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Study Shows Professors With Tenure Are Worse Teachers

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the we-don't-need-no-education dept.

Education 273

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "We all know the stereotype about tenured college professors: great researchers, lazy teachers. Now Jordan Weissmann writes in the Atlantic that a new study confirms the conventional knowlege that faculty who aren't on the tenure-track appear to do a better job at teaching freshmen undergraduates in their introductory courses than their tenured/tenure-track peers. 'Our results provide evidence that the rise of full-time designated teachers at U.S. colleges and universities may be less of a cause for alarm than some people think, and indeed, may actually be educationally beneficial.' Using the transcripts of Northwestern freshmen from 2001 through 2008, the research team focused on two factors: inspiration and preparation. The team began by asking if taking a class from a tenure or tenure-track professor in their first term later made students more likely to pursue additional courses in that field. That's the inspiration part. Next the researchers wanted to know if students who took their first course in a field from a tenure or tenure-track professor got better grades when they pursued more advanced coursework. That's the preparation part. Controlling for certain student characteristics, freshmen were actually about 7 percentage points more likely to take a second course in a given field if their first class was taught by an adjunct or non-tenure professor and they also tended to get higher grades in those future courses. The pattern held 'for all subjects, regardless of grading standards or the qualifications of the students the subjects attracted' from English to Engineering. The defining trend among college faculties during the past 20 years or so (40, if you really want to stretch back) has been the rise of the adjuncts. 'That said, there is something appealingly intuitive in these results,' concludes Weissmann. 'Professionals who are paid entirely to teach, in fact, make for better teachers. Makes sense, right?'"

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273 comments

apk is the worst teacher (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839389)

because host files are crap

Re:apk is the worst teacher (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 10 months ago | (#44839851)

Now that he's gone, and the troll that was stalking and mimicking him has gone, we seem to miss them...

Either that, or this is his way of being remembered!

Stupid fact fuck can't afford ice cream! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839403)

So the state has to pay for it.

Get that morons? That's you. Now shut up and get the fuck back to work, these fucks needs them some government cheese.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92592545

"The rising cost of food means their money gets them about a third fewer bags of groceries — $100 used to buy about 12 bags of groceries, but now it's more like seven or eight. So they cut back on expensive items like meat, and they don't buy extras like ice cream anymore. Instead, they eat a lot of starches like potatoes and noodles."

Re:Stupid fact fuck can't afford ice cream! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839543)

So the state has to pay for it.

Get that morons? That's you. Now shut up and get the fuck back to work, these fucks needs them some government cheese.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92592545

"The rising cost of food means their money gets them about a third fewer bags of groceries — $100 used to buy about 12 bags of groceries, but now it's more like seven or eight. So they cut back on expensive items like meat, and they don't buy extras like ice cream anymore. Instead, they eat a lot of starches like potatoes and noodles."

That's strange in a land where gov't pays farmers NOT to grow food. Perhaps this should end? I mean wouldn't everyone be better off if farmers overproduced abundant cheap food and then we simply gave farmers some sort of guaranteed basic income? Wouldn't that be better? Not exactly standard welfare either just because having enough to eat is so important. Find a way to call it a "national security" issue and it'll never be opposed heh.

Re:Stupid fact fuck can't afford ice cream! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839583)

Some of the biggest tea party assholes yelling about food stamps are also getting millions of dollars because they are "farmers" and qualify for subsidies. The tea party are stooges... always check out their background before listening to the bullshit coming from their mouths.

Re:Stupid fact fuck can't afford ice cream! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839643)

Some of the biggest tea party assholes yelling about food stamps are also getting millions of dollars because they are "farmers" and qualify for subsidies. The tea party are stooges... always check out their background before listening to the bullshit coming from their mouths.

The problem is, if you are a farmer and you don't take the subsidy, you will not succeed in a market full of farmers who do.

The tea-party farmers may dislike the situation all the more for this, for the feeling of having to do something they find repugnant just to make a living because of government interference in their market. That is not hypocrisy. It is only hypocrisy if they really think the subsidies are great and go around advocating them.

The solution to food stamps that we can actually implement is to reform our tax codes and otherwise stop doing the things that make businesses want to move jobs overseas. The other great solution is to put into federal prison the people who crashed our economy, making sure they go into the general population of inmates.

Re:Stupid fact fuck can't afford ice cream! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839649)

"Some of the biggest tea party assholes yelling about food stamps are also getting millions of dollars because they are "farmers" and qualify for subsidies. The tea party are stooges... always check out their background before listening to the bullshit coming from their mouths."

Proof required. Take your time.

Re:Stupid fact fuck can't afford ice cream! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839693)

Google.

http://www.salon.com/2011/03/31/welfare_tea_parties/

It works, bitches.

Re:Stupid fact fuck can't afford ice cream! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839739)

Idiot.

