’ve never encountered a teacher who recognizes each student’s personhood so fully. Her teaching embodies care. It’s horrifying to see Dartmouth’s tenure committees consistently neglect the teachers who’ve impacted students the most. Tish Lopez is an expert in her field, conducts important research, approaches teaching with care and inclusivity, and is a mentor for many.Annika Bowman, Dartmouth alumnas
Professor Lopez’s class was not only one of the most educational classes I have take here, but one of the most life changing experiences I have had at Dartmouth. Her kindness and support of students is unparalleled by any professor I have had over the past 4 years. I had never had a professor convince me that my work was truly valuable, which gave me much more confidence in my academic abilities after. Additionally though, she fully shifted how I view the world. The fact that Dartmouth might miss out on having this phenomenal professor on campus is such a loss for future generations of students. She stands for everything that Dartmouth wants to claim to believe in, and the denial of her tenure proves that Dartmouth does not care about their students, about making people ask independent questions of the world, about encouraging students to perform service work in their community, etc.Sabrina Eager, Dartmouth Student
When I was an undergraduate at the University of Washington ten years ago, Dr. Lopez allowed me to present a paper at the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting alongside graduate students and faculty at a session she was co-organizing. This experience was a pivotal moment for me feeling like I could actually do geography and gaining the confidence to eventually apply for – and being accepted into – a top graduate program in the field. Her scholarship in feminist and health geography is cutting-edge and badly needed in geography. Academia also needs more of the kinds of students and colleagues she helps bring and keep here, both through her scholarship and teaching as well as the care work she does and example she sets for how to treat other people well in a place that rarely rewards this. Denying her tenure is outrageous and harms the field of geography well beyond the Dartmouth campus.Mollie Holmberg, Graduate Student, University of British Columbia
Professor Lopez had a profound impact on me during my time at college. Her courses forever changed the way I viewed the world. Each class I took with her (I took 3 and did an independent study with her) provided a more nuanced and truthful history that all of my government courses lacked. She is the only professor who truly took the time to mentor me. She is the professor that I urged every student of color to take a course with. She is the professor who makes sure her students have a space in class to be heard and seen. Professor Lopez and her courses are the only positive memories I have of my academic experience at Dartmouth. I was a frequent office hour attendee in ALL of my courses at Dartmouth but Professor Lopez is the only professor who took the time to get to know well enough to write me a letter of recommendation for my graduate program two years after I graduated. Despite the 7:1 student to faculty ratio Dartmouth loves to boast, I am confident that she is the only professor who actually knew my name. Dartmouth’s core values state that “ faculty are passionate about teaching our students.” As a Dartmouth student who pursued one of the most, if not the most, popular major I can whole heartedly say that is untrue for almost every faculty member I interacted with. Professor Lopez is the exception. She is the rare faculty member who is a scholar, mentor and teacher. It is a shame that Dartmouth would deny her the tenure status she deserves and I hope she finds a better institution who will realize her worth.Jessica Cantos, Dartmouth alumnus
Professor Lopez hugely improved the academic experience of numerous friends of mine while at Dartmouth, allowing them to pursue research they loved that then helped them succeed in their career after college. She was an enormous positive influence to many people I know and care about.Corinne Vietorisz, Dartmouth alumnus
I took three classes with Tish in my Dartmouth career – the most classes I ever took with a single professor at the college. I know that by any reasonable metric Tish is one of the most excellent educators at the college, with an unparalleled mastery of her subject matter and ability to forge critical and empathetic thinkers in her classes. Dartmouth knows that, too. They’ve simply chosen to ignore it.
While so much of Dartmouth was closed off to me for a myriad institutional reasons, Tish’s door was always open to me. At Dartmouth, she pushed me intellectually while always lifting up my strengths. And even after graduation, she has continued to be an incredible source of support: she wrote me my law school recommendation letters and served as a reference for countless job applications. She has repeatedly shown me that she is always in my corner, rooting for me to succeed.
The other statements on this website confirm what we’ve always known about Tish – that she was the same way with so many others. It’s incredibly difficult to imagine the Geography department without her presence and her generosity. I know if we hadn’t crossed paths at Dartmouth, my life today would look very different.
