At some point, discussions about the quality of higher education in the U.S. come around to the subject of tenure. And the disagreement could hardly be more stark.
Critics of tenure for college professors say it is ruining the education of millions of students. In pursuit of tenure, they say, professors have become experts at churning out research of questionable value while neglecting their teaching duties.
On top of that, critics say, tenure has become the tool of a stifling orthodoxy in academia, rewarding only those whose views on curriculums, administration and finances are in line with the status quo.
Proponents of tenure say it’s the only way to preserve the quality of higher education in this country. It sets the bar high for professors, supporters say, ensuring that only the very best are retained.
And, they say, it gives professors the freedom to pursue the groundbreaking research that advances knowledge in so many fields, and the security to challenge administrators and students to do their best.