Wednesday, September 12, 2007

here's why tenure!

click the title to this post to see an entry on Brian Leiter's Law School Reports. Erwin Chemerinsky was hired as dean at the new law school, U. Cal, Irvine.

Yesterday, the Chancellor of the University of Cailfornia at Irvine flew to Durham and fired Chemerinsky, saying that he had not been aware of how Chemerinsky's political views would make him a target for criticism from conservatives.
and he hadn't even started deaning yet.

Also, here is a first-person account from September 5's Chronicle of Higher Education about what tenure means. Briefly, the author (these people quite often write under pseudonyms, the paranoia of tenure) comments,
I look forward to the day when I can turn down a committee appointment that will take up way too much of my time and does not interest me in the least; when I can speak freely in meetings without fear that I'll be looking for a new job next year; and when I can go for a period of time without feeling the pressure to write something new, and I can actually dig into a long-term project and savor the research process.
This junior academic sees the tenure process with pretty clear eyes. It requires real commitment in order to make the tenure goal; it's not a simple process.
My friend "Mark" just went through his third-year review. It didn't go well, but he thinks that he can turn things around with a few superficial changes. Mark believes that if he just keeps his door open a bit more and shows up to one or two more campus activities, the administration will believe he is plugged in to campus life, which is terribly important at our college.

Mark does not understand that he has to make deep changes in the way he feels about students here. He seems to see them now as an inconvenience, preventing him from spending time on his writing, and it shows. That's not good in a teaching institution like ours.

I have another friend, "Doug," who was recently denied tenure. Doug, too, was unwilling to make deep changes in his job performance in order to reap the long-term benefits of tenure. He was told that he needed to increase his involvement with students. Instead, he did the bare minimum. He was unwilling to make the investment required for the few years until he came up for tenure, which, had he earned it, would have resulted in another 20 or more years of full-time employment.

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