Friday, December 15, 2006

Tenure is almost gone

The AAUP reported this week that the percentage of tenure track faculty in the U.S. is dropping like a rock.

Here at UWO, we already have lowest ratio of tenure-track to non-tenure track teaching faculty in the system. We are leading the way toward a system of education where over paid professional administrators make the decisions to be carried out by a large number of underpaid, temporary adjuncts.

It sounds like the Walmart model!


Anonymous said...

Great to hear!
Tenure is nothing more than entitlement employment with no accountability. It is a dinosaur and needs to go the way of the dinosaur!

Anonymous said...

Tenure should go the way of the dinosaur, it should evolve into a bird.

Anonymous said...

It seems like having a faculty with some personal investment in the success of the University (tenure) would be a prerequisite for student engagement.

Not to mention all the other important reasons for it.

So there are some problems... work on FIXING them instead of phasing out tenure.

Your arm hurts? We're going to have to amputate.


Anonymous said...

Faculty do a very poor job of explaining to others why tenure is a good thing.

Most people in America do not have job security. It is not obvious to them why professors should have a the security of tenure. There are many reasons why tenure needs to be preserved. The problem I find is that most faculty never seem to consider how they come across to people who worry about losing their jobs to China and India

Students always remember the bad or incompetant prof who is protected by tenure. They often forget that tenure also benefits the good profs. Again, when I discuss thus with faculty, most of the time they defend or excuse the dead wood. They never talk up the good faculty and why tenure is important for them.

Anonymous said...

The ones who b*** the most about how easy teachers have it are the ones who were the jocks and popular bigshots in school. They were too busy partying and running wild and making fun of the science nerds and 4-eyes to bother studying. Everybody loved them and told them they were awesome b/c they could throw a stupid football, so why bother getting an education? Being cool, being popular, was all that matters obviously! Who the hell wants to be smart?? That'll never get you anywhere!

And now they find out teacher was right -- to get any security, you need a good education. They screwed off in school and ended up qualified for nothing more than somegrunt job, didn't even learn a skilled trade. And so of course they're still hating the science geeks and brainiacs and blaming THEM for their problems!

So to hell with them. Outsource their crappy little jobs. They had their chance to get an education, same as everyone in this country, but they BLEW it. Not so damn funny now, is it, Mr. Hotshot Quarterback Party Animal??? And yes I DO want fries with that!

Anonymous said...

so much for outreach! remember that though the masses are asses they do vote

lammers said...

The first Anonymous said...

"Tenure is nothing more than entitlement employment with no accountability."

Is tenure really all that different from the protections afforded by Civil Service or a good strong union? Seniority certainly counts for something in a lot of jobs.
I am not that familiar with labor laws, etc., but it seems to me that in a lot of skilled positions there is some system in place to ensure that workers aren't summarily dismissed on a whim.

That's all tenure is, really: an assurance that a liberal dean can't come in and fire all the conservative profs or vice versa. A reward for years of faithful and productive service. The sort of thing any working person SHOULD be able to count on.

And anyway, what is with this "other people don't get it, why should you?" stuff I'm hearing? It's like saying, why should a service company worker get free uniforms when I have to buy my work clothes? How come a salesman gets a company car and I don't? Why does a retail employee get a 20% discount on purchases while I pay full tuition to send my kid to college? Why does Brett Favre earn millions of dollars playing a kids' game for a couple months each year, while cops and firefighters and the military get diddly? Every job is different, and has unique perks. I thought the idea of every worker being treated identically irrespective of job was a communist ideal, not an American one.

I can't agree with that "no accountability" statement. Seems as though every time I turn around, I'm filing some sort of paperwork to document of my preofessorial abilities and performance for merit, retention, promotion, etc. And having 200 freshmen critique your performance on a Student Opinion Survey is no walk in the park, either. And if that isn't enough, there's always ratemyprofessors-dot-com ...

Whatever problems one imagines the tenure system has, I think the alternative would create far more problems, for far more people.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lammers
I agree that getting rid of the tenure system would be a disaster for American universities, but you miss the point. Most people don't understand the system and if faculty can't do a better job of defending tenure, people will continue to support those politicians who attack the university and tenure, both in this state and elsewhere.

As for accountability,yeah I do all the paperwork you do and the teaching evals. etc etc etc. and I would say the vast majority of those with tenure do more than their fair share and work hard for little pay.

But just like bad news, it is the few deadwood profs that get the attention. You have to admit, not much is ever done about tenured faculty who fail to meet expectations. It comes as no surprise to me that some look at this and become cynical about tenure.

What does surprise me is that many faculty don't see the need to do a better job of making the case for keeping tenure.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more...
"Tenure is nothing more than entitlement employment with no accountability. It is a dinosaur and needs to go the way of the dinosaur!"

Lake Winneblogo said...

I deleted a personal attack on a faculty member who is not participating in this discussion.

It wasn't particularly nasty, but it was uncivil.

Lammers has done a good job describing the reasons for tenure.

Tenure is about providing the freedom to investigate topics that generate controversty.

Tenured faculty can be fired for many reasons, but hopefully not for research into controversial subjects.

That protection is supposed to preserve and protect a vibrant, challenging research culture in the academy.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but if that is the best way you can cme up with to defend tenure than start counting the days till its taken away. You can't sell that to non-academics. You want to defend tenure and the university? learn to talk to people outside of academia.

And just so there is no misunderstanding here, I am a tenured professor here at UWO and I have been here longer than you or Lammers. yes, tenure is very valuable and important for defending academic freedom and rewarding years of hard work. But if we want to keep it we have to justify it.

Don't BS people about accountability please. The students will just laugh at you and you will lose credibility. There is not a single tenured faculty person I know, here or anywhere else, that worries about being fired. We have excellent tenured faculty, we have average tenured faculty, and we have poor tenured faculty, and they all have job security. We say research is important and makes us better teachers in the classroom. So what happens if we stop publishing? We teach four classes rather than three. Bad teaching evals? So what? The worst teaching evaluations I have ever seen have been for tenured faculty and nothing was ever done about them. In one case that I know of, the person with abysmal teaching was promoted to full professor. At least that person had good pubs.

Of course students are cynical. No organization can get rid of all deadwood, but we can at least try.

post-tenure review? Check the hand book, I don't see anything there about firing someone who can't pass the review process.

I wish we had the accountability you assume. It would make defending tenure easier.

At least the days when a professor would urinate on student papers are gone. And no, I am not making that one up. Ask your older colleagues

Anonymous said...

why does everyone have to get so snippy. relax people!