Dartmouth’s decision here confirms what so many of us know: Dartmouth so eagerly recruits students from marginalized communities, but once we are here it refuses to meaningfully invest in letting us thrive. It is because of this environment that so many alumni have taken the earliest opportunity to distance themselves from the college. These folks will see Dartmouth’s decision to deny Tish tenure and know that they were right.Svetlana “Aika” Riguera, Dartmouth alumnus
Professor Tish Lopez has gone above and beyond since arriving at Dartmouth College. She arrived as a postdoc while I was still at the College and immediately served as a committee member on different classmates’ senior theses. She has continued to serve as an amazing mentor for many students, especially students of color, guiding students both through the thesis process and the Ph.D. application process to pursue academic careers in Geography. Her own research makes significant contributions to feminist geographies, more-than-human geographies, as well as research praxis. I hope that Dartmouth will reconsider its decision as this will have large ripple effects for Dartmouth students, Dartmouth Geography, BIPOC faculty at Dartmouth, BIPOC geographers, future Geography Dartmouth postdocs, and the larger Geography community.M.G., Dartmouth alumnus
I have not had the pleasure of being one of Professor Lopez’ students, but one need not be Tish’s student to feel her impact on this campus. Everyone knows that Tish is a great professor, and it is my one regret to graduate from Dartmouth not having taken one of her classes.Irina Sandoval, Dartmouth Student
During my junior fall, two friends invited me to Tish’s “Global Poverty and Care” course as one of several student speakers to share our experiences being student workers on campus. Sitting in on this class, I saw Tish’s students be intellectually stimulated as they connected course topics and with the experiences of student employees at Dartmouth.
Furthermore, I sat with Tish on a panel for first-generation students my senior fall. In Tish I saw an ally to students from marginalized groups-which is rare in Dartmouth faculty.
Within various circles of BIPOC students and FGLI students it is well-known that Tish is an amazing professor that genuinely cares for her students and is a brilliant scholar in the field of geography. This is reflected in the fact that so many students want to take classes with Tish (including non-Geography majors such as myself), and in her record as a thesis advisor. By not granting Tish tenure, the College shows us that they do not value their faculty of color nor their labor. The College fails faculty of color and, in the end, this decision is a loss for Dartmouth. And although people like Phil Hanlon made this dumb decision, the people it affects is the STUDENTS. Specifically students from marginalized backgrounds. How can you recruit students of color to Dartmouth, but then not have the infrastructure to support us? Part of that entails giving tenure to faculty that deserve it, like Tish!!! Tish you are amazing!
I am still appalled and deeply disappointed by Dartmouth’s decision to deny tenure to Professor Tish Lopez. It feels like only yesterday when Professor Aimee Bahng was denied tenure to the outrage of many students of color. Professor Lopez is undoubtedly a well-respected scholar in the discipline of Geography, and this denial can only be interpreted as Dartmouth’s repeated failure to value faculty of color. To say the least, Professor Lopez made my academic career possible. During her first year at Dartmouth, she co-advised my undergraduate honors thesis and opened my eyes to incredibly meaningful and timely scholarship that I had never encountered before. It was with her encouragement and brilliant guidance that I was able to consider graduate school as an option and pursuing academia as a career. It is no secret that Dartmouth can be a confusing and oftentimes scary place for many students who embody the very diversity that Dartmouth claims is central to the institution’s values. Professor Lopez was one of the people who made things bearable amid the everyday violence at Dartmouth, a sentiment I know to ring true for many. I am concerned that Dartmouth has yet again failed its students by denying tenure to a faculty member who plays such a big part in the well-being of so many students who are marginalized in this institution. I am concerned for future students who will not have that kind of support. By denying tenure to Professor Lopez, Dartmouth has done an incredible disservice to Professor Lopez, who has made such a big impact in this institution, and I am deeply disheartened by this decision.Soohyung Hur, Dartmouth alumnus
I have worked with Dr. Lopez through the Feminist Geographies Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers and the Organizing Committee for the 2022 International Feminist Geography Conference. Dr. Lopez gives selflessly of her time, energy, and expertise to organize spaces for scholarly engagement, foster important conversations in the discipline, and support women and people of color in academia and specifically in Geography. She has demonstrated excellence in teaching, service, and scholarship. In denying her tenure and promotion, Dartmouth illustrates its continued embeddedness and investment in white supremacist and patriarchal structures.Dr. Nancy Hiemstra, Associate Professor, Stony Brook University
Tish Lopez’s work on campus both academic and in student life cannot be trivialized. Many of my friends have confided in me that Professor Lopez is the sole reason they survived Dartmouth, and were able to continue their studies. As a major in a different, but connected department I heard many echoes of praise for Professor Lopez as a beacon of ethical practices, inspirational teaching, and deep empathy for her students and colleagues.
