Friday, June 29, 2012

Competition & Tenure

An examination of the tenure concept will reveal that it is a concept that is driven by the marketplace.  That is, Nevada schools grant tenure because all of the other schools across the country grant tenure and Nevada schools cannot compete with other schools without granting tenure.  This is one of those concepts where you ask: “How can tenure be wrong in Nevada when it exists in every other college institution?”  The answer is that it has no place in higher education anywhere in the U.S.

Remember that tenure creates a lifetime employment contract between the university and the professor which in reality cannot be terminated by the university.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tenure (June 28, 2012)

The creation of tenure with all of its faults has had one overriding shortcoming.  That is, without tenure, the entire higher education world would be unable to recruit professors.  If Nevada, with support of its Regents, eliminated tenure in its higher education institutions, Nevada would not be able to compete for the best faculty in the nation unless all other states eliminated tenure and obviously that will never happen.
Even a super star professor at another institution who felt totally secure with his or her academic achievements, and who would have no fear of being terminated, would still be reluctant to come to a Nevada higher education system if it had no tenure.  It is unfortunate that this is a higher education philosophy because it will lead to the further reduction of finances by legislatures and private donors who don’t like “feeding a dead horse.”  

Remember that tenure creates a lifetime employment contract between the university and the professor which in reality cannot be terminated by the university.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tenure/Paranoia

For faculty members with extreme philosophical or political values, there is even greater paranoia.   Even though tenure protects nut cases, incompetent, and no longer productive faculty, which costs the universities hundreds of thousands of dollars to terminate, other faculty members are still not persuaded that tenure should be diminished.  The universities never seem to prevail in litigation between the institution and faculty members who were terminated for cause that involved reasons that you and I would feel were obvious and legitimate to terminate that professor.  The “pro professor bias” created by tenure is for the most part impregnable. 

Remember that tenure creates a lifetime employment contract between the university and the professor which in reality cannot be terminated by the university.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Higher Education Tenure

Beliefs and facts are often different and the beliefs usually control the facts.  One example is higher education tenure. 

Faculties really do believe the only protection that academic freedom has is tenure.  In spite of other constitutional protections, faculties think tenure is more protective.   A parallel case would be Title IX.  Despite the fact that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protected all people, including women and minorities, from employment discrimination (as well as other forms of discrimination), women were, nevertheless, not treated equally in higher education in numerous ways (employment, acceptance to graduate programs, etc).  It took the very specific language of Title IX--implemented in 1972--to give women equal rights in higher education employment decisions and, most notably, in athletics.  

Faculties see the constitution and other statutory protections as inadequate to assure academic freedom.  Regardless of any and all other protection, faculty members believe that only tenure gives them full protection.  

Remember that tenure creates a lifetime employment contract between the university and the professor which in reality cannot be terminated by the university.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tenure Eliminated?

I am not na├»ve enough to believe that tenure can in any way be changed and I certainly don’t believe it can be eliminated.  But let me give you my thoughts on how a monster like tenure, which eventually will prevent UNR and UNLV from reaching a competitive status of the other universities in this country, will finally motivate the Nevada legislature and governor to further curtail funding of higher education.  The Republicans have figured out that public higher education is a disaster.  It is inefficient in many respects (tenure is one of the most serious problems) and the only way to eliminate these problems is to close the system down because they can’t be fixed.

The next two weeks Twitters deal with my observations.  

Remember that tenure creates a lifetime employment contract between the university and the professor which in reality cannot be terminated by the university.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Analyze The Tenure Policies

I assumed I would catch hell from the faculties at the various higher education institutions in Nevada because of my position on tenure.  My prediction was correct.  The responses however have not changed my opinion that the defects in tenure far exceed the benefits.
If there were not so many laws and regulations that protect academic freedom, I could see the continuation of tenure as long as its shortcomings were repaired.  But given the protection of a multitude of laws to academic freedom when I examine the flaws of tenure, I can’t find a reason to sustain it.

I would urge the Board of Regents to fully examine and analyze the tenure policies of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Remember that tenure creates a lifetime employment contract between the university and the professor which in all reality cannot be terminated by the university.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thoughts About Tenure (continued)

If tenure was designed with the expectation that it would allow, or even force faculty to take positions that were sometimes contrary to those of the administration, I haven’t found that to be true.  The fear of retaliation by a superior is just as great today as it was before tenure was adopted.  People who will take a stand on an issue seem to me to be ones that will do so regardless of a support system like tenure.  Those who will not take a position on an issue, and that is by far a majority of academics, remain timid and shy even though tenure supposedly protects them.

