> Tenure may provide for change. But it also protects from change.
> It has always been notoriously guilty of that.
> In my opinion, tenure promotes lackluster performance as teachers (as
> if teaching was truly any input to tenure - as the old observation
> goes). I find it hard to agree with Bill Liebhardt that innovation
> is a creation of security. In other words, one would fit the mold to
> gain tenure, then buck the stack? The mold has to be fit to gain it.
> There are some changes, though. Several land grants Universities now
> have directives (even if not physical) to eliminate "faculty
> inbreeding" and encourage (or require) the recruitment of new blood
> into their faculties. This should be in contrast to Hansmeyer. Universities
> are going to be looking for a few individuals with uncommon backgrounds
> and ideas. I am seeing what appears to be more and more of it all the time.
> Hopefully these individuals are embracing change themselves - and
> taking their teaching (the key to change) a little more seriously -
> though that is not particularly what I have been observing.
> Six one way, half a dozen the other.
> J Bach
It might add some bit of information to tell y'all that Texas A&M only
gives tenure on the teaching component of a persons appointment. (At
least that's the way it used to be.) Other places aren't like that.
Auburn gives tenure on teaching-research and extension (outreach).
Promoting and tenuring based on appointment and not strictly research
(regardless of appointment) is a way to change the incentive structure.
Financial rewards to outstanding teachers (as well as to outstanding
researchers) and Extension personnel is another way. Unfortunately the
grants driven agendas (derived from underfunding by state legislatures)
of Universities administrators leads one to pursue research based
extramural funding. Rewards in the form of raises and promotions are
slanted towards researchers and away from outreach and teaching
What I'm saying is it's not the tenure and promotion itself
that is to blame, it's the financial and social (atta-boys) structure
set up by the Universities themselves. In a cat takes the rat takes the
cheese world, the legislatures short change the universities, the
universities increase enrollments, the universities require more
funding, the administrators say pursue grants, the faculty pursue
grants, the faculty work on research, the teaching gets shortchanged,
the students get the short stick, the students complain, the
legislatures and public say the universities are not doing their job.
What's really happening is that the faculty are acting like the
economic animals they are. They are maximizing their own interests and
getting rewarded for it.
What we really need are some administrators who can see beyond the next
FY and who have the gahoots to set up a reward structure for teachers
and outreach. Then an only then (IMO) will we get the innovative
structure we need. The fault is not in the T&P process, its in the