Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Desert Research Institute

Here’s good news about the Desert Research Institute:

1.       DRI provides profound economic impact to Nevada, by leveraging $5 for every state dollar invested!
2.       DRI has 558 employees with 140 research faculty
3.       DRI’s non-tenured/soft-money faculty generate own salaries
4.       DRI’s faculty brings $40M into Nevada’s economy!
5.       At any given time, DRI conducts about 300 research projects worldwide


Why should the working man and woman without a college education, and with absolutely no job protection and no ability to negotiate for that job protection be at risk of being pauperized when a college professor, with a Ph.D. and a unique commodity to sell, has a lifetime of guaranteed employment because of his or her being tenured.

There are no legitimate reasons for overly protecting those who need no protection if they are competent and perform their jobs rather than use the protection given them under “tenure” to rip off the institution and therefore, the public.

If tenure has some legitimate components, I want to hear about them.


  1. The legitimate component, Mr. Rogers, is this: the faculty who are incompetent--and of course they exist--need to be evaluated properly. But as it stands now, the reasons for tenure include the following. First, there are administrators (I don't mean just in Nevada) who want things done ONLY their way. Faculty who do not teach according to THEIR plan or do the research they want will, without tenure, be forced out. Second, there are faculty who research controversial subjects, and they will be subject to pressures (a major local power once ordered a UNLV president to fire a faculty member who criticized him; tenure made that impossible, not to mention the president's backbone). Third, faculty will be fired if, without tenure, they point out any corruption or stupidity on the part of those who supervise them. Already at institutions I could name, faculty who dare to question transparently corrupt or inane policies are ostracized and attacked. If you think that, without tenure, the faculty I mention would be protected, I must question how you have been so successful in life, because that would reveal a naivete that most of us would find charming. Those who know you, Mr. Rogers, including good friends of mine and yours, do not think you are naive. Frankly, with your long-term exposure to higher education, I am disappointed that you appear not to realize where tenure has value.

    1. Dear Michael,
      All the protection provided by tenure is provided in a broad statutory scheme. Tenure isn’t needed. The problem with tenure is that it makes it possible for incompetent, unproductive and short sighted professors to keep their jobs for twenty, thirty or forty years when they should have been sent down the road after five years. When professors serve too long they tend to restrict growth and change in the system. Thank for sending your comment, I do appreciate it.