Friday, December 30, 2005

Radical Change for Tenure

From inside higher education:

"Three years ago, all members of the Modern Language Association received a letter from Stephen Greenblatt, then the group’s president, warning of a crisis facing language and literature departments. Junior faculty members were unable to publish the books that they needed to win tenure and cuts in library and university press budgets left open the possibility that higher education “stands to lose, or at least severely to damage, a generation of young scholars.”

He called for academic departments to rethink the way they considered publication as a tenure requirement, and his letter set off considerable debate.

Thursday night, a special panel of the MLA offered the first glimpse at its plan to overhaul tenure — and in many ways the plans go well beyond the reforms Greenblatt proposed. As he suggested, the panel wants departments — including those at top research universities — to explicitly change their expectations such that there are “multiple pathways” to demonstrating research excellence, ending the expectation of publishing a monograph. But the panel does not appear likely to stop there. (more)


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