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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Job market optimism? It's a little hard to fathom, but my fellow Dukeling Alex Greenberg links to stats and predictions that my unhappy, rag-tag generation of would-be tenured academics will all be making fat professor money very soon.

But do a search for the word "tenure" and I'm afraid the news won't strike you as really all that good:

The number of tenure-track positions is declining as institutions seek flexibility in dealing with financial matters and changing student interests. Institutions rely more heavily on limited term contracts and part-time, or adjunct, faculty, thus shrinking the total pool of tenured faculty. Limited-term contracts—typically 2- to 5 years, may be terminated or extended when they expire but generally do not lead to the granting of tenure. In addition, some institutions have limited the percentage of faculty who can be tenured.
Note too that this optimism is largely predicated on the expectation that there are "large numbers of postsecondary teachers who are likely to retire over the next decade," a long-prophecied, perpetually unrealized mass exodus that is more or less the grad student equivalent of the Second Coming...