Opinion | Education should be taken more seriously than tenure
Published: Friday, April 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 23:04
Miami University has always prided itself on putting importance on undergraduate education.
Our school has long been ranked high for its undergraduate teaching. In 2011, the U.S. News and World Report, ranked Miami University third in the nation for undergraduate teaching amongst other highly recognized schools.
This means our school devotes more time and effort to promoting teaching than other university activities, such as research.
This strategic feature of our school is one of the strongest reasons why we students choose to study here.
However, the tenure of university professors has long been a public debate, probably even dating back several decades ago.
It has long been considered that tenure is something that brings a type of job-for-life protection or insurance unlike any other.
Tenure makes firing and other disciplinary penalties virtually impossible.
But this unmatched job protection gives the professors the freedom to express their ideas and conduct research without the fear punishment.
Time Magazine’s 2010 Best University President and currently the highest paid public university president, E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State University, has tackled this controversial issue for several years.
He claims the current tenure review system does not stay relevant to the students nor to the outside world. Therefore, a new approach to tenure is needed.
It must be recognized the university institution was based on education and should still be on education, not on research. While many universities get a large portion of their endowments and funding partially or explicitly for research, there are those who invest in the higher quality of education.
Forgoing teaching and focusing on research brings upon the idea universities are encapsulated upon short-terminism.
It is short-terminism because universities are focused on hunting for research funds, rather than educating students.
As opposed to development of technology, education does not add value to the economy directly or immediately. Education instead creates individuals with better skills and intuition.
These individuals will man those technological machines and it will be these individuals that change society by innovation.
Considering the current situation of the job market, I believe corporate employers would be more likely to recruit students from universities with better teaching practices.
After all, it makes economic and financial sense because those students would need less professional corporate training because they have actually received a strong education in their university years.
There are many ways universities and institutions could add value to society, but I believe the best way for them do it is to provide higher quality education.
Therefore, the current tenure review system should be revisited and revised to parallel the core function of higher education.