Category Archives: tenure

July 22, 2011, 12:09 pm

Why Are The Cajuns Ragin’? Or; How To Balance Budgets At The Expense Of Education

Think hard, then say bye-bye.

Ever wonder how to get rid of tenured faculty?  Kill the whole department!  Any fool knows that.

That’s what they are doing at the University of Louisiana, where the Cognitive Science PhD program (the only one in the state) is being shut down and two faculty will be cut loose by 2013.  The program is, in administration-speak, a “low completer,” which means it is producing too few graduates to be continued.  According to this local news story, “in a three year period it produced five graduates,” although by increasing the window to five years, the number of graduates rises to 10 graduates.  When this was revealed it looked like the program would be saved.  But no dice. (We wonder at Tenured Radical — how many graduates would have saved the program? 12? 15? And could…

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April 29, 2011, 11:12 am

The Only Good Professor Is A Dead Professor: Or, Is The Decline Of Academic Labor A Health Risk?

When was the last time you stopped grading, writing, reading or writing up committee reports and went to the gym?  In “Performance Pressure,” published this week in the Canadian academic journal Academic Matters, Megan A. Kirk and Ryan E. Rhodes are betting you didn’t do it lately.  In “Performance Pressure” they argue that assistant professors are particularly at risk. “Being a professor is a profession that has been shown to have the longest work hours, heaviest work demands, highest psychological stress, and lowest occupational energy expenditure compared to other professional occupations,” they write. Hence, among all professional workers, new faculty are most likely to become mentally run-down and unhealthy for lack of exercise:

For many, the allure of becoming a professor is the promise of a career that involves freedom of choice, national funding, opportunities for promotion,…

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April 12, 2011, 11:38 am

Give Me A T For Texas: Tuesday Tenure Report

Another take on the path towards tenure

Where, oh where, has the Radical been?  Well, many places, but the most recent impediment to posting has been the end of honors thesis season, which requires time-consuming, line-by-line scrutiny of all outgoing chapters.  But by today, the little birds will have flown the coop once and for all and I am once again left to my feckless ways.  A good scrounge through my Google reader shows that others have been busy out there, however, so with out further ado:

Just in Case You Were Curious:  According to the campus newspaper, the Trinitonian, Trinity University of San Antonio Texas is making the institutional case for tenure.  In an article that does a good job of explaining to students what tenure is and how faculty achieve it, Michael Fischer, vice president of Academic Affairs, “There are very good historical reasons for tenure and particularly in …

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February 26, 2011, 1:08 pm

To Reform Tenure, Consider Breaking Confidentiality: A Novel Approach

Following our discovery that Brown University is proposing to extend the tenure clock for probationary faculty to eight years, we learn that the University of Michigan is considering a similar move.  The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA) is, according to the Michigan Daily,  considering extending the maximum probationary period.  Currently it is eight years, and SACUA is proposing an optional ten year clock.  Additional items on the table included weighting the decision more heavily towards faculty evaluations of the candidate.

In a proposal that appears, on the face of it, to be driven by concerns in the sciences and at the medical school, Professor of Statistics Ed Rothman told the Daily that:

this is only a short-term solution to a larger, long-term problem — ill-defined standards for obtaining tenure. Rothman said externally generated standards, like publishing …

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February 8, 2011, 3:20 am

Department of High Standards: “And The Winnah Is……”

This is a tenure clock.

Give me just a little more time/And our love will surely grow:  The Brown Daily Herald reports another reason to take a job at this trendy Ivy, other than the school colors and the terrific little Italian food shops:  you get eight years for tenure instead of the canonical seven.  The legislation is not yet final, since the faculty “has yet to vote on the wording of the amendments” (so it could take….a…while….) However, the extended tenure clock recognizes that publishing is a little more difficult in the current environment and grants more competitive.  Other reforms of the tenure process up in Providence include things that I won’t even mention because they mean nothing to the rest of us, but apparently they are a big deal at Brown and claims are being made that tenure procedures are now “more transparent.”  Somehow I doubt this, but I’m sure the Faculty…

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December 16, 2010, 2:16 pm

It’s A Poor Sort Of Memory That Only Works Backwards; Or, New (Old) Thoughts About Tenure

Alice Ad-dressing the White Queen.

