This article examines the tenure systems used in colleges and universities in the U.S. In psychotherapy, a patient who ignores a central reality in his/her personal situation is said to manifest the elephant-in-the-room syndrome. Similarly, in colleges and universities across the nation, many faculty and administrators are ignoring calls for either elimination of tenure or revision of the tenure process. Many policy makers and taxpayers regard tenure as a system that protects faculty members from evaluation. The purposes of this paper are to explore some of the factors leading to calls for post-tenure evaluation, to compare the definitions of post-tenure review, to examine the arguments posed by advocates and opponents of post-tenure evaluation and to identify the fundamental elements of an effective post-tenure review. The peer-conducted post-tenure review could be used as a substitute for a more thorough, in-depth and honest evaluation, eliminating what some administrators view as just one more onerous administrative chore.
Applbaum, R. L. (1997). “The Elephant in the Room”: Post-tenure review. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 26(1), 1–9.