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April 02, 2013

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Jack

Orin,

My sense is that the tenure requirements are essentially voluntary. Yes, perhaps there must be nominal tenure, but based on policies I've seen with no negative ABA action, to the extent that tenure regulates things like pay, teaching loads, course subject matters, and the kids of things that can get you fired (e.g., lack of productivity, failure to be in the office during business hours), it does so based on custom, tradition, and choices by institutions to have pro-faculty policies, not law or ABA or AALS mandates. The for-profits (e.g., Phoenix and Charlotte) go some distance toward giving the institution the kinds of authority that a boss in the business world would have to define successful job performance and impose discipline, including termination, in its absence, but are nonetheless accredited.

Jacqueline Lipton

And I should perhaps clarify that in my earlier comment I wasn't contemplating a situation where some schools offer tenure and others don't. As long as there are schools that do offer tenure, it will never be in the institutional interests of other schools to not offer tenure. They obviously wouldn't be able to compete for top faculty. I was making a comment about tenure generally. I was not suggesting that it would ever be in a school's interest to prospectively dismantle tenure while other schools retained it.

Anon

Thirty seconds of Googling would reveal that the degree to which tenure is currently required by the ABA is disputed:

http://bestpracticeslegaled.albanylawblogs.org/2010/08/03/aba-current-standards-do-require-tenure-despite-assertions-otherwise/
http://newsandinsight.thomsonreuters.com/Legal/News/2011/11_-_November/ABA_committee_considers_dropping_tenure-policy_requirement/

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