My conclusion is that tenure does not have the effect of pushing those who have strong feelings against the administration policies to express those differences.  Rather, the effect of tenure makes it nearly impossible for a higher education institution to remove the incompetent and unproductive faculty who prevent the institution from moving forward.

Remember that tenure creates a lifetime employment contract between the university and the professor which in all reality cannot be terminated by the university.



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Message For Sandoval

Here’s a short message for Governor Sandoval.  I believe your approach to higher education is shortsighted, especially considering that you graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno.  Overall cuts of the higher education budget have the strange effect of removing good programs and eliminating young professors who are creative, ambitious and energized.  These young professors who are non-tenured are the first to go as a result of budget cuts. Tenured faculty is the last to go because of the rights that come with tenure.

There are probably few incompetent tenured faculty members.  But the issue for me is not competence.  Rather it is a total lack of motivation to move forward and make changes that are necessary because tenure creates a comfort feeling that is anti-change. 
Governor Sandoval, I therefore urge you to have the tenure rights and obligations examined at the seven higher education systems that have tenure.  By the way the DRI faculty does not have tenure.

Remember that tenure creates a lifetime employment contract between the university and the professor which in all reality cannot be terminated by the university.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Thoughts About Tenure

If the Nevada Republican Party wants to do something for education in Nevada, rather than do everything possible to destroy the Nevada Higher Education System as it has over the last 40 years, there is one area the Party can examine, improve and change to save millions of dollars and move a higher education system forward that simply refuses to move forward.

The area of concern is tenure which is not necessary to protect the competent professor but is only in place at this time to protect the incompetent professor while at the same time ensuring that the higher education institution will not change, improve or move forward. 

Every business owner in Nevada should think of this.  Assume that you hire an employee and under a series of Nevada laws you cannot terminate that employee until the employee decides to retire.  Imagine being stuck with any employee for 40 years.  Tenure has that same effect.  It not only protects the incompetent, it ensures that there will be little or no progress in the higher education system.

Remember that tenure creates a lifetime employment contract between the university and the professor which in reality cannot be terminated by the university.


Monday, June 18, 2012

More About Tenure...

Often times faculty believe that tenure has additional requirements for promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor. However, it is never clear that an Associate Professor without tenure has fewer qualifications than his or her colleague with tenure. Why, then, are the levels of protection much higher when, for both, the current laws provide adequate levels of protection on thought, speech and philosophy?

Remember that tenure creates a lifetime employment contract between the university and the professor which in reality cannot be terminated by the university.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Tenured Faculty

THE GREATER THE NUMBER OF TENURED FACULTY THE MORE DIFFICULT IT IS TO IMPLEMENT CHANGE.   Therefore, the cost of education increases for the students because necessary change is often resisted  by tenured faculty. Tenure is a privilege one earns at a certain level of productivity, scholarship and ability. However, too often it protects the holder of tenure against incompetence and a reasonable level of workload. That abuse is detrimental to the needs of students, the state and the quality of the academy.

Remember that tenure creates a lifetime employment contract between the university and the professor.




Thursday, June 14, 2012

What Tenure Creates


During difficult financial times, tenured faculty have a greater sense of job security compared to non-tenured faculty of the same academic rank.  Academia is out of date with societal measures of accountability and productivity. Tenure has created, at least symbolically, a sense of being untouchable. Tenure impedes the process of critical institutional strategic decisions that could enhance cost efficiencies, academic effectiveness, and program change that would be in the best interest of today's students, the university and the State.

Remember that tenure creates a lifetime employment contract between the university and the professor.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

More On Tenure

Tenure enhances the resistance to change and the much needed reforms of higher education in American society today.  Tenure creates a conflict of interest among other faculty groups that do not have tenure.  For example, clinical faculty do not receive tenure when their scholarship and teaching responsibilities are equally rigorous and important.

Remember that tenure creates a lifetime employment contract between the university and the professor.



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tenure Has Outlived Its Usefulness

Faculty rank and the level of compensation is and must be independent of tenure. Therefore, what is the purpose of tenure?  Tenure has increasingly created a false sense of long-term permanent employment notwithstanding performance. Because there are established policies that institutions use to evaluate faculty (including but not limited to post-tenure review which is a much more recent evaluative process and of questionable rigor) that are associated with faculty promotion, ethics, productivity and professional conduct, tenure has over reached its original intent of protection in the classroom and laboratory. Tenure has outlived its usefulness.
Remember that tenure creates a lifetime employment contract between the university and the professor.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tenure


Because there is adequate protection for all faculty (academic freedom and the 1st amendment protections guaranteed for everyone) irrespective of faculty rank, tenure is an outdated and abused practice of academia. Tenure is an archaic description of rights granted for the protection of thought, philosophy and utterance when there were no laws to protect academic practices. That is no longer the case and the abuse of tenure has been detrimental to the needs of society.