`You’re wrong there, at any rate,’ said the Queen: `were you ever punished?’

`Only for faults,’ said Alice.

`And you were all the better for it, I know!’ the Queen said triumphantly.

`Yes, but then I had done the things I was punished for,’ said Alice: `that makes all the difference.’

`But if you hadn’t done them,’ the Queen said, `that would have been better still; better, and better, and better!’ Her voice went higher with each `better,’ till it got quite to a squeak at last.

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass (And What Alice Found There) (1871)

Paul Caron over at Tax Prof Blog reports that a new study “conducted under the auspices of the American Bar Foundation with additional funding from the Law School Admission Council” finds that “the perceptions of female tenured faculty members and tenured faculty of color” about the granting of tenure in law…

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February 17, 2010, 11:30 am

Don’t Shoot! A Meditation on Civility

The sensationalism of the Amy Bishop tenure case, in which a University of Alabama biologist shot numerous colleagues in the head after her failed appeal, has us all unnerved and fascinated. Of course, the news reports that are piecing together a portrait of a sociopath, a ticking time bomb who happened to have become a university professor, have already helped us build distance between “us” and “her.” The Bishop story, which is being reported over at University Diaries in press clippings and terse, incisive commentary (that makes you think Margaret Soltan really could produce the thriller or mystery we all long to write) is, however, countered by the more prosaic and recognizable case of Bill Reader, a journalism professor at Ohio University. Reader seemed to be on track for tenure and now — isn’t exactly. Why? There are allegations that, although he is not a sociopath, he may be a…

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December 13, 2008, 6:32 pm

And Here’s A Little Coal In Your Christmas Stocking: Tenure Denied

The tenure cases that were submitted early in the fall are starting to come through: mostly, there will be laughter and clinking glasses. Although rates of success differ across institutions, the majority of people who come up for tenure will get it. The vast majority. Which makes it ever more painful when you, or someone you have supported, is denied. This just in from a professor of history at Wuzzup College:*

I teach at a four-year college. Yesterday I found out that my only untenured colleague was turned down for tenure by the dean. I’m spending my morning trying to figure out what to do to see if we can get this overturned. I called the one colleague I know to whom the administration sometimes listens and left a frantic message on his answering machine.

I was afraid this was going to happen. I was on the Tenure and Promotion Committee, which has been weird the last couple…

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November 13, 2008, 4:03 pm

Tenure, Tee-shirts and Triangulation: School Reform In The News

Michelle Rhee, the superintendent of schools in the District of Columbia, is moving to abolish tenure for teachers. Because tenure is the third rail of public education, she claims she isn’t. But she is. Rhee is in charge of one of the most troubled systems in the country — or perhaps just the most visibly troubled, since the collapse of public schools in the nation’s capital are a particularly vivid barometer of the terrible state of urban public education more generally. Her current plan is to reduce the number of tenured teachers in the system by offering salary incentives for teachers to give up their tenure and simply teach well.

Rhee’s approach to change doesn’t help sell what is actually a sensible plan: if you have followed her career, you know that she reacts to dissent in the ranks with the polish of your average despot. Her rock ‘em, sock ‘em administrative style makes …

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April 13, 2008, 1:14 pm

Congratulations Brian Donovan

Since the Radical is now associated in the public mind with all things tenure, I noted with pleasure last week that The Chronicle of Higher Education had linked me with this YouTube video, which is one of the most perfect visual conceits I have ever seen.

Now, I ask you — how funny is this? Very funny. It also makes me jealous that he knows how to make a video like this and I don’t. Finally, it reminds me that one of the things I love about being an academic is the wit and the high jinks. Other than professional comedians, the only group of people who are funnier are people who work in advertising.

So just in case you think the Radical has fallen into the trap common to radicals everywhere — in other words, taking her political positions so seriously that she loses her sense of fun (North Korea is a good example of this error, as was the second incarnation of the radical…

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