i‚ve heard from multiple different professors of color who have gone through this process that it is complex convoluted and difficult to understand. For professors coming from families with professional and/or white backgrounds the process is much more intuitive and those privileged professors have a larger support system to lean on during the process. I would expect that white professors also have a larger community in Dartmouth in the wider academic community from which to pull on in times of need. I found that professors with left-leaning politics and commitment to student livelihoods through organizing and activism on campus are penalized by not being offered tenure. Dartmouth consistently make statements through their tenure confirmations/denials about who is welcome their college, and who is allowed to teach our students. Given the ongoing suicide epidemic at the college I would expect that the college, maintain support and look for professors with a depth of care for student life. This is not the case.Olivia Audsley, Dartmouth alumnus
Patricia (tish) J. Lopez is one of the kindest, understanding, and empathic individual I have had the pleasure in meeting and honored to have had her as an ally and friend for over 20 years. She understand the importance is always ready, willing and able to skill up to any task that is put in front of her. Tish is an invaluable asset and I urge your team to reconsider. Thank you.Shepard Griffin
No professor at Dartmouth has more profoundly impacted my personal trajectory than Tish–and I don’t just mean on an academic level, though her impact there was indeed significant: she did, after all, effectively convert me from someone who erroneously assumed geography was synonymous with cartography to a committed geog major probably about five minutes after I walked through the door of her classroom. But even more than mere academic pursuits, Tish encouraged us to face up to questions of ethics and interrelationality posed by our course readings in our own lives. In her pedagogy, there is no possibility of disconnect between theory and praxis; thus, her classroom is a space to both study and practice more ethical ways of being, with each other and amid our environment. This is the case above all because the care labor about which Tish teaches, she also models for her students, performing the uncompensated and oft unrecognized emotional labor, like so many other BIPOC women/non-binary professors, that knits together the networks on campus lucky enough to experience her presence.
Tish’s close attention and deep care for her students is overwhelmingly evident in the fact that, while I was completing my thesis with her, she was also advising another senior thesis student, informally advising yet another student, and already beginning to work with a fourth student for their thesis the following year—yet, I never felt slighted or neglected. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact—I never ceased to be amazed by Tish’s dedication. My thesis appeared to be on her mind almost as much as her own work, as evidenced by the amount of resources she’d send my way, or times she’d start off a conversation during our weekly check-ins with, “So, I was thinking about such-and-such part of your thesis while I was working in my garden last week…” Tish makes her students a priority, affirming a main finding of my own thesis research–attending to the people, the living, breathing beings in front of you, must always supersede the need to produce.
Finally, and perhaps even more impressively, Tish has continued to be a mentor beyond my time at Dartmouth. She has never once hesitated to write me recommendation letters, has sent many an email out of the blue with further academic references that, beneath the surface, all say, I’m thinking of you, and continues to offer unflagging personal support.
I know my story is not singular, and that is what makes Tish most exceptional: her extraordinary capacity to be a support system, academic and otherwise, for so many. Dartmouth is frankly undeserving, yet nevertheless so incredibly fortunate, to have been graced with her presence for all these years.R.K., Dartmouth alumnus
Professor Lopez is not only knowledgeable and an excellent scholar, but kind, compassionate, and supportive, traits that can be in short supply at Dartmouth. I never doubted that Professor Lopez would have my back and it is heartbreaking that she be denied tenure.Thomas Bosworth, Dartmouth alumnas
Professor Lopez is one of the few people that I truly felt cared for at Dartmouth. If Dartmouth wants to truly care about the mental health of its students like it claims to, and stop the epidemic of suicide among students, it should retain those who truly do support and uplift students. Tish is one of the reasons that I am still alive today.Anonymous
There are not enough words to capture and describe the brilliant, sweet, and amazing mentor and educator that I have the honor of calling my advisor! Professor Lopez has gone above and beyond to foster spaces of community rooted in care, trust, respect, and abundance. Within her courses, she engages in a pedagogy of care that shines through readings, activities, and projects that create a welcoming and generative learning environment especially for marginalized students like myself. Tish is an accomplished scholar whose range of insight always leaves me speechless. Her support and time has been instrumental in my graduate school application process as well as during my ongoing thesis-writing. Outside of the classroom, Tish is supportive of grassroots organizing on campus and uplifts student voices and perspectives whenever possible. In her everyday practices, Professor Lopez has built an infrastructure of care for students, inside and outside of the department. Geography is a better place because of Professor Lopez. I cannot imagine my junior and senior years at Dartmouth without Tish’s invaluable guidance and mentorship. She is the type of educator, scholar, and human being that I hope to become.Jimena Natalia Perez, Dartmouth Student
I would like to express my sincere and utmost appreciation for Professor Lopez. Over my past four years at Dartmouth, I have been fortunate to have Dr. Lopez as my educator for two courses, and now in my senior culminating experience. In addition, Professor Lopez has also guided me through my thesis and research as my advisor. After spending many years and being in community with Professor Lopez, I feel adequately prepared to share about her skills in teaching, mentoring students, as an academic, and much more.
