Field of Science

Majority of university presidents oppose faculty tenure

Here's the finding from a recent survey conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education:
If the majority of college presidents had their way, tenure would become as obsolete as the slide rule. According to the findings of The Chronicle's survey of four-year-college presidents, 53 percent of them said they agreed that tenure for faculty members should be replaced by a system of long-term contracts. Thirty-nine percent disagreed.
But presidents' backgrounds led to wide differences in how they viewed tenure. Those with no teaching experience were much more likely to oppose tenure than those who had spent years standing in front of classrooms. Seventy percent of presidents who had never taught before favored the contract system, compared with only 38 percent of those who had taught for more than 20 years.

They needed a survey to find this out? A disturbing trend is the number of presidents who now support the view that faculty are just employees, subordinates, to be hired and fired as needed. Now here's my view. The Phactor spent way too much time in his pre-tenure days looking for a better job. It was a tough market, and the grass was not always greener, but the point is that everything done was for my advancement, my reputation, my career. Why commit time and effort to a university that seemed to have little interest in keeping me on the faculty? Tenure was used as a threat to "keep you in line". But the bottom line is this. Faculty and students are the university; presidents have come and gone, some have done more damage than good, others have done more good (thankfully the most recent one especially). Same goes for provosts and deans. If a university wants commitment, wants to improve, wants involved faculty, then the university had better demonstrate a commitment too. Otherwise faculty members find their jobs and the whims and whimsy of administrators, held hostage to the ups and downs of finances and majors, and everyone would be doing just what the Phactor was doing; looking out for old number one. University service? A waste of time. Notice that presidents who were never faculty, a fundamental error to think such a person can run a university, were most enamored with getting rid of tenure. Hmm, makes you think.

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