The Associated Press reported that a biology professor, identified as Amy Bishop, was charged with murder.Here's my comment to that article:
According to a faculty member, the professor had applied for tenure, been turned down, and appealed the decision. She learned on Friday that she had been denied once again.
To blame a de facto personnel policy for causing consternation and illicit behavior is misdirected. The woman, while innocent until proven guilty, should be held accountable for her actions. The why is less relevant.
We do have a problem in higher education, which is intractable and hard to solve. As I often say to my children, and I learned from my old High School science teacher Mr. Barns, "where is it written that life is fair?"
Really, the process of earning tenure is inverted. Those who need it, don't have it. Those who have it, don't need it. If Universities were truly places for discovery and inventiveness, those who are stretching the boundaries of what is known deserve more protection.
Instead, junior faculty members who are fresh out of their Ph.D. programs, or a smidge into an academic career are forced to bend to a "jury of their peers," to conduct research & submit articles and that will be "approved," for publication. This invariably gets us more of the same, or incremental advancement. Those who bust new ground are pushed out by the gate keepers, even if their discoveries are valuable and contribute - no matter that they don't produce a PRJ article.
I suggest we give tenure to new hires at Colleges and Universities, and give only for 7 years. Once you reach the 7 year mark, you should stand on your record. If it sucks, you get terminated. If it's good, you don't need the protections tenure offers. In that respect, it's all fair, and then you stand on your merits. How good an instructor are you? What value do you add to the field? Have you contributed to the advancement of new knowledge? If you don't excel in any of those areas and a number of others, you should be put out to do something else that you may be better at.