Many academics who don't have tenure can tend to be "cowards," says NeuroDojo's Zen Faulkes. These academics keep their heads down and do their work until they do get the job security that tenure affords. But once you do get tenure, Faulkes asks, "do you make waves? ... Have you used your tenure lately? Have you taken an unpopular position? Took the lead on a cause to make something better?" There are many people who would just as soon get rid of the tenure system, he adds, and if you are an academic who thinks tenure is important to protect researchers against the threat of being fired for doing something new and unexpected, then it's time to start doing new and unexpected things. "Use it or lose it, as the saying goes," Faulkes says. Commenter KBHC agrees, saying, "without the people who have tenure actually using that protection to do something, those of us without it have little to look up to, or look forward to. Plus, I take a lot of risks that I have been advised against, as someone who doesn't yet have tenure. It would be nice to see my senior colleagues sticking their necks out as least as much as I do!"
Mar 28, 2011