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Abhijit BhaduriGuest Author

Should Professors Get Tenure

By Abhijit Bhaduri

Tenure

Teaching has long been considered to be a “noble” profession. They shape the future of our progeny. But the path towards becoming a professor is hard and time consuming. In US, they chase the mirage of becoming a “tenured” professor – a process that lasts up to a decade if one is lucky. “Publish or perish” keeps them doing research and writing papers that no one may read or use. They have to keep publishing papers in journals just to keep their foot in the door.

Tenure grants them freedom. According to Quora, “In IITs, an Assistant Professor applicant is expected to have 3 years of Post-Doctoral experience (Yes, they should have a PhD degree). Although an assistant Professor is eligible for becoming “Tenure”d professor after 3-year experience, the common practice for granting the tenure is after 5 years.”

Besides job security, it lets professors take sabbaticals. Thats what is now at risk. For cash strapped colleges, tenure is often granted on the basis of the professor’s ability to get research grants from corporates.

It was meant to provide a professor the intellectual freedom to pursue research even in areas without interference from corporate interests and politicians who might not like an outspoken professor. Critics argue that while funds for tenured professors come from tuition fees, very few tenured professors actually teach.

Tenure equals freedom

TenureSeveral young professor’s dream of getting tenure. Then they can pass on the tedium of teaching to adjunct faculty while they focus on research. When professors have to hunt for funds from corporates, they have to do research which has a buyer with a budget to spare.

Unable to raise tuition fees further, colleges are snipping away and dropping the idea of tenured professors. Many colleges are doing away with the practice. Without the security of tenure, who will be left to pursue an idea which is counter-intuitive? We need academics to stop us in our tracks and rethink our assumptions. That is what a tenured professor is supposed to have the freedom to do.

Read on….

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abhijitAbhijit Bhaduri works as the Chief Learning Officer for the Wipro group. He lives in Bangalore, India. Prior to this he led HR teams at Microsoft, PepsiCo, Colgate and Tata Steel and worked in India, SE Asia and US. He is on the Advisory Board of the prestigious program for Chief Learning Officers that is run by the Univ of Pennsylvania. Visit http://www.abhijitbhaduri.com/   and follow me on Twitter @AbhijitBhaduri

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