Remember that tenure creates a lifetime employment contract between the university and the professor.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Good News About DRI


Here’s good news about the Desert Research Institute:

1.       Approximately 50 DRI faculty teaching and advising students on other NSHE campuses.

2.       DRI invests ~ $1.4 M/year (non-State funds) for support of grad students at UNLV and UNR.

3.       DRI’s total revenue about  $58 million, yet DRI accounts for only 1.05% of higher education’s budget.

4.       Since 2000, DRI has leveraged $98.6M (State operating budgets, includes State capital budgets) funding to attract $391M in external Sponsored Projects.

5.       DRI ranked 23rd in R&D expenditures in the environmental sciences at universities and colleges by the National Science Foundation.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Good News About CSN


Here’s good news about the College of Southern Nevada:

  1. CSN health sciences students contribute more than a million hours of uncompensated patient care each year to Southern Nevada.
 
  1. All of CSN’s dental hygiene graduates passed their national boards and 98% passed their Nevada licensure examination on the 1st attempt this past year. CSN dental hygiene graduates achieve employment within 1-6 months of graduation on average.  

  1. CSN’s Entrepreneurship Incubator has successfully seeded and opened 15 local businesses over the last 2.5 years. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Good News About UNR


Here’s good news about UNR:

1.       UNR’s part-time MBA now ranks #4 in the nation by BusinessWeek.
The College of Business is listed in the Princeton Review Best Business Schools guidebook and among the best undergraduate business programs by US News. The College of Engineering ranks among the best undergraduate engineering programs AND among the best graduate engineering schools.

2.       UNR’s Early Childhood Autism Program is an international model program.
This successful treatment program for autism is part of the psychology department’s highly regarded Behavior Analysis Program and is one of only a handful of such university-based programs in the country. 


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Good News About UNLV


Here’s some good news about UNLV:

1. UNLV generates more than $1 billion in economic impact every year.

2. UNLV’s International Gaming Institute provides gaming and hospitality education and training to casino and gaming industry officials locally, nationally and internationally. UNLV and UNR announced a partnership to co-produce one of the world’s largest conferences on gambling in Las Vegas, a clear indication of the power of UNLV’s intellectual capital.

3. The Center for Academic Enrichment and outreach coordinates the largest suite of federally funded TRiO and GEAR UP programs in the nation, helping middle and high school students get ready for college.





Monday, June 4, 2012

Truckee Meadows Community College


Here’s some good news about Truckee Meadows Community College:

1.    Truckee Meadows Community College's Maxine S. Jacobs Nursing Program is the top program in Nevada providing qualified healthcare professionals to the region each year.

2.    Truckee Meadows Community College's dental hygiene and dental assisting programs continue to give back to their community each year through programs like their recent Dentistry from the Heart event, which provided $60,000 in dental care to more than 120 uninsured people.

3.    Truckee Meadows Community College is home to the nation's first geothermal plant operator program and is preparing students for a growing industry right here in Nevada.

Last year, NV Energy helped Truckee Meadows Community College to build an innovative renewable energy classroom and now offers a full renewable energy degree program.



Friday, June 1, 2012

Nevada State College

Here’s good news about Nevada State College:

1.       NSC’s education graduates work as K-12 teachers in over a third of Nevada’s school districts and in other professions such as counseling, advising, and human resources.
2.       NSC nursing graduates are employed by every major hospital in southern Nevada and in a variety of healthcare professions.
3.       The percentage of NSC students who belong to an ethnic or racial minority group is over 50% in 2012; this has grown every year since inception, from 26% in 2002.
4.       The NSC School of Education ranked first in “Quality of Instruction” and second in “Satisfaction with Faculty and Courses” and “Overall Program Effectiveness” in a recent nationwide survey of teacher preparation programs conducted by Educational Benchmarking Inc. (EBI).

Footnote:

Wouldn’t you like to have a job where no one had any substantive control of your activities?  Wouldn’t you like a job where even though it was eventually discovered  that you were incompetent, because you had been given a lifetime professional employment agreement, you could only be terminated for criminal acts?

I would like that for myself.  But then again, I’m not a college professor.  I don’t have tenure.  I’m obligated to perform my duties at the highest level every day in order to receive my bi-monthly paycheck.