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4 thoughts on “What does it mean to have tenure?

  • steph

    I see the method of obtaining an offer of tenure, as grovelling, deceiving and pretending to conform – but now it seems there is another way: anarchy. But what is the point of tenure? Not academic freedom. It just means you’re no longer free to leave. You get stuck in a wedge! :-)

    • Chris Brady Post author

      I am not so cynical. Having gone through it and seeing others go through the process, at two institutions, I know that it is an open process that is made as transparent as possible. (It has to be or litigation is inevitable.) Sure, we can’t just write about anything, if you are an historian you have to do good history and be recognized as such by peers. I suppose one could call that grovelling and pretending to conform but it is like any other job at that point: here are the expectations and your path to meet them.

      What is the point of tenure? I comment more on that here. It is not just academic freedom it is also security and benefits that are offered in exchange for forgoing higher salaries and perks that exist in other fields. It is not a ticket to complacency since continued pay raises and promotions are tied to continued productivity. I think it remains a useful system that, like anything else in society, continually has to be evaluated and modified.

      (And sorry if I took your comment too seriously. I saw the :-) but wasn’t sure which bit you were smiling about, the wedgie perhaps?)