Tenure is being challenged across the country with state legislators calling for it to be abolished. Advocates of tenure cite job security and academic freedom as two of the main reasons for preserving this decades-old tradition. However, tenure has created an archaic hierarchy in many community colleges comprised of full-time faculty with full rights, privileges, job security, and benefits and adjunct faculty with literally no rights, no privileges, no job security, and no benefits. Many adjunct faculty earn minimum wages and thus are compelled to seek other employment, often teaching in a nearby city or even state. With master's and doctorates in tow, they live from paycheck to paycheck barely making ends meet. Abolishing tenure could level the playing field and enable adjuncts to finally achieve equity.
Discussion #1: What are the advantages and disadvantages of not having tenure in two-year colleges?
Discussion #2: What can be done to promote equity for adjuncts?
------------------------------Pat BarrientosEl Paso CCEl Paso TX------------------------------
The main advantage for tenure at a community college is job security, academic freedom, and higher pay.
While job security is an advantage, it can also be a disadvantage. If there is a teacher who is not performing well (missing meetings, not answering emails, not volunteering in the department, etc.), then it would be very hard to terminate this teacher due to tenure. Many community colleges offer multiply year contracts in lieu of tenure. These contracts are only renewed if the teacher gets a positive evaluation. It causes teachers to be reviewed every few years.
Most tenured faculty get reviewed each year as well, but rarely does a negative evaluation result in termination (at our school). At our school, a teacher needs to receive an unsatisfactory evaluation two years in a row to get terminated. After the first unsatisfactory evaluation, the teacher will be told how to improve. Then the teacher has a year to make these changes. Only if the teacher does not make the changes will they be terminated. However, missing meetings and becoming complacent usually does not result in an unsatisfactory evaluation. The teacher may get a satisfactory evaluation and may miss any merit pay increase, but will still retain tenure.
That was a long-winded explanation to say that tenure could cause a few teachers to become more lazy in their jobs.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of not having tenure in two-year colleges?
The advantages and disadvantages of not having tenure in two-year colleges will be in the eye of the beholder; an exasperated administrator may have one view, and a good instructor who is not liked by their new supervisor may have a different opinion. <u1:p></u1:p><o:p></o:p>
But I write to take issue with the statement "Abolishing tenure could level the playing field and enable adjuncts to finally achieve equity."<o:p></o:p>
I do not see any way that abolishing tenure would level the playing field, unless the implication is that there would be fewer full-time positions–and I do not see how getting rid of good full-time jobs is in the best interest of anyone. The gig economy is a downward spiral for workers in any field.<o:p></o:p>
Our adjuncts do suffer from the inequities cited in the original post, as they do almost everywhere. But in my experience those who have fought hardest to change this are their tenured, full-time colleagues, as well as unions. Their goal was and is to raise up adjuncts to equitable conditions with full-time, tenured faculty, not pull down and diminish our professional educators, and thus our profession.<o:p></o:p>
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