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Tenure晋升如何保证质量?以哈佛为例 精选

已有 22529 次阅读 2012-12-25 14:44 |个人分类:教育科研|系统分类:海外观察| 哈佛, 哥伦比亚, 康奈尔, 何毓琦, Tenure

Tenure晋升如何保证质量?以哈佛为例

2012.12.25

人们都知道哈佛大学的教授水平高,但却较少知道这样的的教授水平是通过多么严格的Tenure考评来保证的。

哈佛大学退休的何毓琦教授在他2007年5月16日的《一个大学教授在美国的生活》博文中说:

我是在1965年拿到哈佛的终身教授职位的,那之后的30年里,我们系没有授予任何一位系统科学领域的年轻教授终身职位。尽管哈佛校长和各系主任绝对不敢承认,我早早就意识到而且不断地教导年轻同事们:“哈佛付你钱是为了让你维护并不断提高它的世界声誉的,别的都是次要的。” 因此黄金法则一:尽早建立你的国际学术声誉。

何毓琦《一个大学教授在美国的生活》(Life of an Academic in the US)博文链接:http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-1565-2157.html

何先生说他们系在30年里没有授予任何一位系统科学领域的年轻教授终身职位,这一点不假。

我曾在哈佛深红报(The Harvard Crimson)上看到一篇1992年4月22日的题为Climbing The Ladder To Harvard Tenure(哈佛Tenure的晋升阶梯)的报道上面说哈佛大学在1984-85年度共招了49名Tenure Track的助理教授,其中只有37名在三年后有资格进入下一阶段成为副教授,通过的只有35人(Associate Professorship,哈佛副教授没有Tenure),而六年后这35人种只有24位进入Tenure评审,最终只有6人在七年后通过Tenure评审成为哈佛大学的终身职教授,占49人中的12%。

哈佛深红报Climbing The Ladder To Harvard Tenure(哈佛Tenure的晋升阶梯)报道链接:http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1992/4/22/climbing-the-ladder-to-harvard-tenure/

当然并不是所有名校获得终身职的比例都这么低。同属长春藤联盟的康奈尔(Cornell)大学网站上说该校近年来进入Tenure考评程序的人种大约有50%获得晋升,考虑到进入程序的人数一般比六年前招聘的tenure track助理教授人数要少,所以这个比例应该不会高于40%。哥伦比亚大学的数据没看到,估计其比例总会比康奈尔大学要低一点点。当然,在很多公立大学和排名不那么靠前的大学获得Tenure的比例普遍会比这些名校高一些,这主要取决于各校的定位和竞争力,但估计一般不会比50%高多少。

当然,正如何先生在《关于终身职位和预备终身职位》博文中所说:“在哈佛等一流大学,未获终身职位绝不表示失败,不必为此而感觉脸面无光。据我所知,哈佛曾有四分之一的内部候选人获得终身职位,而未获终身职位者之后有的摘得其专业领域的重要奖项,有的当选院士,也很成功。”我在前几篇博文中提到的Geoffrey Wilkinson在1955年未能获得哈佛大学化学系的终身职,他在十八年后获得了诺贝尔化学奖。

何毓琦《On Tenure and Tenure Track-关于终身职位和预备终身职位(中英对照)》博文链接:http://blog.sciencenet.cn/home.php?mod=space&uid=1565&do=blog&id=296395

在Climbing The Ladder To Harvard Tenure这篇文章开头提到的没能在哈佛获得终身职的Alan Brinkley,后来在哥伦比亚大学做教授,是当今美国最著名的历史学家之一,他在2003-2009年间还曾任哥伦比亚大学的Provost(大学里面的的国家总理)。他在做Provost这几年里面最重要的任务之一,大概就是去决定年轻教授的Tenure考评和升迁。估计他在做这个决定的时候肯定不会随便放水。

当然,文章中提到的Mark McConnell后来在Oklahoma州立大学做了9年的终身职副教授,后来辞职到工业界工作,2012年又回到Princeton大学去做讲授微积分和实分析课程的讲师(Lecturer)。相比之下就没有那么成功了。

哈佛大学Tenure晋升如此残酷,那些没有拿到Tenure的人还没有纷纷跳楼自杀,其原因当然在于其Tenure评审程序公正和过程透明,如有疑问,在不同的阶段还可申述。美国很多大学的Tenure Review详细程序,在其网站上都可以找到,并不是只有经过tenure评审晋升过程的海归大牛才知道。比如下面的链接就是哥伦比亚大学目前的Tenure Review指南,详尽得连请校外同行专家评审的信件模板都有提供。有兴趣的朋友可以自己下载来参考。


