Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Yikes! ALDA raises the ante

Click on the title to this post to read an article at Inside Higher Education titled, "Calling in the Big Guns." Dated March 2, 2009, the article briefly recaps the struggles between ALDA deans over tenure and long term contracts for clinical faculty and librarians. Then, it goes on to tell that the law school dean at Northwestern, David Van Zandt, went to the departing University President there, Henry S. Bienen, to enlist his support in the battle. Bienen sent a letter to 130 university presidents, echoing the arguments of the ALDA deans, that offering tenure reduces the ability of institutions to be flexible.

Interestingly, the article goes on to tell that the letter has stirred up a hornet's nest at Northwestern's law school. Faculty are upset, considering that this letter will interfere with recruiting top notch faculty of all types by giving the message that Northwestern does not really stand behind the concept of tenure. Bienen's letter insists that the attack is not about tenure as such, but about clinical faculty tenure and ABA standards. At least some of the Northwest faculty are concerned that this attitude is the beginning of a more general attack on tenure for all faculty. I am glad to see broader support, myself!

Tip of the OOTJ hat to Helane Davis for alerting us to the article!


Marie S. Newman said...

Only when tenured and tenure-track faculty understand that this campaign could affect their status will there be meaningful opposition. I suspect that they aren't too concerned about the fate of the clinical faculty or of the library director. Call me cynical.

James Milles said...

It probably won't matter for faculty at elite schools--they maintain their elite status by hiring and tenuring the fanciest faculty. Lower-tier schools, though, could see tenure disappear.