Talk:Tenure

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Summary after history??[edit]

This article seems poorly organized. I wanted to send this link to a friend to explain the tenure system, but it doesn't do a very good job of explaining the concept quickly. It doesn't make sense to me to have the summary "Academic Tenure" section following the history. If someone is looking for a brief explanation of what tenure is, that information should be right at the top, followed by its history and whatever other information might further explain the concept. Unless anyone objects, I propose switching the order of the summary and history sections, placing the summary paragraphs first. Thoughts? Fleep (talk) 13:22, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

I haven't heard any feedback, so I'm going to go ahead and make this change. Fleep (talk) 10:49, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Service to the institution?[edit]

What does "service to the institution" mean in the sentence "teaching intensive institutions value teaching and service to the institution more highly." Is this like management and bureaucracy, or what? - Connelly (talk) 23:53, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Many North American Universities are in essence self governing. There is typically a University Senate that deals with the academic programme of the school, there are departmental committees, university wide committees etc. This is what typically is meant by service. It is not really management. For example, I am currently on a hiring committee, we will do most of the interviewing etc, I will be hiring my own colleague, not some person in human resources. I hope this helps. Dbrodbeck (talk) 01:49, 11 February 2009 (UTC).

Service to the Institution?[edit]

What does "service to the institution" mean in the sentence "teaching intensive institutions value teaching and service to the institution more highly." Is this like management and bureaucracy, or what? - Connelly (talk) 23:53, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Many North American Universities are in essence self governing. There is typically a University Senate that deals with the academic programme of the school, there are departmental committees, university wide committees etc. This is what typically is meant by service. It is not really management. For example, I am currently on a hiring committee, we will do most of the interviewing etc, I will be hiring my own colleague, not some person in human resources. I hope this helps. Dbrodbeck (talk) 01:49, 11 February 2009 (UTC).

Neutral point of view[edit]

Hi. Most of this article seems good, but this section caught my eye:

  • In one debate of the Cornell Board of Trustees, in the 1870s, a businessman trustee argued against the prevailing system of de facto tenure, but lost the argument. Despite the power retained in the board, academic freedom prevailed. Another example is the 1894 case of Richard Ely, a University of Wisconsin professor who advocated labor strikes and labor law reform. Though the Wisconsin legislature and business interests pressed for his dismissal, the board of trustees of the university passed a resolution committing itself to academic freedom, and to retaining him (without tenure).

My problem is the phrase "academic freedom prevailed", and similar. The phrases remind me of Orwellian doublespeak. Here are my problems with it:

  • The word "freedom" has a connotation of righteousness. I know the phrase is used often in media, but that doesn't make it right. Instead, we should use the term "academic neutrality" or "academic-economic neutrality". Those phrases don't have the overwhelmingly positive connotation that "academic freedom" does. We don't want any kind of positive or negative bias at all. "But, how can you be against academic freedom? Do you hate freedom?" See what I'm saying?
  • Furthermore, the word "prevail" is often used in a context with biased words. "Justice prevails". In this situation, the sentence indicates that the author believes "academic freedom" to be a cause worth supporting. However, it is an open question whether tenure, or "academic freedom", is a good thing. This encyclopedia entry should not judge. Hence, we should use phrases like "Despite the power retained in the board, academic neutrality was maintained". That seems much less biased to me.

I think it would be a good idea to review this article for biased, non-NPOV language. Anyone willing to work with me? I think we should also expand and review any articles on so-called "academic freedom". Xiphoris 03:46, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the phrase "academic freedom prevailed" is hackneyed. However, the word "freedom" is properly used. The right to speak openly on one's subject is called "academic freedom." No one calls it "academic neutrality." If you call it anything other than academic freedom, no one (at least no one in US academic circles) is going to know what you're talking about. Wikiant 03:56, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
While freedom may currently be used glibbly by certain governments (let's not go there), academic freedom is an old and established idea. For example, in my (non-US) country, academic freedom is deemed sufficiently important that it is written into the statute under which universities are established [1]. This use of freedom really is a big deal. --Limegreen 06:39, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