I began my journey with Professor Lopez during my sophomore year, early on during COVID, in her course Introduction to Human Geography, where she eased us into the field of human geography. She foregrounded critical authors in the field, such as Donna Haraway, David Harvey, Edward Said, Paulo Freire, and many others. Though some pieces were difficult to understand, Professor Lopez provided many opportunities to unpack and ask questions and offer guidance when needed while still managing to challenge us every day through thought-provoking questions and critical thinking about relevant topics. Professor Lopez would record lectures discussing core concepts of geography and relate them to our readings, along with well-organized slides, and make them accessible to students via zoom with captions many days before our group meeting times. Professor Lopez established a welcoming and collaborative environment, typically uncommon at Dartmouth, and fostered a stimulating learning environment. Every day I left the class with new revelations concerning geography, race, gender, class, space, time, relationality, and many other essential factors. To assess our understanding of the material, Professor Lopez set up and facilitated two sections of class discussion. She did this in order to conduct a product and ongoing dialogue amongst students; because the class was split into two sections, this allowed for more intimacy and space for all students to participate. During these sessions, we were encouraged to bring up critical and thought-provoking questions (assigned prior days before our meeting time). During class, Professor Lopez would come prepared, ready to demystify these readings and put such authors in conversation with other scholars in the field or previous authors we had already read, therefore solidifying core themes and concepts. I especially appreciated this trait of Professor Lopez, as it seemed everything we read was interconnected and always in an ongoing dialogue. We were also asked to submit a reading response unpacking and reflecting on the assigned pieces. What I appreciated most about these assignments was the space to demonstrate our understanding of the material, reflect and relate, and room for any unanswered questions or if we were confused. For our final, we were offered an opportunity to write a collaborative paper pertaining to a week’s theme, to which Professor Lopez made herself widely accessible for clarification and guidance. Alternatively, for those who struggled to write essays or were having a difficult time during the pandemic, Professor Lopez offered an accessible audio file option, where students could instead verbalize and demonstrate their understanding of the course. Professor Lopez provided a clear grading rubric well in advance, citing very detailed expectations for these assessments. After setting a solid and critical foundation of what human geography is like and what questions are being asked, I quickly knew this was the field for me and declared my major in Geography.
In addition to Professor Lopez’s Introduction to Human Geography, I enrolled in her course Global Poverty and Care my junior fall (when I was going through a difficult housing situation with the college). When I took this course, we were all easing back into in-class learning and away from a year and a half of virtual learning. The transition was not easy, which Professor Lopez knew and continued to accommodate. Following a similar organization format, she assigned a core theme each week, followed by readings/media relating to those themes, and made them readily accessible on canvas (all of which were very easy to find). What I have always appreciated about Professor Lopez is how she includes scholarly articles and other creative mediums such as poetry, ethnographies, videos, art, and much more into her curriculum, all of which enriches and broadens our understanding of such themes. In this course, Professor Lopez would lecture and organize assignments in an organized and fashionable manner. I was very impressed by how she was able to recite such important facts and data right off the bat and convey it in a digestible fashion, demonstrating her clear mastery of the subject. She would often pause and check in for understanding, offering the space to ask questions. She would often have quick answers when students had questions and list other authors/scholars engaged in the same discourse right at the top of her head, clearly illustrating her extensive knowledge of the topic and others involved in the conversation. Often a lot of the time, the topics discussed would encourage students to relate and share their experiences, to which often kept students engaged and allowed room for reflection and space to make connections to their lives, a tool that I’ve found helpful over the years for retaining and engaging with materials. Whenever students were not performing to their best ability or missing class, Professor Lopez was always understanding and compassionate, always more concerned about their well-being, while also offering room to make up work and submit late assignments, making her class as accessible as can be. As someone struggling immensely during this time, her compassion and willingness to believe in me as a student helped me get through that very difficult time. Had it not been for her, I’m not sure I would have been academically successful that term. What I most appreciated about this course was the environment Professor Lopez worked to achieve. Despite the course being 30+ students, we were all able to build meaningful relationships with each other and be there for each by the end of week 10. We all came in as strangers, and by the end, we came out as more than classmates, an experience I have yet to feel in any other class. In this course, we were tasked with presenting for a part of class about the specific theme and coming up with a class activity to go