tenuous tenure

the real appeal of tenure?

Some interesting insights into the world of tenure track professorships (otherwise known as the pie in the sky for most Ph.D. candidates).

1. American Federation of Teacher’s 2009 publication American Academic: The State of the Higher Education Workforce 1997-2007

Highlight: The number of full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty members declined from approximately one-third of the instructional staff in 1997 to just over one-quarter in 2007.

2. Patricia Cohen, April 16 2010.  New York Times article The Long-Haul Degree

Highlight: The average student receiving a Ph.D. today is 35 years old, $23,000 in debt and facing a historically bad job market. Adjunct jobs — with year-to-year contracts, no benefits and no security — may be the only option.

The tenure track, appears particularly challenging for women.

3. Auriemma & Klein 2010.  Experiences and Challenges of Women Combining Academic Careers and Motherhood Presented at the AAUP Conference, Washington DC, June 11, 2010

Highlight: women continue to “leak” from the academic pipeline, especially from the tenure track. Of women faculty nationally, 31% hold non-tenure-track positions, 26% are on the tenure track, and 43% have tenure

4. Mason et al 2010.  Keeping Women in the Science Pipeline (outlines the trajectory of women in academia and makes recommendations on how women can be better accommodated)

Highlight: Our current inadequate family responsive benefits for America’s researchers makes no economic sense. In the world of federal grants individuals who drop out of science after years of training represent a huge economic loss and are detriment to our nation’s future excellence

Other resources and interesting reads:

American Association of University Professors – Resources on Tenure

New York Times – Room for Debate – The Professors who won’t retire

New York Times – Essay – The end of tenure?

1 Comment

Filed under academia, Culture, Random

One Response to tenuous tenure

  1. Raekwon

    The cream of the nation goes sour…

    “In America only 57% of doctoral students will have a PhD ten years after their first date of enrolment. In the humanities, where most students pay for their own PhDs, the figure is 49%. Worse still, whereas in other subject areas students tend to jump ship in the early years, in the humanities they cling like limpets before eventually falling off. And these students started out as the academic cream of the nation. Research at one American university found that those who finish are no cleverer than those who do not. Poor supervision, bad job prospects or lack of money cause them to run out of steam.” (Economist)

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