I recently tagged the criticisms section as POV. The reason I did this is that without adequate citations—a problem that has been tagged for almost a year now, since June 1996—the section comes off as rather partisan in its presentation of these critiques. Moreover, some editors, such as this anonymous user, continue to edit this section without citing any sources for what otherwise comes off as patently POV language: for example, substituting "Universities frequently permit a laissez-faire management of tenured faculty" for "Universities may permit a laissez-faire management of tenured faculty." First of all, the adverb "frequently," much stronger than the auxiliary verb "may," makes the case that this alleged laissez-faire management style is the norm, but without defining what exactly is meant here by "laissez-faire." This brings me to my second problem with this language: "laissez-faire," when used to describe anything other than free-market capitalism, carries with it the connotation of excessive permissiveness—that is, in this case, the idea that university administrators are giving faculty too much autonomy. This is indeed the point of at least some of the critiques of tenure, but this section needs to cite reliable and verifiable sources. As it stands right now, this section of the article almost completely fails to do so. Job L 16:18, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the criticisms section needs reworking (esp the final paragraph) to avoid excessively POV language and general weirdness- I am especially thinking of the claim that "relatively few tenured professors dissent from prevailing opinion, openly disagree with authorities of any sort, or spend time researching unfashionable topics", which seems a) excessively broad b) unsupported by the provided citation, which is about some random individual case at Depaul and c) ummmm....not very true? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.45.142.13 (talk) 21:31, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Too many examples and too much disorganized analysis[edit]

The article is quite rambling after the opening section (which I rewrote a few days ago) and the history section.

It's good that there are sections on how tenure is awarded and how it may be revoked. But those sections are currently heavy with non-representative examples. While these example cases may be interesting horror stories, they are also highly idiosyncratic. They seem likely to mislead readers who are trying to understand how tenure systems are designed and how they typically operate. I would prefer a more straightforward discussion of typical procedures for awarding and revoking tenure, recognizing that these procedures may vary from university to university. There could possibly be a separate section for horror stories, although I am doubtful that Wikipedia really needs to contain arbitrarily selected anecdotes that had no impact beyond themselves.

The current sections on arguments for/against tenure are disjointed and seem to come out of nowhere. It's unusual for a Wikipedia article about X to start philosophizing over whether X is a good thing or a bad thing. It would be better to discuss facts: (1) Research on the actual (not theoretical) positive and negative effects of tenure on research and teaching quality. (2) History of anti-tenure movements and the arguments and counterarguments that were actually adduced; compare Abortion debate. (3) Reasons that tenure actually exists, whether or not it should. Some of these reasons may argue for the continuance of tenure, some may argue against it, and some may be neutral; but that is for the reader to decide. I have tried to get at (3) somewhat in the revised opening section. Eclecticos 21:38, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

rant against tenure[edit]

From what I can understand, tenure is supposed to stop teachers from being biased the same way as their authorities, like only teaching one theory of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event, while making teachers biased in their own way, like by popular opinion. Allowing them to be biased is supposed to make them teach better, more so than having some sort of a reason that they have to teach better, like to not get fired. If that last part works, then students will remember the biased lessons of the teachers with tenure more so than unbiased lessons from teachers without tenure. —Daniel 17:51, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Tenure may provide a better production from teachers, but what it does do is allow teachers to get away with otherwise inexcusable offenses for the remainder of their careers (and get paid more for it!) Today's public school children are getting short changed by the tenure system and those that take advantage of it; to get fired or even put on probation a teacher on tenure would have to be brought through lengthy legal processess and any reprimands will largly go ignored. Tenure is the very poison that plagues our school system; tenure can be compared to the feeling of utmost immortality a senior feels while pulling his/her Senior Prank on the last day of school: no one can do anything about me because I am invincible! This circulation of thought is dangerous to the fast deteriorating integrity of education in the United States as well as endangering the future of our children with unmotivated, overpaid, and largely inept educators. Tenure must be amended to fit the needs of our children or banished altogether from the formal school system. User:AsorbicAcid--66.122.239.194 06:49, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

AsorbicAcid - That is a very short-sighted rant. I hope it is not included on the main page. Consider a wealthy parent of a crappy student threatening to cause a school administration great grief if a particular teacher does not give their student a particular grade... You would want the teacher to not fear losing their job if they did not cave-in to administration pressure. There are countless other scenerios. Kids make things up and parents, generally, are angry people. The teachers need protection from malicious accusations. Otherwise, the administration may find it easier to just find a different teacher than hassel with the parents. (No, I'm not a teacher - thank God)

no more liberal tenure[edit]

can someone please give a link to an article discussing the recent law about how profesors are not protected by tenure if they voice their liberal opinions in the united states?

