Understanding tenure and why your teacher can’t be fired
Being a professor is not easy. It can have its uncertainties, but getting tenure is an honour and achievement for any teacher. Tenure is a term used to describe a senior level professor and is essentially the best job security in the academic world.
Most professors will strive for tenure, and it is something to look towards when they start working for a university. It is the gold standard of teaching.
“Tenure has given me the freedom to speak and write. I can speak freely in class,” said David Taras, a professor in the faculty of communications.
“I can do my research and write freely and I can express myself in ways that are honest, and so it relieves the pressure that might come from big corporations or governments to silence professors.”
Getting tenure varies between universities throughout the country. At Mount Royal University, it will typically take either three or five years and is mostly weighted on published research.
An employee who fulfills all the expectations that a university has of a faculty member , will make a good candidate for tenure Manuel Mertin, the provost and vice-president, academic at Mount Royal University said.
Mertin took over the position at the start of the school year — he was previously the dean of the faculty of arts for 10 years, and is now responsible for deciding which candidates receive the illustrious title.
Although teaching is an important part, tenure relies on more than just teaching; you have to fill certain requirements set by the university. The important part with most universities is published research in your field of work, which takes a lot of self-discipline to accomplish.
MRU is currently shifting between two tenure systems, from the old college system that took only three years to the new five-year system starting this year, Mertin said. With the previous tenure requirements the candidates only had to show the potential for research, while with five-year tenure a lot more focus is put on published work.
Professors coming from different institutions who have started the tenure process, can bring up to two years to Mount Royal without having to start the process all over again.
Getting tenure is challenging — it takes years to complete — but once a professor does, they have it and don’t have to worry about losing their job or benefits until they choose to retire.
Tenure is the ultimate job security in a profession, but that is not true if the information that was provided during the application is fraudulent. It also does not mean that a prof can do whatever they want; they can still be fired if cause de facto is provided.