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Cain Advises Caution in Changes to Tenure and Faculty Governance

Cain Advises about Faculty Tenure

by Jewel Caruso

McBee professor Timothy Cain was recently mentioned in The Chronicle article “A Messy Divorce: The Dissolution of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Poses a Novel Risk to Tenure” (Sept. 12, 2023) by Lee Gardner. In the article, Cain expresses his caution about changes to university tenure and the voice of faculty in these decisions.

In October 2022, officials from Indiana and Purdue Universities announced the end of their partnership in Indianapolis. IUPUI faculty were reassigned to either Purdue University or Indiana University. As a result, some senior professors learned that they would no longer be tenured or will no longer have a home department.

For faculty members who found themselves without a department, Purdue University administration offered them "university tenure." Cain said that tenure without a departmental affiliation is highly unconventional and potentially harmful to faculty. He noted that these types of unusual arrangements might be seen as part of “the larger destabilization and minimization of the faculty” occurring nationwide.

Cain stated that the lack of transparency, involvement, and clarity contributes to the “larger undercutting of faculty voice.” He summed up his assessment of the trend toward increasing administrative control over academic decisions as “not good for faculty, and it’s not good for institutions of higher education when [faculty are] left out of conversations.”

To view the full article and the discussion, visit:

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Professor of Higher Education

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