There is no law to this effect. Further, the U.S. government does not have the power to enact such a law. Wikiant 13:48, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

What is the origin of the word "tenure"?

do you mean "professors"?

"criticism" section[edit]

The section on criticism of tenure is currently very heavy on unsourced and vague attributions: "Some have argued..." "Opponents state..." "Others criticize..." and ought to be reworked in line with Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words. MSTCrow questioned my placement of the unreferenced tag there -- a "weasel" tag would be fine with me, but since these are questions that have often been debated in print, I think it would be better to find sources to cite than simply to delete the unattributed weasel-worded parts of the section. Hence the unreferenced tag. -- Rbellin|Talk 21:43, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

I think your concerns are somewhat misplaced. Attributing commonly-held arguments to a single source, especially where the source is unoriginal, seems to misrepresent the opinion more than the weasel words. Say I source one of these opinions to a fringe politician from a small country in Oceania (feasible), that would put it in a different light to attributing it to a mainstream politician in the US. The reality is that a variety of people do hold these opinions, and attaching it to 1 (or even 3) skews the opinion by the reputation of those that it is attributed to. None of the rest of the article is sourced (e.g. "Tenure systems are usually justified by the claim that they provide academic freedom, by preventing instructors from being dismissed for openly disagreeing with authorities or popular opinion"), and more than anything else, it could probably do with a {{globalize}}...--Limegreen 23:35, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
Thinking about things that really need to be referenced, I'm intrigued about the assertion that tenure is becoming rare outside of North America. Having applied for such positions in Europe, the Pacific, and the US, that was not my impression (but that is, of course, just my personal opinion).--Limegreen 23:39, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
Hello all, I want to include what I feel is essential to the concept of tenure: that to get tenure, you must prove that you wont use it. This is not a controversial statement, since the process judges and possibly punishes you, and the goal--tenure--is the ability to go unpunished (in one way)... I've realized I can't just edit the article, since the community won't let me (why?), so how do I go abou tmaking this change? I don't feel I need to source this type of change, since it's a widely known criticism of the tenure process which isn't listed. If I am still not able to (who says wikipedia is free?) let me know what type of sources are legitimate 74.101.145.37 05:19, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
I believe that the problem is that your thought is ill-formed. What do you mean by "won't use it?" Do you mean "abuse" tenure? If so, what do you classify as "abuse?" Wikiant 11:21, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, if tenure is assured job security and academic freedom (simplistic), then the only way to use it is to be at a risk of job security you would otherwise be in. Abuse would entail using it for what it's not designed for, which is to give increased job security. I suppose I could write, instead of not using it, "won't put themselves at risk" (in a nicer language:)) Better yet, am I able to quote a passage (3 lines) from a book where it's written best, that has a small snipet explaining it as above? Thanks for the help btw 74.101.145.37 16:17, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
74.101.145.37's comments on tenure and risk are patently misguided. Tenure among academics, like tenure among judges in the U.S., exists precisely in order to protect academic free speech. In many contexts, publishing one's research necessarily entails making statements that are critical of the status quo, to put it mildly. For example, my own field—globalization studies—requires a careful and critical analysis of such things as global neoliberalism and the corporatization of the university system in the U.S. (and elsewhere, too, although I can't speak about non-U.S. university systems). Thus, to publish one's research is a priori to put oneself at risk relative to the corporate powers that be. "Not using tenure" might be fine for someone specializing in fields that do not bear (very) directly on contemporary politics, but for those of us in fields that do, tenure is a necessary form of protection against various attacks on academic freedom. (I would also add a disclaimer here: to argue that academic research is somehow apolitical, or at least ought to be, is to be sorely mistaken and rather naive regarding the nature of much of the work that goes on in many humanities fields, at least.)
That said, there are of course other ways that tenure could be abused—gross misconduct, inexcusably subpar teaching, etc.—but these tend to be overwhelmingly in the minority and in no way constitute a conclusive argument against the tenure system. Job L 16:21, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't get it[edit]