  “at least 23 current members of congress"

Members of congress aren't tea party, they pretend to be.

Also here's a clue. I support small government and low taxation. But I am taxed like hell and will take any benefits the state allows because I have to, it's my fucking money.

My preference is you leave the money in my pocket and I will spend it myself, but you socialists don't give me that choice.

Now go fuck yourself.

Moo (5, Insightful)

Chacham (981) | about 10 months ago | (#44839425)

Is the difference really tenured or non-tenured? Or is it, younger or older.

Re:Moo (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839489)

Is the difference really tenured or non-tenured? Or is it, younger or older.

Socrates was outraged at the accusation that he took money to teach because teaching the youth was everyone's job. It would be like accusing an honest person of embezzlement.

Re:Moo (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839629)

Way to miss the point. He meant younger or older professors. You see, chances are that the non-tenured professors are younger than the tenured professors. The fact that you require this explanation proves you were taught by a tenured professor.

Could the youthful exuberance of a younger professor make a difference? Can the smaller age variance make them more approachable? Could it be that the tenured professors are too busy banging the best looking chicks in class? Could it be that the students get older and have more access to alcohol?

Re:Moo (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839683)

In Slashdot this seems to be an unknown and little-considered phenomenon. But in natural conversation, often times the mentioning of a thing will remind one of similar but unrelated things that it may still be edifying to discuss. So discussion can take a few turns before it gets to its destination, having covered more ground and explored a variety of subjects and picked the brains of the multiple people who come here. Rather than a rigid straight line, the discussion can be more of a tree and everyone is the richer for it.

Of course if you understand this on Slashdot, you will be accused of being a moron because you didn't say exactly what was expected of you. I am very sorry you feel such a deep-seated need to assert your perceived intellectual superiority over random strangers for trivial reasons. There is no joy to be found down that path. Someone must have really mistreated you during your formative years. Perhaps this was your schoolmates who bullied you for being "a nerd"?

Re:Moo (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839801)

WTF are you talking about? What does this have to do with "the cloud" and NSA? Try to stay on point, son.

Re:Moo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44840185)

Could it be the best researchers are better paid working harder at research than teaching?

Or do you have the manager work the machines because, being better paid than the worker, he must be better at operating the machine?

And if the peter principle were in place, though the manager COULD do the work, who does the managing if the manager is always at the machine like a worker?

Re:Moo (5, Interesting)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 10 months ago | (#44839537)

I haven't had mod points in over a year, but if I had 'em, you'd get 'em.

Not that I think older people make bad professors, but certainly I could see them becoming more jaded over time. It's like giving someone a fork, we just assume it's intuitive and everyone will know how to use it, but give a fork to a two year old and watch them try to use it. Hilarity ensues.

I guess chopsticks would be a better analogy. The longer you've been using them the harder it is to understand why others just can't get it right. My dad always had that, "I'm hungry and have better things to do than explain the process, figure it out for yourself or starve." attitude. Which was kind of the same attitude I got from some of my profs in university.

Re:Moo (-1, Flamebait)

Moryath (553296) | about 10 months ago | (#44839699)

Adjuncts are great for teaching FRESHMEN because freshmen are mostly getting remedial math, remedial english, and remedial other-subjects to try to get them to college level thanks to GOP looting and plundering and systematic damage of the education system.

Tenured profs who actually do research are much better for teaching seniors, Masters level, and PhD level students because the tenured profs actually have to know what the fuck they are talking about and the students at that level need someone who can do more than stand at a lectern and read from a book written by someone else.

Re:Moo (4, Informative)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 10 months ago | (#44839849)

It's like giving someone a fork, we just assume it's intuitive and everyone will know how to use it, but give a fork to a two year old and watch them try to use it. Hilarity ensues.

That might be a factor but I think (speaking as a prof) that I get better at realizing what is intuitive and what is not as I teach because if I assume something is "obvious" and it is not then I'll have 10 students outside my office asking about it. However, something I do find hard to adjust to is the ever decreasing standards of high school education. Tenured faculty rarely have time to run remedial sessions to help less academic students cope with the ever widening gap. However sessional lecturers do not have research programs and service work to worry about to the same extent and, at least where I am, several do run such sessions to help less able students. So I am not surprised to learn that less able students showed the largest performance increase.

Re:Moo (4, Interesting)

OakDragon (885217) | about 10 months ago | (#44839873)

How about tenured professors have less reason to give a damn about their jobs, since they cannot be (easily) fired?

Re:Moo (4, Interesting)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 10 months ago | (#44840033)

I don't think I can agree wit that. Many tenured professors do research, it's their life and they do it because they enjoy it. I work at research institute and we have tons of researchers that get forced into retirement that beg to come back and continue research. Emeritus, they come back and work for free, why bother hiring, training and paying new researchers when you can have extremely skilled and knowledgeable ones practically pay you for the privileged of doing what they've been doing for 40+ years.

