Study after study repeats the shameful truth: the legacy model of DTH* SchoComm remains in existence solely as a means of allowing tenure committees to justify whatever decisions they arrived at within the first two weeks of each candidate’s first arrival.

They provide no value in terms of new information: if your field is moving slowly enough for current research to be fossilized in paper, then sad to say, your field is already dead, and the only way that you can hope to obtain a chair of your own is through careful studies of actuarial tables.

With billions of dollars wasted each year on such an unconvincing amanuensis to the gods of departmental politics, it is time to address the problem at its roots: the funds currently used to purchase thinly sliced sheets of dark sullied cellulose should be used to guarantee tenure to all new hires who successfully remain alive for seven years.

Although these sums would not sufficient to endow chairs for all who begin the process, with creativity and imagination it is not hard to see how numbers could easily be brought into alignment. Just as “high stakes” testing can be used to guide the promotion of those beginning the academic journey, “sharp stakes” testing can guide the promotion of those approaching its pinnacle.

As students are governed by the strictures of the Honor Code, faculty can be guided by a Code Of Honor. Indeed, if the viciousness of academic politics is the result of the stakes being so small, it is hard to see how this new regime cannot but raise the level of discourse within the academy.

A Learned Society Is A Polite Society.

Simon

* Dead Tree Hugging

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