Monday, October 08, 2012


This is my application.
I swear...I could have researched and written two more articles in the time it took me to amass evidence for tenure.
What a big honkin' waste of time.


Anonymous said...

A waste of time? It's the nature of the University. When you obtain tenure, you will have a job for life unless you fail to meet your classes, grade your papers, or engage in criminal activity.

With tenure you will be able to publicly criticize the University adminstration. You'll be able to research the topics you want--no matter how controversial.

With tenure, you'll have it a little easier than your colleagues in the public schools, Id say.

Richard Day said...

I confess that after 5 years, I'm still coming to grips with "the nature of the university." It is at once invigorating and frustrating. The ability to research and make a meaningful contribution to policy and pedagogy debates is great. But university policies sometimes get in the way of productivity. And, one gets the distinct impression that review committees care more about style, font size, page length and what color paper one's application is printed on than the substance of the work done.

As for speaking one's mind, I haven't waited for tenure - and suspect that anyone who is waiting for tenure to speak up probably doesn't have much to say.

But tenure in college is different from tenure in the K-12 world. That's for sure. I'm not sure the work gets easier but there is more peace of mind.

K-12 teachers clearly have a harder job teaching. That's for sure, too. But then, the addition of scholarship and service on top, tends to level out the load.

I think most folks keep on working after tenure just as before. After all, our work is meaningful to our lives, right? But I can see how someone might become jaded by the process and adopt a bad attitude.

My grumbling notwithstanding, being a principal is a more consuming and more difficult job than being a college professor. So maybe I shouldn't complain at all.

Oops. Too late.

Anonymous said...

Limited accountability (if any) for student performance and freedom to instruct and assess students not to mention the right to say "no" to your chair or director - that sounds like a pretty sweet deal compared to teachers.

"Level out the road"? Come on now, you might want to walk through the building and see how many office doors stay shut with lights off 90% of the time. The one thing I really appreciate as an administrator is the freedom to walk around the building and not be tied to my one classroom for practically the entire day.

As I have said before, I see a heck of alot more K-12 folks matriculating up to post secondary work than I do flowing the other way, gotta figure that says something.

Richard Day said...

October 9, 2012 4:17 PM: I take your point about work load. I'm here a lot and therefore pretty well know who isn't. Yet, it's probably not fair for me to assume what that means. As courses increasingly go online, since field work is required for some research, and since service tends to happen elsewhere - perhaps we shouldn't expect productive faculty to be in their offices. Or perhaps, I'm just making excuses for unproductive colleagues.

I work out of my office as much as I do because I find that I'm more productive when surrounded by all of my resources. When I do work from home, I tend to get the laundry done and the grass cut.

My own experience is that I like to work hard and believe I did so in K-12 as well as postsecondary worlds. I find that I feel better about myself if I can see some opportunity to make a contribution. So my comparisons really come from my own experience and may not be the same as others.

Anonymous said...

I agree, what a big honk'in waste of time. If a principal in a school can 30 or so teachers a year, I don't see how a committee of peers needs all this junk as evidence you were doing something the last five.

Just antequated process that we have allowed to ballon into something it shouldn't be. I would have no problem with forgoing this and doing like community colleges and just getting rid of tenure and all the hoops associated with it. If I am doing my job, there shouldn't be a problem. That model seems to work well for the rest of the professions.

The silliest part is the terminal contract. You get told in December that you aren't good enough to stick around for whatever reason and you get to not only finish out the year but then get another year in addtion in the form of a terminal contract. How does that benefit teaching, service or scholarship?