Should colleges abandon the faculty tenure system?

Dive Brief:

  • In a profile on tenure-track culture at colleges and universities, Salon examines the flailing economics and culture behind guaranteed employment for professors.
  • According to a report from the American Association of University Professors, more than 70% of faculty members work on contingent contracts.
  • As institutions continue to reap the financial benefits of having high numbers of adjunct faculty members on campus, students outcomes — like class performance and graduation rates and transfer rates to four-year institutions from two-years — continue to suffer.

Dive Insight:

Institutions throughout the country are looking to limit faculty unionization, while making pay equitable to output and adaptation to new trends in teaching. Schools must also recognize, however, that tenured faculty can help in building institutional identity and much-needed funding to a department or school.

Tenured faculty often have established relationships with nonprofit foundations, federal agencies and other organizations which help to fund teaching and research work on campus. Seasoned faculty also bring expertise and name recognition, which helps campuses to promote the work they bring to the academy and community. For many campuses, saving money now may cost in auxiliary ways in the future.

Filed Under: Higher Ed
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