Tenure – What is it and why does it matter?

Definition:

1. (noun) The status of permanent employment in a university or other academic setting–often used in reference to professors.

2. (noun) The right to remain employed until retirement.

Significance of Tenure

It is important for students entering college to understand how tenure might affect their learning experience. The goal of many college professors is to earn tenure, so they work hard, sometimes for many years, to achieve tenured status. They become experts in their fields by researching and publishing their findings and are rewarded with tenure.

When professors reach tenure status, they enjoy the security of knowing that their job is permanent.

Many professors consider themselves to be researching professionals first and teachers second. In fact, while many professors are talented and caring teachers, few PhDs ever take classes that focus on how to teach.

It can be helpful for college students to view professors as people who share their expertise. Their role is very different from high school teachers. They share their knowledge by lecturing, and assess their audience by testing and giving grades.

Pronunciation:

TEN – yer

Examples:

The history professor was granted tenure early last week.

Dr. Robinson was disappointed to learn that she would not receive tenure.