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On tenure

September 17, 2008

Penni Stewart, President of CAUT, defends tenure, and in terms those who only see the bottom line may accept. In closing, she says

There is a good deal of evidence that shows merit pay schemes are generally counterproductive (making more work than they stimulate). Academics are not primarily motivated by money. To the extent that merit pay has any impact, it is to divert faculty away from teaching and taking on long-term research projects in favour of short-term fashionable efforts that result in articles in academic journals.

Rewarding “excellence” may sound like a great idea, but managerial strategies that encourage faculty members to give short shrift to their students and institutional responsibilities are probably not the kind of “accountability” that tax and tuition payers have in mind.

Not the the writer of the commentary that prompted her defense is likely to be persuaded. Someone should tell him that there is no such thing as a kinder, gentler free market capitalism.

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