along, all of which related to topics of poverty, economics, and social justice movements. Professor Lopez would offer extensive time for office hours and check in with groups multiple times prior to their presentation week in order to provide guidance and monitor their progress, to which helped craft well-thought-out and engaging presentations executed in an ethical manner (necessary for the sensitivity of some topics). This specific task required us to engage with the texts/materials critically and communicate it with the rest of our classmates and be leaders, two important skill sets I continue to exercise to this day. For our final assignment, we were asked to engage with our community in Hanover or back at home to make some type of change or aid existing initiatives, to which we wrote a paper about reflecting on how we contributed, how it related to the course, and what we learned from the experience. This has been my favorite assignment because it demonstrated how the content of our course applies to our daily lives and is essential for building better and loving communities. Many students enjoyed this opportunity to engage with their communities and connect to our class. I remember there always being a line after our two-hour-long courses of students who would love to chat with Dr. Lopez and express their gratitude for her teaching style, classroom environment, to which she always stayed until the very end!Lizet Garcia, Dartmouth Student
Moreover, for my final winter of my academic career at Dartmouth, Dr. Lopez cultivated one of the most intellectual and caring environments for our culminating experience. Professor Lopez, in a seminar fashion assigned us books and articles related to the Politics of Dying, enriching our understanding of human and more-than human entities. In this course we were taught to engage critically with different forms of death in the political, social, economic sense, but all in a humanizing way, something I had never truly delved into before with other Professors. Dr. Lopez allowed students to structure class discussions and questions, all of which gave us some agency in exploring what we wanted to learn as a collective. Dr. Lopez would often step in and clarify points of confusion or further share their knowledge with us, making for a wonderful and enriching experience. Through this course, like previous courses, our cohort not only treated each other as classmates, but as more. There was a mutual respect for each other. Overall, Dr. Lopez fostered a communal learning environment.
As a senior in the Geography department (widely influenced by experiences with Professor Lopez), I now have the opportunity to write a thesis under the supervision of Dr. Lopez. Ever since I thought of pursuing a graduate degree and writing a thesis (the winter I took her Intro course as I was applying for Mellon Mays), she was always super supportive and helpful. She assisted me in crafting my essays for Mellon Mays, to which I was accepted and offered to be my mentor. She has spent countless hours writing numerous recommendations on my behalf for doctoral fellowships and graduate schools. Professor Lopez has demystified the dreary and complicated graduate school application process for me as a first-generation low-income student. She has met with me every single week (sometimes more) to provide a structured and manageable timeline with tasks in order to complete said applications. More importantly, she has guided me in writing my thesis and working to work through injustices in my community in the South Bay of Los Angeles. She introduced me to various community organizers, scholars, other professors, literature, methods, and so much more over the years. She has spent endless hours proofreading my essays, listening to my ideas, helping me organize my thoughts, and giving me extensive and constructive feedback on all my work, always challenging me to be the best scholar I can possibly be. Though she often challenges me, her support and belief in me help me power through it all. It also means so much to me, as a brown woman, to see an outstanding, compassionate, brilliant Professor who looks like, who shares a similar culture, possess a higher-level teaching position at an institution like Dartmouth. She has shown me that pursuing a profession in academia is worthwhile and achievable, especially if it means leaving this type of impact on other marginalized students.
Overall, Professor Lopez’s impact on this campus is unmatched. She has been a steadfast pillar of our intellectual and broader community. She has impacted and continues to inspire many students through her inclusive and caring pedagogical approaches. Dr. Lopez is an incredible intellectual who has mastered multiple topics in the field of Geography and has found a way to make that knowledge accessible to her students via her courses and teaching style. She fosters stimulating, challenging, engaging, caring, and welcoming classroom environments in every course. She manages to do this in an organized manner, which we know takes much time and dedication. Her assessment forms are fair, and the expectations have always been clear and communicated. If there is ever doubt, Professor Lopez has always offered room for extra support and guidance in a non-intimidating way. She constantly makes herself available for her students in both academic and non-academic domains, a truly remarkable trait in a professor that the community values. I would rank Professor Lopez’s effectiveness in teaching and education as a 9. I hope that one day I can be as impactful of a professor as Dr. Lopez and emulate a similar environment for future students. Thank you Tish for everything.
Tish Lopez is exactly the type of professor Dartmouth promises students. Getting to work with and learn from her remains one of the reasons I am grateful to have gone to Dartmouth, despite my complicated relationship with the school.
