Tenure process up for debate

Amy Orr, George A. Westcott III distinguished professor of sociology, will present a lecture on the role of tenure for professors and whether it is necessary in the present day at 7 p.m. on Oct. 9 in Riley Hall 201.

It is titled “Academic Tenure: Needed Protection or Outdated Tradition?”

“I imagine that there will be a very diverse range of reactions to what I will say,” Orr said. “I anticipate that people may feel intrigued, angry, surprised, happy, frustrated, relieved and various other emotions. Perhaps some will even feel empowered. In the end, I at least hope that we are all better educated.”

Orr is the chair of the sociology and anthropology department and has worked at Linfield since 2001.

Her work often focuses on inequalities due to race and sex and especially how those inequalities apply to the classroom.

“This might be one of the most important faculty lectures that I present,” Orr said. “This issue of academic tenure is critical.”

Academic tenure is the position a professor can reach after a certain number of years at a university, and typically the time allotted to reach tenure is a specific number of years. Tenure means that a professor cannot be fired unless there is a just cause for doing so.

Established in 1905, tenure is different between colleges and universities, but once a person reaches tenure it is quite difficult to fire them.

Its creation was seen as a way for professors to speak their minds and develop their own opinions apart from the official opinions of the college or university they worked for.

This allowed for more freedom of speech and a break from rigid authority on college campuses.

This process takes into consideration their teaching effectiveness, professional achievements and service to Linfield, their profession and the community.

“Overall, I believe that the issues that I will discuss affect every college and university, though at varying degrees. Linfield is not an exception. I imagine  and hope, that members of the Linfield community will be able to apply what they learn to our own college,” Orr said.

Olivia Marovich / News editor

Olivia Marovich can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.