I could see profs giving less of a damn about teaching since it's basically a necessary evil for them. They have to teach as part of their agreement in order to continue research, but time spent teaching is time spent away from doing what they want to be doing. Kind of like sitting in meetings is time away from coding and development for most of us. It's a pain in the arse and normally not beneficial to what we actually do, maybe even harmful (I can't count the number of times just sitting in a meeting ended up changing the direction of an unrelated project because someone not related to the project said, "wouldn't it be cool if...?", I'm sure we've all been there), but it has to be done to please the higher ups.

Re:Moo (4, Interesting)

OakDragon (885217) | about 10 months ago | (#44840105)

I've actually repented of my flip comment [slashdot.org] based on someone else's reasonable explanation, so yes I do see what you're saying now. Thanks for not calling me a d-bag or something like that.

Re:Moo (1)

lorenlal (164133) | about 10 months ago | (#44840119)

Maybe the tenured professors remember their pre-tenure days of being beaten down in reviews by freshmen who thought they should get an easy A in their class. Wouldn't surprise me if they look at the intro classes and just say to themselves, "F 'em, if they don't want to work, I don't want them advancing in my field."

Re:Moo (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44840167)

Yet another college dropout (that means you got an arts-fartsy or business degree) who is jealous that someone else learned something, complaining about how hard the STEM courses were. The problem is that the typical business and liberal arts major didn't come to learn, but rather party. On a typical late Friday afternoon the business and liberal arts majors have already drunk themselves into a stupor, while the STEM people are still trying to finish up homework/programs/projects. Hence if anything interferes with partying it is bad as far as the business and liberal arts majors are concerned. Combine that with complete lack of academic ability of the current business and liberal arts majors no wonder they complain about faculty. Please don't push the "tenured faculty cann't be fired bovine excrement. Over the last ten years at my Carnegie foundation classified high research activity university (see http://classifications.carnegiefoundation.org to understand what that implies) we have fired 5 tenured full professors for not meeting teaching standards. Based on conversations with friends and fellow faculty at other similarly classified institutions we are not uncommon. Tenured faculty can and often fired for poor performance.

Re:Moo (5, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | about 10 months ago | (#44839539)

"faculty who aren't on the tenure-track appear to do a better job at teaching freshmen undergraduates in their introductory courses than their tenured/tenure-track peers"

Emphasis mine.

That should not be extrapolated into tenured professors being worse teachers overall. I'm pretty certain that for advanced studies, the opposite is true, if nothing else because the untenured teachers don't have the same chance to specialize.

Re:Moo (4, Interesting)

ranton (36917) | about 10 months ago | (#44839857)

That should not be extrapolated into tenured professors being worse teachers overall. I'm pretty certain that for advanced studies, the opposite is true, if nothing else because the untenured teachers don't have the same chance to specialize.

By advanced studies I assume you mean graduate classes correct? Because if you are implying that anything taught at the undergraduate level requires a level of specialization beyond what an adjunct can possess, I strongly disagree. I would venture to say that almost all graduate classes don't require that much specialization either. I went to a school at the bottom end of the top 50 nation-wide, and almost all of my graduate classes were a joke. The only real benefit was resume padding and the chance to become involved in research (where I learned a great deal).

Tenured professors will still be useful for their research. This is both because of the results of the research and for the opportunity they give students who assist with the research. But if their research is important at all then they are probably wasting their time teaching, and apparently doing a worse job than those who would have focused on teaching full time. I know my research advisor could have got much more done if she didn't have to prepare lectures all the time.

Re:Moo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839541)

Well, the research goes into that, but what reason do you have for hypothesising that older people, who have thought about the problem in more ways, can't teach?

Re:Moo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839579)

Well, the research goes into that, but what reason do you have for hypothesising that older people, who have thought about the problem in more ways, can't teach?

You don't really know many old(er) people, do you? They tend to be set in their ways and not nearly so dynamic as you propose. They also tend to feel like they've paid their dues, now the world should adapt to them instead of them adapting to the world ... even when this is not exactly rational. Why do you think the USA is going broke paying for social security - because older people are like this and they vote, younger people aren't and don't.

If I wanted to insult them I could do much better, these are simply observations. I am not glad to see this. It gives me no pleasure to say it. But it's generally true.

Re:Moo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839607)

Not to mention a humble professor is one of the rarer people you'll ever meet. They tend to have serious egos. Some are downright narcissistic. Maybe having to do public speaking all the time requires this, i'm not sure.

Re:Moo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839709)

Why do you think the USA is going broke paying for social security - because older people are like this and they vote, younger people aren't and don't.

Not entirely correct. Social Security is tanking because at one point, it was showing a profit and profit is anathema to government so they took the profits and started spending them for shit other than Social Security payouts. They did this, never even bothering to consider that at some point in the future the birth rate might bottom out and thus produce fewer offspring to pay into the fund. Ergo, you end up with a government sponsored pyramid scheme.

