Phi Beta Cons

Imagine There’s No Tenure, It’s Easy If You Try

Tenure is the only thing that stands between us and an intellectual orthodoxy imposed by power-crazed corporate interests who wish to stifle the free exchange of ideas. Fortunately, we have guaranteed life-long employment of academics ensuring academic freedom to keep the open dialogue going.

If you buy that, there is some oceanfront property in Afghanistan you might also be interested in. John Brown University philosophy professor James Bruce suggests the unthinkable in this Pope Center article by pointing out that the tenure process itself can stifle the dialogue more completely than forces outside the academy are likely to do. For young professors must be acceptable to colleagues to gain tenure, and if those colleagues are pony-tailed Marxist retreads from the 1960s, as is often the case, or even hipsterish Occupy Wall Street sympathizers, as is increasingly the case, there isn’t much deviation from the party line permitted. Eliminating tenure can free professors from the need to conform to such collegial rigidity.

 

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