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Jonathan Ichikawa

I think a helpful discussion will need to include finer-grained distinctions between kinds of institutions. R1s are the only kind on your list that I know well, but standards vary tremendously between them. Some R1s hire Assistant Professors with the expectation that if they do a fine job and publish a paper every year or two, they'll be tenured (and very rarely give tenure denials); others treat the tenure/promotion process as a very serious bar that few will pass. So I don't think we can speak in a very meaningful way about "tenure standards at R1 institutions" as a category.

Marcus Arvan

Hey Jonathan: thanks for the suggestion. How do you think the series should distinguish between them—maybe “elite R1’s” (e.g. Harvard, Princeton, Leiterific places) and “non-elite R1’s”?

Singapore Academic

Your list of different kinds of institutions is a North American list. Do you intend this series to be about tenure in North America only or tenure more generally? If the latter you might want to add other categories to cover the institutions in places like Hong Kong and Singapore that follow a tenure system.

Marcus Arvan

Singapore Academic: great point. Can you and others let me know what categories there are outside of the US system? I’m unfortunately not terribly familiar with institution types and tenure outside of North America.

Jonathan Ichikawa

I'm afraid I don't know the answer to your question, Marcus. I just don't have enough comparative information to be able to speculate very confidently. What I can tell you with confidence, based on my experience and that of some of my friends I've spoken at length with, is that among major research institutions, there are some vastly different tenure cultures. Level of prestige might correlate, but I just don't know. (I'd suspect university prestige is a better predictor than departmental prestige. The culture for this sort of thing typically happens at a much higher level than the department.)

Another factor that I'm sure makes a significant different is labour protections. An institution with a unionized professoriate is going to be much likelier to have more transparent procedures that make tenure denials on flimsy bases more difficult. Certainly that is my experience with UBC, where tenure denials are rare.

TT Prof

Private R2s? Or maybe it might make sense to discuss Unis with PhD granting programs -- not all of those are R1s.

Looking forward to the series! It's absolutely necessary. Tenure requirements vary wildly, are often arbitrary, and unevenly applied, even within a given department. It will be good to have this discussion. Thank you!


Nice idea for a series, Marcus!

As for institutional breakdown, perhaps:
1. Leiter-ranked R1s
2. Non-ranked R1s
3. R2s (broadly construed to include all PhD granting programs).

Or you could just be really broad and say that R1 includes all PhD granting programs with a 2/2 load.

No matter how you divide it up there will be some outliers.

Also, I am a philosopher on TT at an R2 but not in a philosophy department. That could also be a category...

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