The article quotes a list of reasons for dismissal: "grounds for dismissal are "professional incompetence, neglect of duty, insubordination, conviction of a felony or any offense involving moral turpitude… or sexual harassment or other conduct which falls below minimum standards of professional integrity." This is pretty much the same range of things that other people can be dismissed for. Chicheley 01:03, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Tenured faculty can be dismissed for immorality (which if broadly construed includes all the grounds you list above). But they can't be dismissed because someone thinks their work is mediocre, nor because they piss off their co-workers, nor because their employer eliminates their position ("sorry, we don't need as many scholars of medieval Italy - if you want to keep your job you'll have to do math research").
Actually, in the US, tenure can be revoked because the employer eliminates the position. Most universities have a clause that allows them to fire a tenured professor if the professor's major course of study is eliminated from the curriculum. Wikiant 16:57, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
That's interesting. Not at my university - here, if a department were eliminated from the School of Engineering, say, then its tenured faculty would be reassigned to other departments within the School of Engineering. Tenure is explicitly granted by the school, not by any particular department. Maybe at other universities tenure is granted by a particular department, and exists only as long as the department does. That must provide a loophole where any reorganization of departments (e.g., renaming, splitting, or joining departments) would allow the dismissal of tenured faculty at will ...? Eclecticos 20:49, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
People in other jobs are dismissed for such reasons all the time. In fact, in many jobs in many countries, employees can be let go more or less at whim ("we can't afford to keep you on, and by the way, none of us like you"). In many U.S. states, for example, it is legal to fire someone for being gay, ugly, or old, or having bad breath, although there are national laws against firing someone for being black, female, or disabled. Employment is just a contract between "equals" where I agree to give you some money if you agree to do some work. If the contract doesn't say how long this arrangement will last, I'm free to stop paying you.
The list you quote above mentions "insubordination," which could be anything, but I don't think insubordination actually belongs on the list, unless it is construed rather narrowly in a way that doesn't impinge on academic freedom. Universities can get a bad reputation from interfering with the academic freedom of even an untenured faculty member, let alone cooking up reasons to fire a tenured one: see the AAUP's censure list for examples. Eclecticos 12:22, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Question[edit]

Is it 50 out of 75 tenured professors that lose their tenure, as the article says? Seems like a lot, yet the article states it´s not that common —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.53.212.133 (talkcontribs)

I think you've misread the article, which says 50 to 75 out of 280,000 US tenured professors lose their tenure per year. -- Rbellin|Talk 16:33, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

It would be interesting to have a breakdown of the causes:

1) Sex with students 2) Felony convictions 3) TWI (Teaching while intoxicated) 4) Moral turpitude (whatever that might mean) 5) Budget cuts —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.105.72.67 (talk) 23:05, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

World-wide View[edit]

The tag at the top "This article or section deals primarily with the United States and does not present a worldwide view of the subject. Please improve the article or discuss the issue on the talk page." can be remedied easily. Change the title-- "Tenure: USA Academia" Malangthon 22:52, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

We could also "solve" the problem by re-titling Wikipedia "The Free USA Encyclopedia," but that would not change the need for a broader view of the subject. The article's content, not the title, is what needs fixing. -- Rbellin|Talk 23:29, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
No, that would not solve the problem because that change would itself be inaccurate. There are a great many people who contribute to Wikipedia that are (a) not from the USA and (b) not writing about the USA or a USA persepctive--the analogy goes wide of the mark. The retitling of the section ""Tenure: USA Academia"" would be the best solution. Malangthon 04:07, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Why not just add information about other countries? Surely that makes the most sense? Exploding Boy 05:12, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

because it doesn't apply to most other countries --621PWC (talk) 18:23, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
If not in the title, the US-centric nature of this article should be made clear in the OPENING paragraph, not the second. The assumption made by many contributors and editors that a US view prevails in the rest of the world (even, in the rest of the English-speaking world) is a shame as it devalues the neutrality of Wikipedia.--621PWC (talk) 18:22, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Solved for time being[edit]

Needing an immediate link to the subject of Tenure in its ordinary sense, I fixed the World-wide view tag by preambling the subject showing its ordinary dictionary sense, and then let the page take off the way it is. A Disambig page won't really do it, because it lacks the articles. Maybe a "See also" tag? Anyway, there's been no effort to fix things for a while. JohnClarknew 23:30, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