Did old people vote in these politicians? Probably a good portion of them did. However, I can tell you a large portion of the younger population decided to get out and vote in 2008 and the results were not much different, so I don't see why that has anything to do with it.

Re:Moo (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#44839673)

Is the difference really tenured or non-tenured? Or is it, younger or older.

That's a good question, but really, is there any reason for skepticism? It is intuitively obvious that those who have to work harder will work harder, and the study seems to support that intuition.

Re:Moo (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 10 months ago | (#44839959)

Tenured is a bad plan in terms of Human Resources, and productivity.
Every job has an aspect to it that isn't fun, and people would prefer not to do it if they don't want to. What keeps people doing these sucky parts of their jobs, is the fact that they could get promoted, or at least not fired for doing them.

Now if you have Tenured where you would only get fired if you really try to, means your job is secured, not matter what. So if there is the sucky part of your job, you just don't do it, or do it well. Most Professors do not like to teach Undergrad classes, they want to focus on their research. So once they get Tenured they will not try hard.

The non-tenured professor, needs to fight for his job, there is a lot of competition. he needs to be sure the undergrad money maker students are getting a good education with him, so he looks good to his bosses, as not to be replace next year with another Recent PHD grad.

Honestly how many people would quit their jobs if they hit the jackpot in the lottery? Even if they loved their job they would quit, because they don't have to deal with the stuff they don't want to deal with, as needing money for survival isn't a factor. They can live quite well for the rest of their life so why make themselves do stuff they don't want to do.

Re:Moo (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44840021)

It is fashionable to blast the tenure process, but faculty that get fired are not going to go work at the local gas station (or even at some software company) and come back as great faculty ever again. And people generally get tenured about the time they are dealing with families, and are least-likely to tolerate long-distance moves, which is important considering how distant universities are from each other. So you start instituting the destruction of the tenure process, and you'll destroy universities ... in the US, that is the perhaps the only part of the educational process that is actually good.

Re:Moo (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44840057)

Yes, but nobody in this thread is addressing the root reasons for tenure. Tenure exists to allow professors to have true academic freedom and freedom of speech. Otherwise major donors could influence the choice of who to fund and who to fire based on the political, religious (or other) views of individual professors.

Here's Wikipedia;
Without job security, the scholarly community as a whole might favor "safe" lines of inquiry. The intent of tenure is to allow original ideas to be more likely to arise, by giving scholars the intellectual autonomy to investigate the problems and solutions about which they are most passionate, and to report their honest conclusions.

Re:Moo (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 10 months ago | (#44840103)

No, it is non-experienced vs experienced. Most people who go into teaching do so to garner satisfaction believing they will be helping and loving the selfless feeling. They start their career full of exuberance then begin to realize that it just isn't what they had thought it was. Disillusioned, they cling to the career resentful of the administration and red tape when they should be moving on to a different career.

No way! (2, Insightful)

Anon, Not Coward D (2797805) | about 10 months ago | (#44839431)

I wonder why a person with in a unremovable job would put low effort on classes...

Seriously this is news?

Re:No way! (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 10 months ago | (#44839447)

"tenure-track" means they don''t have tenure YET. The outcome is unexpected as you'd expect effort to get to the tenured position.

Re:No way! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839659)

To get tenure, you need to publish. You can be the best teacher in the world, but that won't get you tenure. So this is an expected result: Tenure-track professors are focusing on what they need to get tenure, i.e. research and publishing. Since they have less time and effort focused on teaching, the results there are less positive.

Re:No way! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 10 months ago | (#44839955)

That's true to a degree, but teaching and research (and publications) are not as separate as you might see. If you're a lecturer, a lot of your publications are going to be things that you've coauthored with your PhD or MPhil students. And the easiest way to get PhD students is to encourage your undergraduates to apply to continue studying with you (or apply for postgraduate research assistant jobs). The undergrad teaching is how you get the PhD students, and they're how you get significant quantities of research done.

Re:No way! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839461)

Because lecturing at 500 people you will never have personal contact with in an introductory class is SO rewarding.
Sounds like more propaganda for killing off tenure and continuing the trend of administrators pushing one shot short term
contracts with no career path or benefits.

Re:No way! (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#44839581)

but they would... since that is when the try to give the introduction that will get the guys to stick with it.

Academia is socialism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839441)

Just goes to show that pretty much anything people do in "higher education" is done for one
and one reason only: to make as much money off the taxpayer as possible.

Time to end this charade.

Ron Paul 2016

Alternative Metrics (5, Informative)

ohieaux (2860669) | about 10 months ago | (#44839477)

As a tenured faculty member, I can attest to the fact that tenure/tenure-track faculty at many research schools are evaluated (raise/promotion/tenure) on metrics different from adjuncts and instructors. Devoting sufficient time and effort to teaching can be counter productive for your career. For many disciplines, external funding and publications are the primary criteria for evaluation. Ultimately, energies in teaching are focused on graduate students - who support those activities. Add in service (committees, societies and the like) and it's often an issue of limited time.