I first worked with Professor Lopez as a research assistant through the presidential scholars program, after cold emailing her that I was interested in her work. She was so kind during our first meeting, and compared to the other meetings I had with faculty in trying to find a supervisor, I found her refreshingly candid and approachable, while also finding her work compelling and thought-provoking. She encouraged a mutually interesting research project, where I went through archives on the Haitian medical system and read articles about disease geographies, and I felt lucky to be given assignments that required my synthesis, rather than just busywork. I think of the work done as her assistant often, and it greatly shaped how I approach my own research assignments. While I could’ve just worked for her, Professor Lopez made an effort to create a mentoring relationship through the program, which later turned into her advising my thesis. What felt really special about working with Professor Lopez was how organically she seemed to create space to talk about geography and research. Even as our relationship changed from researcher-assistant to professor-student to adviser-writer, she always made it feel as though we were talking about things that felt interesting and important as two curious people. I’d never thought I’d be part of research at Dartmouth, and I don’t think I would have had it not been for Professor Lopez.
I also took a class with Professor Lopez, and it’s how I wish most professors approached teaching. She had high expectations for us, but never in a way that felt stressful or unreasonable. Rather, she held us to high standards for reading, discussion, and analysis but was also accommodating and caring. She respected how students might demonstrate understanding in different ways, and she made sure to provide a variety of different options for class participation and final projects. Each week the class had a slightly different structure that kept it engaging, which shows how much work she was putting into planning for each week. She created such a diverse and deep syllabus, one I go back to constantly for either my current academic work or just for my own knowledge. She had us reading critical scholars’ book a week‚ accompanying contemporary, cutting-edge issues. She was clearly extremely thoughtful in preparing that year’s version of the seminar, and we covered so much ground without it feeling overwhelming. Everyone’s final projects were so interesting, because she gave students the space to engage with the ideas in a variety of ways. Professor Lopez approaches her work through the framework of care ethics, and unlikely many progressive professors, she does not simply write about these frameworks but knows how to put them into practice. I’ve had so-called radical or decolonial professors refuse accommodations (or even bathroom breaks), show little patience with students who take a bit longer to answer questions, or presume there is only one way to learn. Professor Lopez actually manifests the ideas behind her writing on care work, modeling how a classroom could look if it were a place of mutual respect, shared learning, and generosity. She knew how to cultivate an environment that produced thoughtful engagement with scholarly work, robust discussion, and original projects, which she did by making students feel valued and respected.
Unsurprisingly, Professor Lopez was extremely popular in the Geography department. Most people I talked to either wanted her as a thesis adviser or were asking her to write recommendation letters. I think the year I was writing a thesis, she had the most requests to be an adviser than any other professor. She wrote all of my law school recommendation letters and served many times as a reference for jobs and fellowships. When I went to her office hours, there was often a line out the door. I saw her speak at some sort of women at Dartmouth dinner when I was a sophomore‚ she was asked to be the keynote speaker‚ and she gave such a thoughtful talk. As one of the few young professors of color, I know many students were more comfortable asking her for these things and relied on her for support at Dartmouth. She never seemed to act like she was too busy for anyone, even though it’s clear she was always in demand. That type of labor and pressure of being someone that many students rely on cannot be underestimated, and I know she took it very seriously. She certainly helped students who might have felt otherwise isolated by Dartmouth‚ as I often did‚ which is an often serious position to be in. Professor Lopez made a very strong effort to support her students, and I often saw her at events her students were presenting, performing, or participating at. The trust she cultivated is not an accident or just popularity‚ it is the product of her very intentional commitment to care work and affective labor as part of being a professor.
As my thesis adviser, I cannot emphasize enough how much Professor Lopez went above and beyond. She participated at every stage of writing, giving line edits and incredibly nuanced feedback to multiple drafts. We had weekly meetings where we talked through intricacies of the paper; I know friends whose advisers, only looked over one draft and gave general comments. Professor Lopez took my work so seriously and was willing to engage with me as two scholars, which is something I’m deeply grateful for. She helped mature my very general ideas about what is interesting into a developed project. I can hardly fathom how many hours she must have put into reviewing, reading, and commenting on my (admittedly way too lengthy) thesis. Because of her, I’m now someone who still writes and does research. I just got an article accepted for publication, and there is no way that ever would have happened without the years of working with Professor Lopez. She continued to encourage me as a scholar throughout my time working and in law school, convincing me to take advantage of certain opportunities and providing continued research advice.