I'm reverting this change, as it did nothing to help discuss academic tenure systems in non-US countries (the meaning of the globalize tag) while it added a dictionary definition that is out of place in this article. Please see Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a dictionary. -- Rbellin|Talk 23:57, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Can't you see that non-US countries may not use the U.S. system at all? That my edit was an attempt to mitigate the damage caused by allowing an article to be labelled misleadingly to the rest of the world? How about changing it to Tenure (academic)? And create a Disambiguate page? Then I'd be on your side. Meanwhile, try not to be anti-social, it's very non-Wikipedic! Instead, be helpful. JohnClarknew 02:08, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
I didn't mean to be curt -- sorry about that. But I honestly don't see the "damage" that you say is done by calling this article simply "tenure." Given that Wikipedia is not a dictionary, there's no need to have an article on the "ordinary sense" of the word at all (rather than a link to wiktionary:tenure); and the only other article that overlaps with it is land tenure, which is already pointed to by the note at the top of the page. So I don't see a pressing need to rename or disambiguate the article to academic tenure. As Wikipedia:Disambiguation says, it's only necessary to create a disambiguation page when a risk of confusing the reader exists, and I don't see such a risk here. There are only two potentially confused article topics here, academic tenure is (I believe) much more commonly meant than land tenure when the word "tenure" is used by itself, and the note at the top of the page points to the other article anyway. -- Rbellin|Talk 05:51, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Hijacking of Dictionary words[edit]

I placed the following on the Wikipedia:Village pump (policy) page, and the responses are worth reading:

Somebody writes a specialized article based on a common word, and then claims to own the common word. Dr. Johnson would be horrified. Examples: I'm tired of arguing on their talk pages the merits in favor of Tenure and Option being allowed to retain their common meanings, letting the specialized versions take the hindmost in the shape of a parentheticised word describing the specialty, whatever it is. There should be a tag asking for an admin to either get the page name changed, or have it deleted. Meanwhile, I am sure many users who live outside the U.S. and U.K. are feeling deprived of information they have a right to. At the moment, any attempt to enlighten with an edit at the opening with an explanation that this is not the common usage of the word is reverted by a robocop reciting that Wikipedia is not a dictionary. JohnClarknew 07:04, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

  • JohnClarknew 17:36, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Tenure of Office Act?[edit]

I arrived here looking for more on the Tenure of Office Act (an article which is remarkably short for such a controversial piece of lawmaking) but find that that "tenure of office" seems to have nothing to do with this discussion of tenure, since it is clearly not academic jobs that was involved in Johnson's trial. Is the former then archaic American English? This article does seem to be about what the American Heritage Dictionary defines as: The status of holding one's position on a permanent basis without periodic contract renewals, but pertinently further restricts this meaning to academic university appointments, a use which is foreign to me as a non-USA English speaker. It does this without warning me that I am about to read a long discussion, with liberal examples, about internal American academic issues. For what here is called "tenure" I am used to talk of permanent appointments up to a certain age or of a fixed time span (e.g. 4-year appointment), as opposed to temporary appointments. Permanent appointments, whether longterm or short term, carry certain benefits (e.g. a housing subsidy or car allowance) which temporary appointments do not, but dismissing the employee in a both instances is equally "difficult". The word tenure by itself has no connotation of being necessarily permanent, and in our local newspapers it would not be strange to find an advertisement for "Human relations manager, with a four year tenure". It seems to have lost this meaning in the USA. Is this so? --Seejyb 20:17, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Just as a reminder, Wikipedia (not being a dictionary, by design) is not always a good source for information about word usage and dialect variations. Since this article is about academic tenure, it naturally doesn't use the word in any more general sense. To answer your question more directly, my own opinion is that the specific academic sense is the most prominent one in US English usage, but not that the more general sense is entirely obsolete or obscure. The example advertisement saying "four year tenure" would not likely be written by a US English speaker, but would likely be understood. (If you think a disambiguation notice to the Tenure of Office Act would be helpful, perhaps we can add one.) -- Rbellin|Talk 20:27, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Organization[edit]

Shouldn't the article lead with the second paragraph ("Academic tenure is primarily intended to guarantee the right to academic freedom: ...") to define tenure? Trouble is that the current lead paragraph would not fit well as the second paragraph. I leave it up to experts to figure this one out. WikiParker 00:44, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

Tagging unsourced statements[edit]

An editor has added a lot of tags to unsourced statemets. IMHO, it's overkill. Most of these statements are obviously true. Wikiant 21:17, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

  • Below I add summaries of two points based closely on a stated relevant reference. Someone more skilled

than I can include it in the text if viewed useful.