国人近年来信心爆棚,整天嚷嚷着要实现中华文明的伟大复兴和建设世界一流大学,可是在如何提高综合国力和提高大学和研究机构的水平上却不得要领。正如胡适之先生当年说自由平等的国家不是一群奴才建造得起来的,高水平的大学和研究机构也不是一群自以为是的不知天高地厚的下三滥的教授和研究人员群体能够建造起来的。有些人总是打着反对精英主义的旗号反对在中国大学和研究机构实行保证教授和研究人质量和学术自由的类似Tenure考评的行之有效的制度,我所能看见的只是这些人自己好不了,在内心里面也不希望其它任何人好,哪还管得整个社会是否受益?

只要稍微了解一下哈佛大学这样的地方是用什么样的学术标准建立起来的,为什么美国的上千所大学都采用不同层次的Tenure制度来规范其学术制度和保障学术自由,就应该知道中国的学术界起码应该朝哪个方向前进。

如果硬要反其道而行之的话,那就不只是可悲,而且是可恨了。

哈佛深红的Climbing The Ladder To Harvard Tenure中对于哈佛的Tenure制度有更多的信息和详细的讨论,有兴趣的朋友可以自己去读一读英文原文。这篇报道太长,做中文翻译太费劲。抱歉!

*******************************************************************************
哈佛深红报Climbing The Ladder To Harvard Tenure(哈佛Tenure的晋升阶梯)报道链接:
http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1992/4/22/climbing-the-ladder-to-harvard-tenure/

April 22, 1992

Climbing The Ladder To Harvard Tenure

By Joanna M. Weiss,
By now, it's a familiar story.

The junior professor is popular, well-regarded, beloved by undergraduates and graduate students alike. She spends seven years at Harvard, teaching popular courses that win acclaim in the CUE guide.

In the seventh year, her tenure case comes up for review. The ladder to tenure is fully in view.  Instead, the professor is sent down the Harvard chute, and out the door.

It happened to Alan Brinkley, who for three straight years packed Sanders Theatre with his course on modern American history.

It happened to Mark McConnell, who achieved popularity despite the difficult and tedious material of Math 25.

And this year, it happened to Liah Greenfeld, Loeb associate professor of the social sciences, who developed a following of undergraduates and graduate students.

A committee of senior faculty decided not to recommend Greenfeld for tenure in December.

And while professors like Greenfeld view their fate pragmatically, looking ahead to positions at other colleges or universities, students losing a popular professor have little in the way of consolation.

Shortly after news broke of the Greenfeld decision, a group of 37 sociology graduate students--out of 70 total in the department--drafted a petition bemoaning the "enormous void" created by her departure.

"It was a real shock that she did not get tenure," says one student who has worked closely with Greenfeld. "A lot of people assumed that she had a very good chance."

And the pattern, the student says, was easy to recognize.

"People do have this mindset that Harvard tends not to tenure people that are in the junior faculty", she says.

Her complaint is nothing new. For generations, Harvard has had a reputation of tenuring professors who have "made it big" at other schools. Using the Harvard name, the University simply picks the best and the brightest.

Most universities in the U.S., says Sociology Department Chair Aage B. Sorenson, have tenure-track systems. Junior professors are hired with the expectation of receiving permanent appointments some time in the future.

These colleges "review anybody in the junior ranks as a matter of course", Sorenson says.

But Harvard has no such built-in tenure system. And junior faculty members generally come here for temporary stays. Statistics indicate that only a small percentage of "ladder faculty"--Harvard's term for assistant and associate professors--go on to attain tenure.

"Harvard is a very unusual university", says Sorenson.

The standard procedure at Harvard is as follows.

.Scholars who enter the system as assistant professors are reviewed in their fourth year for promotion to the associate level.

.If promoted, a faculty member serves until his or her seventh year, when a tenure review may be initiated at the discretion of the department.

.If the tenure committee recommends the candidate, the president convenes another committee of senior faculty to review the candidate or candidates. The final decision rests with the president.

The administration recently established a database that allows it to track faculty members through the tenure process.

The first case to be examined is of junior faculty members who came to Harvard in the 1984-85 academic year and are eligible for tenure review this year. That year, 49 scholars in all were recruited. Of the 37 who stayed at Harvard long enough to be considered for associate professorships, 35 were promoted to the posts.

Just 24 of these, however, underwent preliminary review for tenure, not including the two faculty members who waived such review.

Of the original 49, only six received tenure this year after their seventh year in the system. One review is still pending.

Defenders of the University point out that some of these professors left before tenure review.