Re:Alternative Metrics (2)

OakDragon (885217) | about 10 months ago | (#44839897)

Thanks for the informative post. Now I regret my half-cocked statement above! This sounds entirely reasonable.

Re:Alternative Metrics (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839993)

As a tenured faculty member, I can attest to the fact that tenure/tenure-track faculty at many research schools are evaluated (raise/promotion/tenure) on metrics different from adjuncts and instructors. Devoting sufficient time and effort to teaching can be counter productive for your career. For many disciplines, external funding and publications are the primary criteria for evaluation. Ultimately, energies in teaching are focused on graduate students - who support those activities. Add in service (committees, societies and the like) and it's often an issue of limited time.

This is true for most professions. I worked a helpdesk before I was promoted to a programmer. We used to complain that programmers never answered their pages (yes, I'm that old). Then when I became a programmer, I realized that the word, "support" was never used in my yearly reviews. Kind of explained the whole attitude programmers had.

Re:Alternative Metrics (1)

fermion (181285) | about 10 months ago | (#44840107)

In my experience as a freshmen in college, tenure or tenure track made no difference. Some of it, I think, had to do with class size. I had small honor classes with professors that I really was inspired to do well even if I did not. I basically bombed my major classes because they were large, and were taught by profs. I was in a small calculus class that was taught by a new young guy, basically was later told by a full prof at another university that we was lucky to have a job, and that was not so good. I am now in a class where we are taught, at least in part, by full professor, kind of middle aged, and it really reinforces my idea that being taught, as an adult, by someone who really understands the content is critical. Yes, as a child, or teen, pedagogy is important, but I do not think the purpose the college lecturer is classroom control or engagement over deep analysis. There are other places for kids to go to learn if they are not serious enough for college. The issue is hardly lazy teachers, but lazy college students conditioned who have not yet understood that learning is a personal task, not something that can be forced on them by an external agent. Or that college is not really about a sheet of paper that will make you rich.

I think there are a lot of variables that were not considered in this report. In any case, I wonder how important it is to 'inspire' in college. My degree plan did not have a lot of flexibility. I was inspired to go into another major, but that was because there were more opportunities to interact with full professors and more camaraderie among my fellow students. Not to mention a more laid back atmosphere and the assumption that the students were intelligent.

Here is what a valid experiment would look like. Find a similar research and non research university with comparable student populations. Again, in my experience, non research universities have professors much more beholden to the whims of the students, and must work to be entertainers. Controlling for standard variables, and giving a pretest and post test and entry survey and exit survey, see which students have more satisfaction and have grown more. I will concede that the non research university might win out at the end of the freshman year. But the freshman year does not a degree make.

Isn't thsi what we always knew (5, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about 10 months ago | (#44839481)

Candidates at Universities get the opportunity to work with people who are pioneering their fields. They are often brilliant, will nurture talent when they see it, but can be a bit eccentric and will respond to something like "I can't remember how to do integration by parts" with a reference to a textbook or by passing them on to a more able student.

This works well for the brightest, and reasonably well for the average - but it has long been known that those of less ability (who are still bright by average population standards) would do better in a technical college. Here they would be taught by dedicated teachers, who would do little or no research.

Is the solution to make Universities more like technical colleges? Well, maybe now they are looking at taking closer to 50% of all kids instead of the 10% that hey did decades ago then it is. We should not forget that even if we need to add tuition staff then to turn out new scientific pioneers we still need the research professors, even though they may not be the best teachers for all students.

Yes, but... (5, Insightful)

c (8461) | about 10 months ago | (#44839485)

I hate to talk about correlation/causation, but there's typically some significant demographic differences between profs with and without tenure.

My experience is that tenure-track profs were a heck of a lot younger, meshed well with the students, hadn't spent the last 20 years teaching the course, and were more likely to put in more time and effort on the material. Tenured profs also tend to have a lot of things sucking their time (obviously researchers, but department heads and/or deans are worse), so they dump a lot more on the TA's and are pretty tight for office hours.

I'd be curious to see how things break down when they account for demographic differences. If that's even feasible.

Re:Yes, but... (5, Insightful)

EdgePenguin (2646733) | about 10 months ago | (#44839609)

This seems fairly obvious. Younger faculty relate better to young students. But such a caveat doesn't fit well with a sensationalist press release/headline.

Its a pretty shitty aspect of western culture (don't know if other cultures experience it or not) that there is mass resentment of other people having any kind of job security. There is the notion that "other people" are all feckless, lazy slobs who must be whipped to work harder by constantly being threatened with redundancy and poverty.

