Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Re: Adjuncts and Tenure


I theoretically agree with much of what David says below regarding tenure and adjuncts, but I don’t like to see conservatives and libertarians invoking the elimination of tenure as a sort of free-market panacea while washing their hands of the other problems in today’s academy. Since the elimination of tenure is not going to happen anytime soon, advancing it as a strategy amounts to pitching a speculative hope against a worsening situation as the university deteriorates further in the meantime.

Keep in mind, too, that tenure has also protected good people; much of what opposition there is to the PC university arose from people with tenure. And the liberal arts would be in a better place if more traditionalists had tenure and worked to grant it to other traditionalists instead of abandoning the academy, etc.

Also, the free market has already worked to some extent in academia, and not to the good! Students are lured with resort-like campuses, easy courses, high grades, and professors (including adjuncts) who must please the customers.

But I also have to credit the idea that one needs to think big, and that even beginning to think of “dismantling the club entirely,” as David suggests, can set wheels in motion toward that end.


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