Attempt of US academic administrations to supersede faculty control of tenure process has focused on student evaluation of faculty (SEF). Areas of concern are (i) validity of SEF methodology in salary, promotion and tenure decisions; (ii) lack of coherent set of court rulings; (iii) general propensity of court to accept faculty/institutional agreements and hence the importance of institutions develop individual guidelines on academic freedom, especially in light of wide spread use of SEF; (iv) change in current `closed, mutually rewarding, escaling system' may have to come from external sources such as accrediting agencies. [1]

{1} Robert E Haskell, ``Academic Freedom, Promotion, Reappointment, Tenure And The Administrative Use of Student Evaluation of Faculty (SEF):' Educatioin Policy Analysis Archives: Part I: Galloping Polls In The 21st Century, vol 5, no 6 (1997); Part II: Views From the Court, vol 5, no 17; Part III: Analysis And Implications of Views From The Court in Relation to Accuracy and Psychometric Validity, vol 5, no 16 (1997); Part IV: Analysis and Implications of Views From the Court in Relation to Academic Freedom, Standards, and Quality Instruction, vol 5, no 21 (1997).


Development of academic freedom in Europe arose from faculty and student efforts to escape religous tests and restrictions. In 19th century Germany, modern concept of acdemic freedom formulated. By last of 19th century, it was acheived at Oxford and Cambridge. Academic freedom developd in US in 20th century with perturbation during World War I and by growth of US Communist Party. Formulation started by American Association of University Of Professors in 1915 with its Declaration and follow up Committee on Freedom and Tenure. AAUP's statement in 1940 inserted academic considerations into tenure decision and is often cited as responsible for establishing faculty control of tenure. But in fact state and national legislature have played a large, both positive (e.g., in establishing laws for state universities) and negative (e.g., in loyalty oaths as a condition of federal aid to students and scholars) as have court cases in examining individual cases. Far more important that formal protection of academic freedom is the growing profession tradition based on the functions of teaching, learning and research. [2]

{2} Ralph F Fucs, ``Academic freedom--its basic philosophy, function and history, Law & Contemporary Problems, vol 28, no 3, 431-446 (1963) Jwwilkins 15:50, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

Can you clarify whether these are paraphrases or direct quotations? -- Rbellin|Talk 16:22, 1 July 2007 (UTC)


Tenure-Track versus Habilitation[edit]

As I see it, there are two established paths to academic tenure in the Western world: the tenure-track model as we know it in the US (and perhaps in the UK ?), and the European model of Habilitation, most often associated with German universities, but also used in France and several Eastern European countries. I believe the Wikipedia article should include a more detailed comparison between those two models, emphasizing each one's advantages/disadvantages. That is particularly relevant now that, in Germany specifically, there is an on-going debate about moving away from the Habilitation model creating US-like tenure-track junior professorships. Toeplitz 18:30, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

If there are published versions of this comparison for us to draw on as sources, this would be a great addition. (Can you suggest some sources?) But if the Wikipedia article did this kind of comparison without referring to any sources, it seems likely it would be original research by synthesis. -- Rbellin|Talk 18:37, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Rename article "academic tenure"[edit]

This article is about academic tenure. Why not name it "academic tenure"? --64.181.90.196 05:23, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Please see the previous discussion above for some reasons why not. In brief, there's no reason to disambiguate it, since there are no Wikipedia articles on the other uses of tenure as a word, since Wikipedia is not a dictionary. -- Rbellin|Talk 13:48, 1 October 2007 (UTC)


Special rights to free speech for tenured professors in France?[edit]

The article says:

In France, tenure is granted early (...) and enables them to enjoy special rights to free speech unlike other French Civil Servants.

In France all civil servants are subject to the devoir de réserve and I can't find any source mentioning special exemptions. Dragice 00:52, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Since I got no answer, I removed this part of the article. Dragice (talk) 20:15, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Other Cases[edit]

Why are specifics of "Other Cases" being deleted from "Section 4 Revocation" in the main article? The following material is sourced to CHEd but has been deleted at least twice:

Other cases

Some other cases from: Carolyn J. Mooney, "Dismissals for Cause", The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 7, 1994, page A17 (approximate dates because cases can span many years):

  1. Joseph San Filipo, Chemistry, Rutgers University, ~1988
  2. Emil A. Tonkovich, Law, University of Kansas, ~1993
  3. Tzvee Zahavy, Religion, University of North Carolina at Charlotte and University of Minnesota, ~1995

In this 1994 article, Mooney reports that "Tenure experts estimate that about 50 tenured professors nationwide are dismissed each year for cause.", a number similar to the 2005 Wall Street Journal article cited above. See also the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) website.