The worse the economy gets, the stronger this feeling. Whip the Others harder, get the economy going. Leave me and people I know alone - we are hardworking families - kick those Others into working longer hours for lower wages; the fuckers are getting off too lightly. Problem is, this is just a feeling. Actual research into motivation finds that an environment of fear, or even promise of big rewards, does not generate productivity in anything other than menial tasks. Unsurprisingly, most people work better if they aren't constantly stressed.

Re:Yes, but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839731)

Its a pretty shitty aspect of western culture (don't know if other cultures experience it or not) that there is mass resentment of other people having any kind of job security. There is the notion that "other people" are all feckless, lazy slobs who must be whipped to work harder by constantly being threatened with redundancy and poverty.

This is how the Democrat Party wins elections. They tell voters that somebody else has it easy and you have it hard, so you need to elect me and I'll take those people down a peg or two with punitive taxation. Taxes are supposed to be about funding the government, not social engineering.

The second I said "Democrat" that statement became some kind of controversy and now people won't be reasonable about it (Republicans are no angels, but that's not relevant - got it?). But you can flip on the TV news and see it for yourself. You don't think constantly being fed these sorts of messages by the media has an impact on the culture?!

Re:Yes, but... (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 10 months ago | (#44839797)

Ironically, most tenured professors are Democrats.

Re:Yes, but... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 10 months ago | (#44839917)

This is how the Democrat Party wins elections.

The Republicans feed off of this, too - only they direct their ire at the unions and public employees. I'd say Republicans are more likely to make comments about "ivory tower" academics as well. I'm registered Republican, and I find myself rolling my eyes at much of the literature that comes my way from GOP candidates.

Re:Yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44840017)

> Republicans are no angels, but that's not relevant - got it?

Actually, it is relevant, because they do the exact same thing. To a greater extent, IMO. Pitting the poor against each other to divert attention from concessions made to the hyper-rich (who fund elections) is standard fare in US politics, not a failing of a particular party.

> There is the notion that "other people" are all feckless, lazy slobs who must be whipped to work harder by constantly being threatened with redundancy and poverty.

You're really blaming the Democrats for this? While neither party is innocent here it's a plain and simple fact that the Democrats tend to favor (to a slightly greater extent) social projects aimed at poverty (as opposed to the "the poor just need to be motivated harder, so we should cut those benefits" attitude of the Republicans).

Re:Yes, but... (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 10 months ago | (#44839889)

there is mass resentment of other people having any kind of job security.

I think it is our acceptance of envy. You see it when people talk about unions and public servants, and you see it in the 99% crowd as well. It's a shame because there are legitimate gripes in there, but they get overshadowed by the blind hatred (which IMHO often starts with envy).

Re:Yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839615)

Current tenure track profs aren't younger, at least in the sciences, with the major cuts that we've seen in science funding. Just building up the publication record necessary to land a tenure track job now takes many years. Many new tenure track faculty are in their late 30s. I know very few younger than that.

Re:Yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44840023)

The comparison isn't between tenured and tenure-track profs. It is between tenured/tenure-track, and non-tenured profs (e.g. adjunts).

Quite a significant difference, and clearly stated in the summary, Atlantic article, and the original study.

It is an ongoing debate, and hardly clear cut. Adjunct positions are largely considered to be inferior due to the fact that these staff members are sometimes viewed as not of sufficient quality to get a tenure-track post. Of course this is not necessarily true; I know adjuncts who are very busy with other aspects of their lives: running their companies, or as MPs, but who want to contribute to a small extent through teaching. And of course this study shows that they perform better in many respects, possibly because they devote more time to their teaching.

fwiw I'm an academic at a British university (I have been in the US system as well). If we expect to be promoted, our priority is research. One would have to be quite bad to flag up a warning for inferior teaching, and our teacher training qualifications (called PGCAP) are a joke. We have teaching staff who don't do research (similar to the adjuncts) so I would imagine that similar conclusions would apply.

Hmmm, Perplexing... (0)

systemidx (2708649) | about 10 months ago | (#44839487)

Study shows that people with jobs on the line tend to care more about said job. Stop the presses.

Re:Hmmm, Perplexing... (0)

dhrabarchuk (1745930) | about 10 months ago | (#44839517)

Next study out, giving kids sugar *DOES* make them hyper!

Re:Hmmm, Perplexing... (4, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about 10 months ago | (#44839605)

There's a lot more difference than that. They're comparing people who are paid to teach with people who are paid to research in their effectiveness at teaching. If you perceive your job is X, why would you spend a lot of effort on Y? The point that they only compared introductory courses is also relevant. The untenured professors did better in introductory courses. Advanced courses were not compared, so it may be that tenured professors are overall better at teaching advanced and graduate students. Maybe a university needs both to give the best education across the students' course of study.

