12 September 2012

There is no ceiling

At a meeting about tenure and promotion today, our Provost made a comment about changing expectations for tenure and promotion. He said, “If I were to try to get tenure today at the university where I originally got tenure, I don’t think I would get tenure.”

His point was that it expectations were getting higher and higher across the board. As far as I could tell, he either welcomed it, or at the very least did no seem to think this was a problem. I should have counted the number of times he said some variation of “moving forward.” He seemed to think it was logical to ask our new hires to do more than the last people hired, so that the university could “move forward.”

This worried me. Because I look around at what it took for myself and my colleagues to get tenure, and you want the new people to do even more?

Human beings can only work so hard and do so much. There is going to be a breaking point. There is going to be a point where there is no more blood to be squeezed from the stone. There is going to be a point where you drive everyone out of academia except single workaholics. And even a lot of them won’t get tenure.

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