I think it is pertinent info that belongs in the Main Article. AdderUser (talk) 20:39, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Changes in tenure criteria to reflect new research formats[edit]

A paragraph on how tenure is changing to reflect new media research / publication formats was recently deleted with the explanation "removing irrelevancy." I re-instated it with the revision of citing some of the prominent organizations recommending this major overhaul (MLA and ACLS).

While I did not include it in the paragraph, further evidence of the importance of this shift lies in the fact that the "New Criteria for New Media" link sourced in the footnote to that paragraph is now the most downloaded article from MIT's Leonardo magazine with 800+ downloads.

Jon Ippolito (talk) 21:48, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

No young researchers?[edit]

From the article: "Note that most European university systems do not allow any teaching by young researchers, postgraduates, post doctoral fellows, or residents." Don't know know what is "most of Europe", but according to my personal experience in several European universities teaching by young researchers and postgraduates is quite common. Don't know anything specific about Germany, which is exactly mentioned, but this sentence is misleading and I suggest to remove it, or at least not to generalize to "most of" Europe. If this is in "some parts", I would like to know where, or if is this university or country dependent rule. Gbaor 16:54, 20 May 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 141.244.34.45 (talk)

Objection to Smolin quote[edit]

I feel that I need to voice objection to use of the quote by Lee Smolin about tenure and string theory (Full disclosure: I'm a theoretical physicist who studies string theory among other things). I realize that in this context, it is immaterial if the content of his quote is correct or not (for the record, I think it's laughably false), but even given that I find it inappropriate. You can presumably find somebody to say the same thing about nearly any given academic sub-field (anecdotally, everyone in string theory would say this about particle astrophysics). Since Smolin is a proponent of the main competitor of string theory, this makes his view very biased and indistinguishable from normal academic rivalry. If the article had many such examples of academics saying this about different fields, I would be much more at ease with the use of Smolin's quote, but as the article stands string theory is being singled out. Even better would be to not use any such biased statements and stick with citing independent studies or items written by unbiased outsiders to the whatever field is under discussion (say, a sociologist studying trends in the granting of tenure amongst engineering professors). Does anyone agree or have a good counterargument? Joshua Davis (talk) 22:19, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Tenure in U.S. K-12 education...[edit]

The tenure article completely ignores tenure in primary and secondary schools, which is the norm in most U.S. states. As far as I can tell, this subject isn't covered anywhere else on Wikipedia, which is highly odd. Shouldn't a major section of the article discuss this practice? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.3.76.47 (talk) 15:45, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

I totally agree with this. I signed on here to say exactly the same thing! How can the writers of this article completely disregard tenure in the USA K-12 school system? 70.169.212.130 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 21:16, 2 June 2011 (UTC).


I actually came to the article for information regarding tenure in elementary schools. With all the controversy and recent legal actions I'm surprised there is not more info on this issue.--Stubborn Myth (talk) 06:30, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

Short clarification about tenure in introduction of article wanted.[edit]

Reading about Isac Asimov, I found the following passage: "Being tenured, he retained the title of associate professor,". Since I didn't understand what happened to mr Asimov, I followed the link about "Tenure" and read this entire article. I'm still clueless to what Tenure is altough it seems to have to do something about his employment. Not being American and not knowing how the academic world is setup in the US, it might be lack of required basic knowledge? Any type of clarification at the introduction would be most helpful though. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 83.250.212.246 (talk) 07:00, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

McCarthy Era[edit]

I've been trying to find a good source for this line "Some professors were dismissed for their political affiliations, but of these, some likely were veiled dismissals for professional incompetence.[citation needed]", but havn't been able to come up with much of anything. Absent a citation, it feels more to me like a defense of McCarthyism then an unbiased statement on the period. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mrstu (talkcontribs) 18:31, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Hmm, yes, it's a problematic line, and it carries a whiff of original research. One might also suppose the reverse: that some dismissals purportedly for professional incompetence were actually politically motivated. I'd say keep looking (did you try Google Books?) and if you don't come up with anything, let's give it the heave-ho. Rivertorch (talk) 19:25, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Stakkato?[edit]

Under "See also" there's a link to the "Stakkato" article. That article is about a group responsible for cyber attacks, and has nothing to do with Tenure. Can someone please remove that? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 186.212.178.161 (talk) 02:53, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. Thanks for pointing it out, but please feel free to make such edits yourself. This is Wikipedia, after all! Rivertorch (talk) 05:54, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Tenure depresses salaries[edit]

The following was deleted by Hullaballoo Wolfowitz as "Opinion/speculation presented as fact". I disagree. In fact to say that all these sources are "opinion" or "speculation" is not, in my opinion, a fair reading of the validity of the sources I cite, although the last sentence could be taken as speculation (not by me, by the way). I don't even think this is controversial among professors (I am a retired professor). But I don't want to get into an edit war.

