Instructor tenure reform is long overdue

Staff editorial

Instructor tenure needs to be reformed to provide instructors wth more incentive to develop new teaching methods and keep the students motivated. The current system causes instructors to become complacent in their job. It’s not impossible for a tenured instructor to be fired, it’s just difficult.

According to a report by the American Association of University Professors, instructor tenure is “an arrangement whereby faculty members, after successful completion of a period of probationary service, can be dismissed only for the adequate cause or other possible circumstances and only after hearing before a faculty committee.”

“Tenure needs to be looked at closely, and I think that it needs to be reevaluated in terms of its benefits,” said part-time English and journalism instructor Scott Hayes. “I think that if the state of California, or the districts or the administrators got together to reevaluate tenure, or if there were studies done to determine the value of tenure, I would like to read those.”

According to the National Education Association, excellent teaching does not count enough in earning tenure and is not rewarded enough. The tenure process is too rigid and favors instructors with seniority. Although instructor tenure is needed to fully protect the freedoms of instructors, a system should be established in which instructors are more easily reprimanded for their failures and more easily rewarded for their successes.

Tenure instructors should be held accountable for their performance without it infringing upon the sometimes controversial nature of academic research.

“There has to be job security so that people can speak their minds,” said Claire M. Cesareo-Silva, anthropology instructor at Saddleback College, “If you’re writing papers and developing ideas, and doing research, and it might ¬†be about ideas that are not politically¬†fashionable at the time, then it’s meant to protect people.”

Additionally, part-time instrucors who have put years into their respective institutions should be afforded the same protections of academic freedom that full-time faculty are, under tenure.

According to the AAUP, about half of the faculty nationwide is part-time and those who wish to either remain part-time long term should be given eligibility to recieve tenure. The hard work of instructors, both part-time and full-time should be recognized.

“There are some good things about it and some bad things about it,” said speech instructor David ‘Das’¬†Odasso. “The idea of it is right, however it does need some revisions.”

Although changes should be made, change isn’t easily achieved because of strong union influence, changing the tenure system would be like walking in molasses.

“I think the other issue is that the unions that represents full-timers will not budge on that issue at all, and so because of the nature of the strength of the unions…I don’t see much change coming,” Hays said.

The tenure system is undoubtedly necessary. It affords instructors rights that may not have been automatically afforded otherwise in terms of freedom of research and speech. However, although the system is noble it is not perfect, and rights need to be trimmed down and bulked up in different places in orded to better serve students and faculty.