As for Professor Lopez’s scholarship, I’ve read everything she’s published. She sent me a copy of her book, Vulnerable Witness, which is unlike anything I’d ever read. I’ve cited her work on COVID-19 in my current research, and I’ve greatly appreciated her writing on care work. She offers such a valuable contribution I haven’t seen elsewhere, and she writes with such precision and such careful engagement with scholars across disciplines. Professor Lopez’s work seamlessly pulls together ideas from across geography, anthropology, gender studies, epidemiology, political economy, and numerous other frameworks in a way I can only hope to emulate.
Professor Lopez has drastically improved my approach to writing and researching, but she has also changed how I see the world. Her work in Geography has shaped how I understand global and local issues, and her efforts to implement care ethics have informed all my work. At my current school, for example, professors approach most meetings with the assumption that I want something or that the meeting must have a goal: getting career advice, a reader for an article, or a recommendation. Professor Lopez, on the other hand, was always interested to talk about research and ideas for the sake of learning and connecting. Given how limited her time is, it is truly remarkable she could preserve such an appreciation for the spirit of education. And she was successful: with her I feel like I truly grew as a person, a student, and a researcher, and I know I will only continue to grow by remaining in conversation with her. She is intuitively a teacher, and it is very clear this is what she wants to be doing.
Above all, I now consider her a friend and someone I am just generally grateful to know in my life. We are still in contact, calling at least once a year or meeting up in person. I still ask her advice about school and writing, and we communicate casually throughout the year, and I know she is still in touch with other students. Now in law school, none of my other classmates have such a relationship from undergrad, yet this is the type of continuing connection she fosters. It is this type of work‚ this continued mentorship, this care for students, that Professor Lopez makes look so easy, yet is so rare. There are many professors at Dartmouth whose courses I found interesting and whose office hours I went to, yet I never got an email back from or lost contact with after graduation. Professor Lopez takes on not only the current Dartmouth community but remains an active part in the lives of her former students. It takes a special, committed person to manage all of this work with such grace, and to make every student feel worthwhile despite her limited time.Steffi Colao, Dartmouth alumnus
Just as quintessential as Fairchild is to Dartmouth, Tish Lopez is to the Geography Department. As a recent alumni, I didn’t have the pleasure of engaging in one of her courses, but praises for her teaching, work, and mentorship extend beyond the walls of her classroom, the Department, and the College. I was fortunate enough to engage in conversation with Tish many times, and each time, her guidance and mentorship was refreshing and reassuring. Guidance that stemmed from care and critical thinking of the world. One that was crucial to my time as a Mellon Mays Fellow. One that prepares you to utilize the instruments of knowledge we’ve acquired over our college career. Yet, Dartmouth continues to expose itself as an institution that fails to prioritize scholar representation, student safety and education, and systems of care. We see this in the high attrition rate of BIPOC professors, continued challenges to attract talent, and in the continued denial of Tish Lopez’s tenure. To know of the Geography Department is to know of Tish Lopez. And to know of Tish is to have experienced care and grace. Something Dartmouth fails to do and can begin to learn from great scholars and people like Professor Lopez.Juan Quinonez Zepeda, Dartmouth alumnas
When I think of the standard for education, I think of Professor Lopez. Our 10 weeks together in GEOG 1, during winter of 2021, has shaped my approach to pedagogy for the past two years, and will stick with me for my lifetime. This was my third geography class, and being taught by Professor Lopez cemented my desire to be a geographer. Our syllabus was meticulously prepared, with content that could be consumed by anyone from the 24’s in our class who had never thought of geography, to the students with many aligned classes under their belts. Professor Lopez ran the best online class I’ve taken, and demonstrated again and again that she was devoted to teaching us, and balancing the difficulties of that winter. In my current job, as I prepare political education for youth organizers, as I talk to my mom (a high school teacher), or talk to friends about our struggles with education throughout our lives, I always return to Professor Lopez. I say again, she is the diamond standard for pedagogy. Her ability to adapt; balance discussion and presentation; be truly available for students; and unintentionally recruit students to the geography department is masterful. I have never thought of a person more deserving of the security and honor of receiving tenure.
