Posted in Education by Justin Paulette
The Hoover Institute's Uncommon Knowledge host Peter Robinson's recently interviewed the inestimable Harvey Mansfield on the categorical leftism of American universities. Professor Mansfield is always worth hearing in his entirely.
Nice. That is one of the only really good arguments I have ever heard in favor of tenure. Thank you.
It is a great irony that the most protected jobs in the world should breed timidity and conformity. I think 10-year contracts make more sense -- given what I've heard about the increasing use of "gypsy teachers" they are well down the road in eliminating tenure already. Probably take a couple of generations before it's truly gone.
Still, Redwald, one would have to prove that timidity and conformity were correlated to tenure. I have a feeling that those two traits can be traced back not to tenure, but to a rather more pervasive first cause. More simply put: tenure isn't the problem. The problems are what Mansfield points out in the interview, which would have existed regardless.
I'm not saying that tenure is the problem, I'm saying that tenure doesn't have the effect it is supposed to. Why have it if it doesn't work? Who knows, professors might even be more reasonable (by that I mean sensible/rational) if they lacked such iron-clad job guarantees.
As I said, I think it is headed that way. I have a friend or two in academia, and they tell me that "faculty governance" is a joke -- the "suits" run universities these days. Of course, my friends work at large universities -- I've no idea if that's true at smaller colleges and the like.
When aiming for intellectual diversity, I'm not sure that opening up the academy to the whims of the market is the best bet either. But yeah. I agree that there is a problem, just have no idea how to solve it.
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