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Tenure

Tenure is a topic that has produced much heated discussion in recent years. Some argue that tenure is an outmoded concept, and if institutions are going to remain competitive, they need to be able to have more flexibility to hire and fire faculty as student needs change. Others argue that tenure is vital to the protection of academic freedom and that without tenure we will return to the days when faculty were dismissed for teaching unpopular opinions. Several state legislatures have mandated post-tenure review for faculty, including Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Arkansas. New campuses have been created in Florida and California that do not have faculty tenure.

In addition to the arguments about tenure, institutions have not been filling tenure-track positions as faculty retire or resign to take another position. Instead we are seeing an increase in the numbers of faculty hired on limited term contracts of five years or less and an increase in the number of part-time temporary faculty hired.

The NEA Higher Education website has pulled together resources on this important topic. NEA has a strong policy in favor of tenure. Thought and Action, NEA's referred journal for higher education, has several articles on tenure.