The Problem with Tenure Isn’t Tenure Itself—Or a Lengthening List of Other Things Being Attributed to Tenure

ACADEME BLOG

We Are All Badgers Now [L]

On June 6, Tamar Lewis wrote an article for the New York Times titled “Colleges Re-Evaluate the Concept of Tenure.” I came across the article, however, in the Seattle Times, where it had been republished.

The premise of the article is expressed succinctly in the teaser: “In an era of rapid change, long life spans, economic strains and a dwindling college-age population, there is a high cost to awarding professors lifetime job guarantees.” But the impetus for the article was very clearly the radical attack on tenure by Scott Walker and Far Right legislators in Wisconsin.

Although Lewis is very right to consider whether Walker’s action may be replicated elsewhere, she distorts the discussion by accepting as a baseline the arguments against tenure offered  by such ideologues who wish to eliminate academic freedom and by administrators who wish to reduce and even eliminate shared governance.

Less than 30% of…

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