The economy is depressed, money is tight, and universities are feeling the pinch. One radical proposal for trimming budgets is to eliminate tenure-track positions, shifting faculty to part-time and full-time non-tenure-track positions. The move away from tenure has been slowly brewing for decades. While core tenure-system positions comprised approximately 55% of all faculty in 1970s, by 2003 that number had dropped to 41% and further still to 31% in 2007.
Dan Clawson
Image: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
linkurl:Dan Clawson,; tenured professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who described concerns about abolishing tenure in linkurl:an opinion article; published online in Science today (May 29), has some strong views on the subject. He detailed his argument in a conversation with The Scientist. The Scientist: What was your motivation for writing this opinion piece? Dan Clawson: We did a study at our university and we found that in 2005...

Editor's note (May 29): This article has been updated from a previous version to include related articles.

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?