Beyond my experience with her in the classroom, I have seen her effect on peers that have taken classes or received mentorship from Professor Lopez, and left with a meaningful appreciation for their education, their role in the world, and the opportunity to take a class with a professor who shows care and rigor in every single interaction. Most people I’ve known will take another with Professor Lopez when given the chance, and if not, recommend her to their friends, so they can vicariously experience her work. Teaching is about more than presenting information to students, it’s about giving space for people to grow into themselves and their beliefs, and helping them learn to be in a community where disagreements exist but are not central to life. Professor Lopez is one of the few good professors that this school has to offer, and should be honored as such.Z Spicer, Dartmouth alumnus
Professor Lopez- or Tish as I call her- has been an incredible friend and an encouraging force in my pursuit of academics. Over many years she has played a supportive role in encouraging me to go back to school. I only had a high school level education and a troubled up bringing and truly thought I was unintelligent for many years in my 20’s and 30’s. She not only encourages me to think differently but verbally presents a reality that I can achieve a degree by not only her example but who she is and how she shows up in the world. Professor Lopez is one of the warmest, thoughtful, and motivated humans I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She also has a blend of deep empathy with an incredibly intelligent dynamic mind. I know how much her students not only learning but success as well rounded humans is of the utmost priority for her. Professor Lopez is an exceptional human and educator and I’m honored to call her a friend. Thank you for reading and wishing you the best.Jenna Marshall
It is one thing to declare your praxis, and another thing to live and embody it.
Professor Lopez (or just Tish, as she would let us call her) was my advisor and teacher during my time as a Geography major and Mellon Mays Fellow at Dartmouth. My journey at school was marked with tremendous difficulty, but Tish opened my mind to possibilities of being that were unimaginable within the confines of Hanover, NH. Thanks to her support along with a handful of others, I was able to build the courage to put myself first and ultimately leave academia for the preservation of my health.
I cannot put to words how meaningful it was to feel seen and accepted in the classroom by a professor like Tish. It was life-changing to learn from her that care was not something you to perform and earn but rather a fundamental material component of the human experience. The impact of Tish’s scholarship, grace, and consideration towards her students provided a welcome relief to the torrential downpour of violence part and parcel with being a dispossessed student at an elite institution like Dartmouth. Her treatment of those around her was inspiring and deeply formative to the kind of person I am today.
To hear that such an exceptional leader and educator has been denied tenure speaks to the cyclical nature of violence at Dartmouth. When I was a student, we held a funeral for faculty of color who had been alienated and ostracized from academia. It is shameful to witness the repetition and cementation of this cycle in my former department at the expense of someone overflowing with kindness. It is an unfathomable tragedy that suicide continues to ravage its way through campus at the feigned ignorance of its leadership. Despite my struggles I was blessed to find a community of support at Dartmouth, and Tish’s brief but powerful presence in my life became one of many steel cables which tethered me to this world. This institution is yet again demonstrating its directive is organized towards accumulation and profit, at the cost of people’s livelihoods.
Due to my own journey, I am no stranger to the necessity of communal support and care for healing. Tish embodied these elements in every facet of her practice. She held space for us to rage and express ideas without judgement because she believed in us, especially when Dartmouth didn’t.
Her flexibility regarding deadlines and assignments allowed me to learn the material at my own pace. Her confidence in my capacity to understand and internalize what we were learning only expanded my hunger for knowledge. I will never forget being a drop in the sea of students rushing to follow up with her after class because I was so excited to share my thoughts. And I will never forget how she welcomed every single one of us with enthusiasm! She taught me that many of the things we were learning, we already knew and understood within our own bodies. Teachers like her are few and far between.
Reading these statements and seeing all the lives she has touched is unsurprising. Tish is truly one of one. Because of her, I continue to write and read and research voraciously even if it is simply for myself. I am proud to have been a geographer and her student.A.P., Dartmouth alumnas
Professor Lopez is one of the most thoughtful and thoughtful provoking people I know. I have watched her in awe throughout her entire academic journey and career. Her passion for her students is unprecedented and it is absolute shock that her department has treated her this way. Not a shock coming from Dartmouth— an institution rooted in white supremacy.Heidi Edwards, Friend
I have know Professor Lopez for several years. I once gave a presentation for a Geography course she was teaching at the University of Washington. She made me feel very welcome and had prepared her students for my coming which was very gratifying because we had an outstanding Q and A. On a personal note, I find Professor Lopez to be a kind and super open person who is very willing to listen. It would be a privilege to take a class with her because she brings a wealth of knowledge, patience and a keen eye to detail while considering multiple view points.Julia Wharton
I have known Professor lopez since 1996. During that time of knowing her, I have always thought her to be one of the most intelligent, kind and thoughtful humans that I know of I am shocked that you would not want her to represent your institution.Erin Johnson, CIIS Adjunct facility, Synaptic Institute
Dear Faculty, I am writing you in support of Professor Tish Lopez. Tish is an inspirational teacher and has demonstrated her dedication to education and her intellect is unsurpassed. Please reconsider your decision to keep her on as a faculty member. Thank you.Jenifer Short