Monday, June 1, 2009

Another good article -- Tenure and the Future of the University

Science, May 29, 2009:
Vol. 324. no. 5931, pp. 1147 - 1148
Education Forum

Tenure and the Future of the University

(Here is the link for non-DU people.)
by Dan Clawson
"The fundamental rationale for the tenure system has been to promote the long-term development of new ideas and to challenge students' thinking. Proponents argued more than 60 years ago that tenure is needed to provide faculty the freedom to pursue long-term risky research agendas and to challenge conventional wisdom (1). Those arguments are still being made today (2) and are still valid. However, a 30-year trend toward privatization is creating a pseudo–market environment within public universities that marginalizes the tenure system. A pseudo–market environment is one in which no actual market is possible, but market-like mechanisms (such as benchmarking and rankings based on research dollars, student evaluations, or similar attributes) are used to approximate a market."
The article goes on to explain the advantages and disadvantages of the tenure system. In the end, the author says that universities shouldn't treat themselves as businesses, but as centers of "knowledge where students are educated (not just trained)."

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