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  • Tenure for College Professors Must be Abolished to Improve Higher Education Standard
  • Posted By:
  • Jamie K
  • Posted On:
  • 25-Jun-2012
  • Invariably, whenever there is any discussion on higher education quality in our country, the focus comes around to tenure for college professors. Evidently there is stark disagreement on this subject.

    Those who support tenure for college professors argue that education for millions of our students is being ruined. They feel that as professors neglect their teaching duties in favour of churning out valuable research.

    In academia, according to critics, stifling orthodoxy is one of the reasons for tenure. This is because tenure only rewards those who have views in tandem with status quo regarding finances, administration and curriculums.

    The only way we can preserve higher education quality in our country is tenure say its proponents. This way, it is possible to set the bar high and retain only those who are really the best.
    Professors will then have enough freedom to challenge students and administrators to do their best even as they advance knowledge in various fields through pursuance of research.

    Those who oppose tenure for professors strongly believe that it is not good for students. They say that research is rewarded over teaching in a system that is enforced by giving professors permanent jobs based on their published work. Throughout our higher education system, they say that research has always been valued higher than teaching.

    At small liberal colleges and at large research universities, professors get paid less by spending time in classrooms rather than on research according to a 2005 study. This study result was published in the Journal of Higher Education.

    Getting their message, obviously professors are busy researching for publications. As we know, most of these publications are not even read by anyone.

    If we look closely enough, adjuncts at the last step of the academic ladder are those doing most of the teaching. They constitute more than fifty per cent of the faculty today and the end results are obvious. There is more grade inflation and lower graduation rates.

    Adjuncts are judged based on student evaluations and this places a lot of stress on them. They strive hard to impress students and resort to grade inflation as they do not have enough time like professors to teach. To make a living, adjuncts frantically shuttle between campuses and are not governed by office hours.

    It is imperative to improve the education quality in colleges by getting professors to spend more time teaching. For this, the tenure system obviously has to go and the teaching ability of professors must determine their evaluation.

    Over the years, if they are unable to measure up to standards, they must not be allowed to continue. Rather than teaching, research must be rewarded say some professors as good teaching is not governed by any objective measure.

    This however is certainly not true. Good teaching is all about contact with students, extensive grading work and preparation for discussions and lectures. If they chose to, school administrators, faculty colleagues and students must recognize and reward these elements.

    What we need now is not to give permanent job security like the tenure does for professor’s accomplishments but reward for good teaching.


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