Three ideas to improve higher education have been floated here in New Mexico and around the country: eliminate tenure, put everything online, and focus on programs leading directly to jobs.
• Doing away with tenure is not a new suggestion; I’ve heard it for decades. To someone not working in higher education, the notion of a “lifetime job” seems pretty farfetched. Who has that kind of job protection these days?
Tenure is incredibly important. It rests on an important tradition in higher education: academic freedom. To me, it is not about job protection; tenured faculty can be dismissed for any number of reasons including dwindling enrollment, program closure and poor performance. The reality is that tenure-track or tenured faculty are in the minority in American colleges and universities.