Tenure Keeps Academia in Bloom
Thank you for the article ''Don't Eliminate Tenure Just to Trim Deadwood,'' Feb. 22. The authors note that when the tenure system is discussed, the key term used is usually ''deadwood,'' the charge being that professors become unproductive once their employment is guaranteed.
Of course, there is ''deadwood'' in every organization.
But recent studies show that, on the whole, tenured professors do not become unproductive. In fact, they are more productive than their non-tenured colleagues.
A large-scale survey of faculty found that at public universities with research as a major component of their mission, tenured faculty publish nearly twice the number of articles and books or book chapters, serve on far more committees, and teach at least as many classes.
At universities that do not offer tenure, productivity is likewise lower in both teaching and research.
The statistics and a summary of the study can be found in the NEA Higher Education Advocate, vol. 13, No. 1, for October 1995.
Another study of faculty workloads, by the way, found that the average work week for a professor is more than 50-hours long (NEA Higher Education Advocate, Vol 13, No. 2 for December 1995).
Eliminating tenure, it seems, might very well lower the overall productivity of our universities.
John R. E. Bliese Lubbock, Texas
Texas Tech University