Expand Tenure, Don’t Weaken It


When Clark Ross sent me “Toward a New Consensus for Tenure in the Twenty-First Century” for possible inclusion in Academe, I was immediately interested. Not only was I seeing the ramping up of attacks on tenure but I have always felt the system too weak, if anything. My family moved every couple of years as I was growing up because of my father’s radical beliefs within his field, politically and in teaching methodology. Had tenure been more broadly applied, my life would certainly have been different and my father’s career, I suspect, would have been more successful. One of the reasons I did not start an academic career myself until in my fifties was that, naturally enough, I did not trust it.

When I did teach in those early years, it was mostly as an adjunct. Over two decades (more off than on), I taught at eight schools—and…

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