But the low number of tenures--just 12 percent of those who entered the faculty eight years ago, and 25 percent of those who underwent preliminary review--demonstrates the slim chances of junior faculty members receiving tenure.

While students aren't always aware of these difficult odds, faculty members are. Junior professors come to Harvard prepared for temporary stays, according to Associate Professor of Government and Social Studies Houchang E. Chehabi.

When he was recruited by Harvard, Chehabi recalls, he was told immediately that he would not likely remain beyond his seventh year here.

Chehabi says the Harvard administration informed him that "basically I shouldn't expect tenure, even though in rare occasions exceptions are made".

Candidates for junior professorships know that Harvard is an unlikely source of permanent appointments, Chehabi says.

"The reputation of the place is such that one comes with such an assumption," he says. "I don't think anyone comes here expecting tenure".

Chehabi says he knows people who have turned down Harvard offers in favor of tenure-track positions at other universities. But many, he says, are willing to come to Harvard even for a temporary stay.

"Harvard is like Disneyland for a scholar", he says. "You say to yourself that even though you're not going to spend your life here, six or seven years here is a very nice prospect."

"Next year I will be applying for jobs elsewhere", says Chehabi, who is in his sixth year as a professor.

Chehabi's good nature about the tenure process is not shared by all students, some of whom have reacted with anger to tenure denials.

The anger usually stems from the loss of a professor who spends time with students and often teaches the only classes in a specific field.

But administrators argue that much of students' displeasure is rooted in misconceptions about the tenure process.

Even though former Dean of the Faculty A. Michael Spence reformed the process in the late 1980s to remove the link between tenure reviews and openings in the department, junior professors are still not entitled to reviews, which are performed at the discretion of the departments.

In the seventh year of a junior faculty member's stay, a department can make arrangements for outside evaluations or for its own review committee. If the department votes to end the process, the junior professor's quest for tenure ends.

Other student complaints are targeted at the process by which Harvard seeks outside input about the candidate in consideration.

While other universities simply ask for evaluations, Harvard sends a 'blind letter', a list of potential candidates that includes the tenure candidate and other leading scholars in the field.

Outside scholars are not told which of the listed professors is the internal Harvard candidate.

Students often complain that this process weighs against internal or younger candidates because only older faculty have international reputations that outsiders will recognize.

According to one source, blind letters list junior faculty members with other professors with similar experience, so as not to weigh the scales against younger professors.

Another complain lodged by students is that Harvard, as a research-oriented institution, places too little emphasis on teaching.

But professors say that teaching is indeed part of the review process. Professors who defend the current system say that without research, teaching goes stale.

Even professors who are detached from the student body contribute to the atmosphere of learning on campus.

"There are occasional genuises whom one would want to have on the faculty even if their customary mode of communication took the form of grunts and grumbles", writes former Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky in his book, The University: An Owner's Manual.

Professors also say that when committees consider candidates for tenure, they pay specific attention to classroom teaching.

When Greenfeld's tenure case was reviewed by the Sociology Department, Sorenson says, the committee sought out graduate student input as a standard part of the process.

Still, students often perceive Harvard as the ultimate research university--one which places enormous importance on research and scholarship, while disregarding undergraduates and the professors who instruct them.

"Understandably, undergraduates see the world in terms of the teaching ability", says Joseph J. McCarthy, assistant dean for academic planning.

One reason that student's interests are not represented, they say, is that they are not consulted in the tenure decision-making process.

"[Graduate students] don't seem to have any voice in this process of tenure as a group," says Sociology graduate student Marie-Laure Djelic.

Even Sorenson admits that he wasn't quite sure what to do with a student petition that praised Greenfeld and voiced objection to the tenure committee's decision.

"I don't know what you would say to the students other than thank you", Sorenson says.

Taking the high road, Rosovosky writes that students often don't have enough background to provide helpful input.

"Professional qualifications are the main issues, and neither staff nor students have the training to make valid judgments", he writes in An Owner's Manual.

Harvard's tradition of turning to outside scholars dates back to the presidency of James B. Conant '14. Ironically, he was seeking to avoid a trend of tenuring only faculty insiders.

Today, the University faces the opposite phenomenon. Few insiders remain at Harvard beyond their stints as junior professors. And almost everyone, from students to junior faculty to the tenured professors themselves, agrees that there should be some reform.

This is little comfort to students who have lost their favorite professors. But administrators say that recent attempts to make the tenure system more fair to junior faculty are succeeding, to some degree.

"I'd like to believe that the number of junior faculty members getting tenure is increasing and also that there is more optimism among the junior faculty about the process," McCarthy says.


Tenure track在中国
http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-176-646265.html

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