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Indeed, regardless of how the discussion is framed, this power struggle between administrators and educators remains a constant and relevant force. Still, some research comes to support this idea that tenure helps to promote inequality across certain lines. For instance, Evans et al. (2008) remark on the gender and race lines that permeate the educational hierarchy. According to Evans et al., "sixteen percent of faculty in undergraduate and graduate pro- grams are of ethnic minority decent. African-American men make up 2.6% and African-American women make up 2.7% of all faculty (U.S. Department of Education, 2003). These startlingly low percentages are mirrored in most psychology departments where women and ethnic minorities continue to earn less than men on average and are still underrepresented in most academic departments (APA, 2000b; Wicherski & Kohout, 1996)." (p. 50).
This suggests that to an extent which has little to do with administrative power, tenure has been used to advance and protect educators who identify with the hegemonic order of higher education while diminishing opportunities for those in the minority. The text by Williams & Williams (2006) points out that many African-Americans who do rise to the status of part or full-time professors tend to experience a sense of cultural isolation within the profession. (p. 288) And according to the text by Modica & Mamiseishvili (2010), while some changes have occurred which have increased the population of African-Americans in graduate educational programs, their numbers still remain highly disproportionate from their white counterparts. This alone seems a sufficient cause for some measure of intervention. However, there is little evidence that post-tenure review in its current form is the type of intervention which is called for. According to Montell (2002), "post-tenure review has not translated into significant firings of either lazy professors or controversial ones. But this extra layer of evaluation continues to split academics. Some credit it with single-handedly saving tenure; others suggest that it has quietly watered down faculty authority, eroded tenure, and encouraged scholars to focus on quantity over quality." (p. 1)
Ultimately though, this back and forth still leaves us with a firm sense of the importance of tenure as an institution improving the output quality and organizational culture of a university. The eventual findings in the research by English et al. (2009), for instance, show that beyond a reasonable doubt, tenure is connected to certain positive institutional realities. According to its surveys, the article by English et al. finds that "although the findings of earlier studies investigating the relationship between tenure and affective commitment have been contradictory (see Gellatly, 1995; Rhoades and Eisenberger, 2001; Lok and Crawford, 2001), the present research showed employees with more than nine years' tenure had higher levels of affective commitment than those with less than one year's tenure, suggesting that affective commitment strengthens with tenure." (p. 403).
This helps to feed an overarching assumption of the present research endeavor, which is that tenure must at least to an extent be protected as efforts proceed to give it administrative oversight and regulatory control. In proceeding forward from this discussion, compromise will be a strong recommendation.
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Evans, G.L. & Cokley, K.O. (2008). African-American Women and the Academy: Using Career Mentoring to Increase Research Productivity. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 2(1), 50-57.
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Knight, W.B. (2010). Sink or Swim: Navigating the Perilous Waters of Promotion and Tenure: What's Diversity Got To Do With It. Studies in Art Education, 52(1).
Licata, C.M. & Andrews, H.A. (1990). The Status of Tenured Faculty Evaluation in the Community College. Community College Review, 18(3).
Modica, J.L. & Mamisheishvili, K. (2010). Black Faculty at Research Universities: Has Significant Progress Occurred? The Negro Educational Review, 61(4).
Montell, G. (2002). The fallout from post-tenure review. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1-8. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/The-Fallout-From-Post-Tenure/46063
Williams, B.N. & Williams, S.M. (2006). Perceptions of African-American Male Junior Faculty on Promotion and Tenure: Implications for Community Building and Social Capital. Teachers College Record, 108(2), 287-315.
Wilson, R. (2002).…[continue]
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