Inside High Ed has a story on a Florida state university that will not have tenure. What struck me about the article was not that the university won’t have tenure, but the argument for why this is a good thing:
“We don’t want the [professors we hire] to be worrying within the first five or six years whether they’re going to be tenured or not.”*
The faculty contracts will last for one, three or five years, and will be renewed based on merit “rather than on a set rule within the boundaries of tenure,” Darkazalli said. He said that abandoning the tenure model means that faculty members will be less inclined to pursue the kind of “trivial publication and research” professors on the tenure track sometimes feel is required of them to succeed**, and instead focus on teaching and research beneficial to their students.
* Not added: “We want them to feel their livelihoods are in jeopardy each and every year.”
** Also unsaid: “We want them to tackle the really big questions. The ones that might take one, three, or even five years to answer.”