Inside Higher Ed
by Joshua Kim
May 12, 2019
What percent of your salary would you trade for tenure?
The people I have in mind to answer this question is anyone who identifies as an academic but is not eligible for tenure.
The question of what percent of your salary you would trade for tenure may sound like an academic version of Sophie’s Choice.
Nobody is getting rich on an academic salary. The choice to forgo some pay that is already allocated to housing, car payments, or (in my case) your kid's college tuition payments may seem like no choice at all. But this is only a thought experiment.
I would give up half (50 percent) of my salary for tenure.
Tenure, for me, would be less about “economic security.” (See part 2 of the AAUP 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure below). Although economic security would great, it is not something that exists nowadays for almost anyone who depends on a paycheck.
Tenure, for me, would be all about academic freedom.
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