Re:Hmmm, Perplexing... (3, Insightful)

EdgePenguin (2646733) | about 10 months ago | (#44839635)

Except you, and the people publishing this article, have ignored any other contributing factors (like faculty being closer in age to their students for instance.) You jump straight to the conclusion that you like, which is a misanthropic view that everybody apart from yourself (and people you like) are lazy, no-good idiots who need to be booted in the arse constantly in order to do any work. Your problem is that this is simply not true. Human motivation is more complex than that, and people do not in the general case do better jobs if you constantly threaten them - regardless of how that might give you some kind of perverse satisfaction.

Re:Hmmm, Perplexing... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 10 months ago | (#44839933)

Actually, the GP is correct: Tenured professors generally didn't get there by being good teachers. Most involve heavy research and the ability to get and maintain grants for that research - neither of which makes for a good teacher. If you throw a bunch of people into a room who want to be professors, some will want to teach (a good selector, but not perfect, for good teaching), some will want to research. All will be required to teach classes. If the ones that do lots of research end up with tenure more frequently, that leaves the lousy researchers and a mixed pool of good and bad teachers. The good teachers now make up a larger percentage of that "non-tenured" pool. Self selection has elevated people who are good researchers to a tenured position. That isn't to say that they're not good teachers, but their efforts are channeled to a different purpose.

I'm sorry if you feel that your tenure position somehow stigmatises you as a poor teacher.

Re:Hmmm, Perplexing... (1)

EdgePenguin (2646733) | about 10 months ago | (#44840131)

Don't have a tenure position, won't ever have one because 'tenure' is not a thing in my country. Doesn't really need to be because we don't have crappy employment law in the first place. Nice attempt at an ad hominem there though.

Science where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839503)

As far as I can tell there's little to no science behind this.

Re:Science where? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 10 months ago | (#44839617)

It IS science. This is applied sociology.

what about students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839533)

Does the study take into account the dumbness that has increased among students between those years?

I doubt that younger students are "dumber". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839807)

I don't think that what you're saying is really true. Students today aren't "dumber" than those of previous generations. In fact, I think that the evidence shows that they're quite a bit smarter these days.

Just look to the students of the mid-to-late 1960s and early 1970s, for example. These are students born between 1945 and 1955 (often called the "Baby Boomers"). Look at what their accomplishments were as students:

1) The hippy movement.

2) Rampant drug abuse.

Those are the kind of "accomplishments" that smart people would not be proud of. The hippy movement was obviously one of extreme naivety, mixed with narcissism and egotism. It can be seen as an inherently stupid movement. The same is true for their abuse of drugs. The physical destruction of one's mind and body using chemicals is not something that smart people do.

We haven't seen anything nearly as stupid from students of the following generations. In fact, we've seen the exact opposite. Students today are generally very talented with computers and other technology. They're out there starting high-tech businesses or engaging in advanced research, for instance, rather than sitting around wearing blankets and flowers, rambling on about "peace" and "love", while melting their brains using hallucinogens and other toxic substances.

Compared to the Baby Boomers when they were students, today's students are exceptionally far beyond in terms of raw intelligence and sensibility.

Teaching a Nonfactor for Tenure at Some Schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839553)

Teaching may not have much to do with getting tenure or in decisions to revoke it at Northwestern. I went to an major research Ivy and from frank talks by graduate students, post-doc's, TA's, tenure-track and tenured professors in social and physical sciences I learned that tenure was a complete nonfactor there. The criterion was research. Sure, they took surveys from students and gave seminars on teaching to new prof's and TA's to help them improve, but there were no real punishments.

Everyone wants research (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839557)

A surprising number of 4-year colleges want to get on the research bandwagon. Where I went to undergrad was focused on teaching and it showed. The faculty were tremendous at teaching and cared about their students. Everyone loved it.

Now, every 4-year college wants professors to have several postdocs and be able to start "externally-funded" research programs. Plus, they push undergraduate research before the students even know enough basics, IMHO.

Long story short, just more of a move from educating students to plain-old job training.

--PhD in science, unable to find decent teaching work without postdoc

Re:Everyone wants research (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 10 months ago | (#44839637)

A surprising number of 4-year colleges want to get on the big grant chuckwagon.

FTFY

Re: Everyone wants research (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839665)

Oh definitely. Perhaps it was a bit too subtle.

Too bad its all starting to dry up.

Awful professor story (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 10 months ago | (#44839561)

I kid you not. I had a teacher in college who would spend all his classes talking about his friends in the Senior Olympics (this was a Sociology of Religion class, but he did the same in all his classes). Then he would periodically give a test that had nothing to do with the book or anything he said in class (i.e., no Senior Olympics questions). Everyone would fail, and he would grade on a curve. I scored the highest raw test grade in the class for the semester with a 46 (only thanks to a pretty good general knowledge).

Of course he had tenure, and of course everyone knew about his antics. A few years later he fell over dead while training for the Senior Olympics (again, I couldn't make this shit up if I tried). He would not be missed.

