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Education: Tenure Protects Freedom Essay

1073 words - 4 pages

The question to be answered in this paper is rather faculty tenure should be eliminated within higher education. The debate with faculty tenure goes back some 70 plus years. In the past twenty years the face of tenure has changed, which has led to the need to re-evaluate the issue in higher education. As stated by Schloss & Cragg (2013);
“Tenure protects academic freedom. Yet, the percentage of tenured faculty members has decreased relative to other types of institutional employees of higher education, and in recent legislative proposals has sought to eliminate or curtail it, raising questions about the best ways to ensure academic freedom in the 21st century” (p. 224).
Tenure is vital to the value of a student’s education, high levels of commitment and performance of faculty, and academic freedom. Tenure protects the learning and research that is produced through colleges and universities.
Student’s Value
The value of a good education for a student is the ability to learn, graduate in a timely manner, and implement in their jobs what they have gained from their education. Another value for students is engaging them so that they will go onto further their education through graduate studies. As stated by Ehrenberg & Zhang, (2005) “increases in either the percentage of faculty that are part-time or the percentage of full-time faculty that are not on tenure-tracks, is associated with a reduction in graduation rates” (p. 651). The percentage is greater in larger public colleges and universities (Ehrenberg & Zhang, 2005, p. 651). The value of a student education is magnified when they have professors that are experienced and have the expertise in their field of study. The experience and the expertise comes from the ability to research and provide though provoking experiences, that without tenure may impaired the faculties desire to pursue.

Commitment and Performance of Faculty
High levels of commitment and performance of faculty come from having a sense of security in their jobs. As stated by Premeaux (2012), “Tenure may help attract well-qualified individuals to higher education, because without job security protection would opt for higher paying private-sector jobs” (p. 122). If faculty feel that, they are in a secure position they are then lifted of obstacles that distract them from research and educating individuals. I believe this makes the quality of education higher for students.

Academic Freedom
The third and maybe most important reason for tenure is academic freedom. It is important to understand that “academic freedom has long been a controversial but cherished privilege granted to the stewards of higher education” (Schloss & Cragg, 2013, p. 186). Faculty should have the freedom in research and in their publications to evaluate topics that will provide an add value to the institution and the community to serves. They should be able teach controversial issues that help students gain an overall understanding...

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