Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More on Tenure

I usually really like DeadDad. But this line in his post today:

It’s about recognizing that the tenure system feeds the adjunct system, and that the only way to get rid of the latter is to get rid of the former.

seemed to strike a really odd note. It seems to be assuming that if you removed job security (aka tenure) from the people with benefits then you would see adjuncts being treated better. This statement assumes a couple of things. One, is that there is a pile of resources locked up by older professors who refuse to work or retire. Two, it assumes that (in no sense) can we consider a gradual fading out of the job to be a form of delayed compensation for the early years of fighting for tenure. I am not sure what it is about deferred compensation that makes people want to break agreements about it so badly but it's certainly a new epidemic.

Finally, he assumes that a surplus generated by reducing the costs of tenure would not be eaten up by: a) administration, b) higher compensation to star professors to account for lower job security or c) reduced funding to the university.

One of the things that tenure works against is the principal agent problem of state agencies: it is hard for a government to regulate bad management without the appearance of corruption. Minimizing the changes that can be done under a single term as a senior administrator (also seen in the civil service) would seem to be a partial solution.

No comments:

Post a Comment