Fixing Tenure as it's clearly broken as a means of ensuring a high quality work force at many colleges
This is a very raw idea, but in my view, one of the things that is clearly holding academia back from a clear aggressive approach to developing new knowlege and advancing innovaion is this notion of life time employement known as tenure. Essentially, those that have tenure don't need it, and those that need tenure don't have it. I suggest we invert the tenure rules and give tenure to people only in their first seven years on a campus, and then all faculty should stand on their own merits.
Tenure, or the myth of life time employment creates a set of trade offs for faculty in an gambit that limits the ability of people to more directly be rewarded for advancing work. Also, in order to obtain tenure, junior faculty members work to become published in the usual journals, writing work that will be screened by the usual gate keepers. This leads to isomorphism, and prevents ground breaking and frame breaking innovative research in disciplines that are seen as heretical or outside the bounds of whatever tradition dictates what qualifies for tier one publications.
Invert tenure - give it to new faculty members who would need the protections of academic freedom to conduct the research they found most intriguing emerging out of their Ph.D. training programs. Upon working for 7 years under these protections, it is removed, and then you are measured by regular performance reviews and stand on your own merits. Can you continue to teach in innovative and invigorating ways? Do you conduct & publish applicable & viable research? Do you perform high quality service to students and the university? If not, you should be worried, but if so, you should be rewarded on your merits.
I think we would see more people busting out of the usual paradims of what we know to be the formulaic appraoch to research, which leads us to only slight variations on a theme, versus, if we let loose the shackles of tenure, we would find more invetiveness and creativity among the faculty ranks. More Eureka moments, if you will, and less, gee whiz, isn't that interesting results. Also, we might find more people willing to replicate prior works to test the theories as of now, there isn't a whole lot of testing of the tried and true statndars of the canon.
I don't have any. Any thoughts would be much appreciated,
This is completely my idea. This moves well beyond post-tenure review, and other ideas of the past. What this means is that we are wanting to remove the tenure decision as the defacto lone point for an up or out vote as to if a faculty member is worthy of employment, and also allows universities more lattitude to eliminate the deadwood that is clogging our Ivory Towers to this day.