- Tenure keeps academic salaries low: Tenure has a definite monetary value as when combined with life and disability insurance removes nearly all risk of future income. A university can then shave the salary in comparison to other lines of work. I suspect the shaving is high in the humanities where positions outside academia has a higher risk of long-term under or un-employment.
- Tenure allows universities to age discriminate: Because hiring with tenure requires a large long-term commitment, departments have to hold candidates for open tenured positions to a much higher standard than for open assistant professor positions. Often departments will only consider candidates for the assistant professor position. Without tenure, US law would prevent holding candidates to different standards because of age for basically the same position.
- Tenure Jail: Since most jobs in the US are not secure, one can change careers midstream without entailing much additional risk. Many tenured professors would be reluctant to leave their risk-free position for another career, even if that other opportunity would make them happier and possibly more successful.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Pitfalls of the Tenure System
In my last post you can find some links and comments about the tenure system. Let me add a few concerns that don't often get mentioned.