Seniors (not the 22 year old kind) and academic tenure…

From George Mason’s provost, Peter Stearns, here. His points on academic freedom are well taken. I also salute his concerns about productivity and salary distortions.

Now let’s look at the data:

De facto, tenure may be going the way of the dinosaurs. Specifically, institutions are using non-tenured faculty to handle increasing amounts of the teaching load. In fact, I would argue that as tenure faculty retire, they are being replaced by adjuncts or contract faculty members.

Where does this all lead?

The data show here suggest a low asymptote, where tenure is part of the compensation package for superstars while the bulk of the teaching will be increasingly handled by others.