Pros and Cons of Tenure

Dec 21, 2015 by

Malcolm A. Kline –

At year’s end, we thought, looking over copy for 2015, that we could get a snapshot of how tenure works in academe.

Ultimately, we came up with 14 arguments for tenure and thirteen against but that ratio is deceptive. The 14 pro-tenure arguments consist of individuals and the anti-tenure arguments include three associations (including the 26,000-member Modern Language Association, which we know all too well.)

Moreover, our pro-tenure arguments include two conservative scholars who found it to be no protection at all—one got fired, one is currently being harassed out of his job—as well as at least two others who work at institutions of higher learning which do not have tenure.

For example, here are the top three arguments for tenure, sort of:

  1. Peter Navarro of the University of California at Irvine for actually documenting that Communist China is a threat.
  2. David A. Prentice of Catholic University for unravelling the myths of embryonic stem cell research.
  3. Jonathan Marks of Ursinus College for showing us the clay feet of two academic icons—Woodrow Wilson and W. E. B. Dubois.

Here are the arguments against tenure, definitively:

  1. The aforementioned Modern Language Association
  2. The American Studies Association and
  3. The National Women’s Studies Association.

A more complete listing appears in our January newsletter. One could argue that those whose careers make the best argument for tenure would have lived lives of academic accomplishment without it. But would the arguments against tenure have had any careers at all?

Source: Pros and Cons of Tenure

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.