A new study shows that academics who choose to stop their tenure clocks earn less than their colleagues who do not, reports Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed. Stopping the clock — typically for family-related reasons — is an administrative benefit that allows tenure-track academics to extend the deadline for their tenure review. But, according to Inside Higher Ed, "research being presented today at the inaugural meeting of the Work and Family Researchers Network suggests that these new parents have reason to worry." In a study of multiple cohorts of tenure-track faculty hired between 1998 and 2002 at an unnamed research university, the University of Minnesota's Colleen Manchester and Lisa Leslie found that while stopping the clock appears to help junior academics earn tenure, it also results in a salary penalty, one that is most evident for male faculty members. Minnesota's Manchester tells Inside Higher Ed that academia may be less tolerant of male faculty members who stop the clock than their female colleagues, particularly because doing so can be viewed as "a signal of competing commitments." She goes on to suggest that academic institutions ensure that "there is more objectivity in the salary-setting process," stressing the importance of searching for sources of implicit bias.
Jaschik adds that "as more colleges have adopted these policies, many of those who would be eligible for the extra year have debated whether to take it." This new study could make for an additional consideration against doing so, he says.