Legislator targets tenure at Missouri colleges

A Missouri lawmaker has proposed eliminating tenure for professors at all the state’s two- and four-year public colleges and universities.

Rep. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, says he wants to get rid of what educators have set as the gold standard of achievement for college professors.

Achieving tenure is a long, rigorous effort, and it can be fiercely competitive. It’s a status granted through a peer-review process following a probationary period of up to seven years. During that time, an associate professor must produce myriad published articles on his or her topic of research, and show a history of successful teaching experience. Student and faculty surveys are involved.

And at a time when the cost of higher education continues to climb and universities are hunting for savings, Brattin says Missouri legislators support his idea.

The Missouri bill would have schools cease tenure-track hiring in 2018. Unlike a similar bill proposed last month in Iowa, it would not take tenure from those who already have it.

Faculty are pushing back on the tenure issue, saying such a law would spur a mass exodus from Missouri campuses, with the best professors leading the charge. Stopping tenure, some say, would put the state’s schools at a grave competitive disadvantage when it comes to recruiting talent to fill their lecture halls and research labs.

Read more: Kansas City Star

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