THE QUESTIONS OF TENURE

THE QUESTIONS OF TENURE

by Richard P. CHAIT
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Tenure is the abortion issue of the academy, igniting arguments and inflaming near-religious passions. To some, tenure is essential to academic freedom and a magnet to recruit and retain top-flight faculty. To others, it is an impediment to professorial accountability and a constraint on institutional flexibility and finances. But beyond anecdote and opinion, what

See more details below

Overview

Tenure is the abortion issue of the academy, igniting arguments and inflaming near-religious passions. To some, tenure is essential to academic freedom and a magnet to recruit and retain top-flight faculty. To others, it is an impediment to professorial accountability and a constraint on institutional flexibility and finances. But beyond anecdote and opinion, what do we really know about how tenure works?

In this unique book, Richard Chait and his colleagues offer the results of their research on key empirical questions. Are there circumstances under which faculty might voluntarily relinquish tenure? When might new faculty actually prefer non-tenure track positions? Does the absence of tenure mean the absence of shared governance? Why have some colleges abandoned tenure while others have adopted it? Answers to these and other questions come from careful studies of institutions that mirror the American academy: research universities and liberal arts colleges, including both highly selective and less prestigious schools.

Lucid and straightforward, The Questions of Tenure offers vivid pictures of academic subcultures. Chait and his colleagues conclude that context counts so much that no single tenure system exists. Still, since no academic reward carries the cachet of tenure, few institutions will initiate significant changes without either powerful external pressures or persistent demands from new or disgruntled faculty.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Most books about academic tenure are based on anecdotal or subjective information, but this one attempts to analyze this contentious topic using empirical research. Chait (higher education, Harvard; Beyond Traditional Tenure) and several colleagues collected faculty employment policy statements from over 200 colleges and universities and then surveyed and interviewed many professors and administrators on a variety of topics related to tenure. This provided the data for the 11 chapters, which range from an overview of current policies to a study of trends in academic employment in foreign countries. Particularly interesting are the discussions about tenure as a hiring incentive and whether faculty might ever voluntarily relinquish tenure, plus the comparison of four U.S. colleges where faculty can earn tenure with four where tenure is not an option. Many tables, figures, and bibliographical references supplement the clearly written text, and a closing chapter on how data can be used to augment decision making cautions that at times tenure's emotional aspects defy numerical evidence. Highly recommended for academic libraries. Will Hepfer, SUNY at Buffalo Libs. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Baltimore Sun
[A] thoughtfully constructed book that brings light to several aspects of tenure and related issues, where, until now, there has been mostly a good bit of heat and smoke.
— Stephen Vicchio

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674029347
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
06/30/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
File size:
1 MB

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >