The Tenure Controversy

Mann, William R.
September 1973
Education Digest;Sep1973, Vol. 39 Issue 1, p12
The article discusses the issues related to the tenure of faculty in the universities and colleges in the U.S. Continual growth has allowed institutions of higher education to escape the consequences of poor decisions in the past. Instead of greatly limiting the number of faculty granted tenure and holding down expenses, administrators have too often been caught up in a feeling that enrolments and tuition can rise indefinitely in the foreseeable future. But underlying these factors is the slowdown in the growth rate of enrolments and the lack of faculty who will be reaching retirement age in the next 15 years. In a no-growth state, new people and programs depend on getting a foothold by replacing old programs and people. An important element in the situation is the serious waste in man- power represented in faculty members who, though qualified, do not receive tenure because they come up for decision in a period when retirements are low or nonexistent. Rescinding all tenure and relieving selected faculty of their positions could solve current budget problems, but few administrators believe the courts would go along with such a move. Some faculty members who have tenure should be encouraged to broaden their interests along interdisciplinary lines or in areas dictated by changes in student enrolments. It should be noted that most faculty members are in fairly good position to adjust to reassignment and a lower salary if that should befall them.


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