When I first discovered tenure, I thought it was insane. Tenure is essentially when a college permanently appoints a professor at the institution.
However, tenure is not a lifetime guarantee, but a right to due process. If an institution decides to let go of a tenured professor, it must provide evidence as to why the professor should no longer be employed.
People tend to believe tenure is permanent employment, but about two percent of tenured professors are let go annually. Tenure is not easily achievable, as it takes many years of assessment for consideration.
The process is done through several student and faculty interviews and reviews over an extended period of time. So, is tenure a good thing?
Strangely, teaching is the only profession that provides tenure. The majority of professors at Union have a PhD, which on average takes eight years to earn. While most American adults establish their careers after college, our professors continued their formal education.
As we’re all aware, school is expensive. Tenure is not only a great accomplishment, but also a relief for professors who have spent exceptional time and money on education.
Some may argue that lawyers and doctors go to school for an equal period, but don’t receive the same protection. The average salary for lawyers and doctors is higher than that of professors, but the discrepancy is insufficient to explain why professors are given tenure.
Nothing in life is guaranteed, which is an incentive to work hard. My hesitation with tenure stems from this principle. Will professors lose their incentive to grow and challenge themselves when they receive tenure?
Though this is possible, I am convinced that learning is a fundamental part of professors’ lives that they must look to constantly expand their knowledge.
Several professors have received tenure, but they continue to publish work, attend lectures and conferences, and participate in research. After all, students are still required to fill out evaluations for professors regardless of their status.
While tenure is a relief, it is a support system for professors who have worked hard to earn it. I am confident that the professors who have earned tenure at Union deserve it, and will continue to strive toward greatness.
Students should look at tenure as a pat on the backfor, rather than permanent employment.