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Utah to do away with professor tenure?

From the Leiter report: Lawmaker's bill would end tenure for Utah profs

This deserves a long scree, but it's late and I have a reading list quota still to meet. So I'll limit myself to two points:

  • One of the main reasons for tenure is to protect faculty who express unpopular opinions. Academia at its best should be about the free exchange of ideas. Recently a Brooklyn College adjunct had his contract threatened because of his views. Ultimately he was allowed to teach there, but only because of pressure put on the university administration. Adjuncts lack the kind of protection tenured professors get. I have no problem with bad teachers losing their jobs, but taking away tenure full-stop is going too far.

  • Tenure takes years to reach. All over Utah there are people who have been doing the things academics are supposed to do - teaching, writing papers, supporting their universities - in the expectation that if they met benchmarks they could reasonably expect tenure. It's not a hard-and-fast promise, true, but still it's an expectation agreed to by both sides. Which makes this monumentally uncool.


So much for the non-interference of government in private business, I guess...

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fallingtowers
Feb. 19th, 2011 08:08 am (UTC)
I agree with julifolio: measures like these seem to aim at running higher education like a capitalist corporation, which is complete bullshit, since academia just doesn't work like that. The cynic in me is wondering how long it will take for some politician over here in Germany to catch wind of this and think it's a great idea to make our universities more competitive.
marta_bee
Feb. 19th, 2011 10:19 pm (UTC)
Academia shouldn't work like that but (at least in America) there is a real drive toward that. It's really quite sad... (And of course beyond frustrating.)

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