Tenure Discussion Essay

Tenure Discussion

The academic tenure system being followed by universities ensures academic freedom to senior professors. The system rewards excellent academic performance especially research. However, there is an increasing need for meaningful post-tenure review. Such review is required to maintain faculty vitality.

Tenure is essential to maintain the academic freedom of senior faculty. The faculty needs to think out of the box and sometimes think in unorthodox ways to actively contribute to research and academics. Further, only such faculty members are promoted to tenured positions that have shown excellent performance in research, administration and research. Tenure is an excellent method of enabling academic freedom. According to one perspective, it is the non-profit nature of the universities that necessitates that faculty members assess the university administration (Brown. W, 1987).

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However, in several cases the tenure process itself is suspect. Tenure is granted only to those faculty members who have publications and research grants to their name. Criteria like teaching abilities and administrative skills do not count toward the award of tenure. In addition, the tenure process triggers off fierce conflict within the university. The suggestions of one group of faculty are turned down by another group and this vitiates the academic atmosphere in the university. From one stand point, tenure is an incentive system that has gone wrong (Carmichael. L, 1988).

In my opinion post tenure review is important because tenured faculty members are left to evaluate their own professional output and set their own performance standards.  In short, there is little incentive for senior faculty to strive hard. Even those that seek recognition must take the route of research publications. In my opinion  post tenure review should be serious an should include important criteria like the effort the professor puts in to stimulate student interest, the manner in which the person applies theories to present day problems, the way in which he integrates knowledge from different disciplines and how he pursues new knowledge.

To sum, tenure is important to ensure that senior professors get the freedom and protection they need to do research, think creatively and contribute to their field. However, systematic, fair and meaningful review of their performance is essential to ensure self-renewal of senior faculty.


Brown. W, (1987), “University Governance and Academic Tenure: A Property Rights Explanation”, Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, Vol. 153, pp 441.

Carmichael. L, (1988) “Incentives in Academics: Why is There Tenure?”, The Journal of Political Economy, 1988, vol. 96, no. 3.