Another, indirect result of the American tenure system is the depression of professorial salaries. Since the job security provided by the tenure system has economic value, professors accept lower salaries because of it. If tenure were abolished, there might be an exodus of professors to higher-paying, outside positions.[1][2][3][4]

Steve Jobs meeting[edit]

I have twice reverted the addition of S Jobs meeting with the US President about teacher tenure. I would like it if it could be explained why this matters? Did the meeting change anything? How was it 'consequential'? And, frankly, who cares what Steve Jobs thought about the whole thing. Oh, here is my edit [2] which shows the stuff I removed. Thanks. Dbrodbeck (talk) 23:55, 23 November 2014 (UTC)

Effect of tenure on professors' salaries[edit]

The following section I added was reverted as "opinion/speculation presented as fact". I thought it worth preserving nere.


Another, indirect result of the American tenure system is the depression of professorial salaries. Since the job security provided by the tenure system has economic value, professors accept lower salaries because of it. If tenure were abolished, there might be an exodus of professors to higher-paying, outside positions.[5][6][7][8]

deisenbe (talk) 12:10, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ David W. Breneman, "Alternatives to Tenure for the Next Generation of Academics. New Pathways: Faculty Career and Employment for the 21st Century" Working Paper Series, Inquiry #14, ERIC Number: ED424824, http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED424824, retrieved 2014-08-26
  2. ^ Gene C. Fant, Jr., "No Tenure=Higher Pay?", Chronicle of Higher Education, May 18, 2011, http://chronicle.com/blogs/onhiring/no-tenurehigher-pay/28841, retrieved 2014-08-26
  3. ^ J. Andrew Curliss and Lynn Bonner, "Teachers get higher pay but give up tenure in NC Senate GOP plan", [Raleigh, N.C.] "& News Observer" May 27, 2014, http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/05/27/3891976/teachers-get-higher-pay-but-give.html, retrieved 2014-08-26
  4. ^ "The argument that tenure persists because it is an economic benefit, and would be too costly to replace with higher salary, has some validity", Ernst Benjamin, "The Eroding Foundations of Academic Freedom and Professional Integrity: Implications of the Diminishing Proportion of Tenured Faculty for Organizational Effectiveness in Higher Education", AAUP [American Association of University Professors] Journal of Academic Freedom, Volume 1, 2010, http://www.aaup.org/sites/default/files/files/JAF/2010%20JAF/Benjamin.pdf, retrieved 2014-08-26
  5. ^ David W. Breneman, "Alternatives to Tenure for the Next Generation of Academics. New Pathways: Faculty Career and Employment for the 21st Century" Working Paper Series, Inquiry #14, ERIC Number: ED424824, http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED424824, retrieved 2014-08-26
  6. ^ Gene C. Fant, Jr., "No Tenure=Higher Pay?", Chronicle of Higher Education, May 18, 2011, http://chronicle.com/blogs/onhiring/no-tenurehigher-pay/28841, retrieved 2014-08-26
  7. ^ J. Andrew Curliss and Lynn Bonner, "Teachers get higher pay but give up tenure in NC Senate GOP plan", [Raleigh, N.C.] "& News Observer" May 27, 2014, http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/05/27/3891976/teachers-get-higher-pay-but-give.html, retrieved 2014-08-26
  8. ^ "The argument that tenure persists because it is an economic benefit, and would be too costly to replace with higher salary, has some validity", Ernst Benjamin, "The Eroding Foundations of Academic Freedom and Professional Integrity: Implications of the Diminishing Proportion of Tenured Faculty for Organizational Effectiveness in Higher Education", AAUP [American Association of University Professors] Journal of Academic Freedom, Volume 1, 2010, http://www.aaup.org/sites/default/files/files/JAF/2010%20JAF/Benjamin.pdf, retrieved 2014-08-26