Letter to the editor: Tenure isn’t needed

D'Vonta Richard


Who knew that faculty members at a public institution could be eligible for and receive tenure and the affair could remain clandestine, even to the recipient. 

Of course, tenure has had its opposing viewpoints, but that doesn’t mean that those receiving tenure aren’t able to be at least notified when they have been awarded it.

The ideology of tenure is inviting. I mean, who wouldn’t want job security in market where there is trench warfare between traditional lecture and online and distance e-learning. 

That is, suggesting that financial sustainability does not serve as an ever lurking regulator of tenured senior positions and junior and adjunct positions, but I digress.

Tenure as well as a tenure protocol is necessary because it protects faculty from unjust dismissal of candidates with dissenting political viewpoints on issues of higher education, among others. 

Secondly, tenured faculty have opportunities to express their scholarly efforts by experimenting with unconventional ways of teaching and service that, based on their experience and merit, work. 

Moreover, there is absolutely no doubt that honor should be given where its due.

Still, there are some reservations. 

On what merit are you [reviewing committees] basing eligibility for tenure? 

Will the procedures/guidelines serve as the puppet master for non-tenured faculty until they become tenured, jumping through all the bureaucratic hoops until they finally get to educate and serve in ways that will work for them, their students, and this university? Furthermore, I don’t think tenure should be an objective for one to obtain to be satisfied  with their position. 

To me, the situation says “hey, I can do almost anything I want because not only do I have a degree that certifies my competence to teach. I also have another certificate called tenure certifies the certification to competently teach, if I so choose.”

 Lastly, tenure doesn’t protect any faculty from losing their tenure and position if financial woes impede the University’s ability to pay and/or hire faculty, whether or not the objective was to receive tenure by protocol, rather than merit based solely off of their accomplishments, their relationships with their students and peers, and their personal and professional development.

If the eligibility for tenure is based on merit, one should not concern themselves too much with a tenure process, the length of time to receive tenure, or requirements to even be eligible. 

One would truly, concern themselves with welfare of the students and their education, the professional development of themselves and their peers, the University and its commitment to its mission(s) through its educators, and the overall community in which all of these parties operate, and serve it as they see fit.