CEW Featured in a Nature Journal Article

Nature magazine cover, Nov. 2010CEW is featured in a Nature article about tenure for academic researchers. The Center’s Dr. Jean Waltman is cited in the November, 2010 issue of Nature, a preeminent international science journal. The article, “The Changing Face of Tenure,” is about current trends and benefits of the tenure- and nontenure-tracks for university research careers.

The article draws information from CEW’s recently completed, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation-funded study of contingent (non-tenure eligible) instructional and research faculty at twelve institutions across the country. The author points out that tenure-track appointments have been on the decline in the United States for the past few decades. The article concludes that, while job security and academic freedom are definitely important benefits to tenure, many academic researchers see other benefits to their non-tenure status.

In the Nature article, Dr. Waltman discusses data from the CEW study to illustrate some key factors that help determine career satisfaction among non-tenured research faculty:

• It’s important for them not to feel isolated from their tenure-track colleagues and from their non-tenure track peers across the campus.

• Department chairs play an important role in establishing a climate wherein non-tenure track researchers feel secure and valued.

• Non-tenure track researchers often enjoy the relative freedom from administrative policies, pressures and obligations that “stymie their research.” Dr. Waltman quotes one study participant who believes his non-tenure status allows him to focus on his research, “to think more creatively and to step back and take risks” that his tenure-track colleagues may find difficult.

Read the entire Nature article.

To read more about the findings from the CEW study, read the SloanFinalReport5-10.pdf

Picture credit: Pavel Tomancak