Monday, September 7, 2009

Tenure's Value ... to Society

Someone on the edu-factory email list brought my attention to the article Tenure's Value ... to Society from Inside Higher Ed (here): "This is an interesting finding on tenure, the main mechanism of job security in US academia. Recent studies show that 40% of teaching faculty in US public universities are not tenure-track." Quote from Scott Jaschik's report:
"A judge ruled last week in Colorado that not only is tenure a good thing for the professors who enjoy it, it is valuable to the public. Further, the court ruled that the value (to the public) of tenure outweighed the value of giving colleges flexibility in hiring and dismissing. That is a principle that faculty members say is very important and makes this case about much more than the specific issues at play.
While noting "countervailing public interests" in the case, the judge wrote that "the public interest is advanced more by tenure systems that favor academic freedom over tenure systems that favor flexibility in hiring or firing." The ruling added that "by its very nature, tenure promotes a system in which academic freedom is protected" and that "a tenure system that allows flexibility in firing is oxymoronic.""
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