Erosion of academic research by tenure Distortion of scholarly work by competition for tenure
Academics are naturally attracted to the job security offered by life-long tenure, especially in a constantly shrinking job market. But in order to achieve tenure they are under considerable pressure to compete for the limited number of tenured positions. The academic politics involved in achieving tenure can involve intrigue and disreputable behaviour which is detrimental to the quality of academic life. The process encourages conformity rather than the freedom of thought that it was designed to protect. The pressure to "publish or perish" leads to considerable output but of questionable quality. The tenure system creates a privileged class of workers in an economy in which all jobs are increasingly at risk or the subject of rethinking. Consequently there tends to be an accumulation of uncreative and ineffective academics which the tenure system makes it impossible to remove when appropriate.
Competition for academic tenure wilts the vitality and effectiveness of academics at the expense of students. The process of achieving tenure is in the worst interests of students, since professors have too little time left to devote any creative energy to the teaching responsibilities.
The academic system of tenure is vital to the protection of free thought and research. Viable research would become extremely difficult if tenure was not there to protect long-term projects. Tenure also protects academics expressing unpopular views.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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