Re:Awful professor story (1, Insightful)

EdgePenguin (2646733) | about 10 months ago | (#44839639)

Quick solution to that. Don't take "sociology of religion". I'm willing to bet your physics, maths and engineering professors don't dick around like that.

Re:Awful professor story (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 10 months ago | (#44839663)

Are you kidding? That's where you got into the REAL autistics and nutballs! Only the psychology profs were worse than them.

Re:Awful professor story (1)

darkstar949 (697933) | about 10 months ago | (#44839715)

I'm willing to bet your physics, maths and engineering professors don't dick around like that.

Nope, the physics professor I had spent the first day talking Sikhism [wikipedia.org] and the Harmandir Sahib (the Golden Temple) [wikipedia.org] and it would come up from time to time after that, although he did some more time actually talking about physics. Sadly, he had a very thick accent so you really had to pay attention to figure out what he was saying to determine if it was even relevant.

Re:Awful professor story (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839819)

I'm willing to bet your physics, maths and engineering professors don't dick around like that.

Generally, no, but there's always exceptions. I had a Computer Science professor who was the biggest narcissistic, egotistical asshole I've ever met, and all he ever did was talk about how great he was and how he worked at JPL so we should all bow down and worship him.

Then I graduated and discovered the difference between real life and government work. Oddly enough, government work is pretty similar to academia in that you actually don't have to accomplish a goddamn thing, can write a paper about it, and then celebrate how great you are.

Re:Awful professor story (3, Interesting)

EdgePenguin (2646733) | about 10 months ago | (#44840149)

What a load of bullshit. Academic publishing - at least in the hard science - is not a record of lack of accomplishments. Look at some of the Planck papers for fucks sake. As for government work - explain the Apollo program. Explain how the UK NHS achieves similar health outcomes to the US at a third of the cost. Reality doesn't stack up to your rhetoric.

Re:Awful professor story (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 10 months ago | (#44839879)

I had a similar issue with a literature professor (freshman-level general requirement course, naturally taken in my final semester) who basically would spend 50% of our class-time bitching about how he didn't have enough time to properly teach the material required in the course. It's a good thing he wasn't tenured, he probably would have increased it to at least 90%

Interest in Teaching Related to tenure? (2)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | about 10 months ago | (#44839585)

I am not completely in agreement with this study. I only read the Atlantic article, I did not read the study so maybe I missed something. From what I have observed, the younger teachers who were on tenure track in universities were always more focused on getting research grants because that is what helped them get tenure. The older ones were more likely to win best teacher awards. From my just my personal experience of 8 years in grad school I feel like it is just the enthusiasm that some younger teachers show that is infectious and makes you feel like the teacher is good. The older teachers are actually better at drilling down concepts however they were less excited about the material and somehow that transferred to the students as well. Students were more likely to feel bored in their classes. I was a TA and that was a frequent complaint about my advisor but I used to go throw his material and it was fantastic. That said there was one tenured professor who was an okay teacher but left the teacher survey on the last day of classes, on our desks, on the way out muttering "Write whatever you want, nothing can happen to me."

Re:Interest in Teaching Related to tenure? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#44839707)

From what I have observed, the younger teachers who were on tenure track in universities were always more focused on getting research grants because that is what helped them get tenure.

That sounds like you agree with the premise; they're not focused on teaching, but on getting grants.

That said there was one tenured professor who was an okay teacher but left the teacher survey on the last day of classes, on our desks, on the way out muttering "Write whatever you want, nothing can happen to me.

And that is why it's shocking that anyone is shocked by this study.

A very good reason (1)

Trelane (16124) | about 10 months ago | (#44839621)

That might have something to do with the fact that tenure selection is (almost) entirely based on publications, research, and grants and not on teaching.

Re:A very good reason (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 10 months ago | (#44839769)

At the university I went to there was a professor who was known to be excellent at research but a crappy teacher. He taught an advanced calculus course in the same way a hardcore uber-geek might teach "introduction to computers" to a bunch of barely-computer-literate old folks...he was trying to teach us the right way with a good understanding of all the principles behind the calculations, but it was going over most of our heads, as the course's pass rate showed.

This went on until a rich guy's daughter took the course and failed. Said rich guy was also the BFF of the dean at the time...only research work for that professor from then on.

The professor died a few years back, only in his late 50s/early 60s.

Me and some friends have a great memory of him. We were waiting for class to start and I was messing around with my Treo 180, showing them the new ringtones I loaded on. I played the Star Wars Imperial March and just as it was finishing, he walked up to the podium with perfect timing, we all cracked up. I wonder if he heard the tune and did it on purpose XD

Gotta be some kind of compensation. (4, Interesting)

RyanFenton (230700) | about 10 months ago | (#44839627)

It would be nice if we could have careful training of each of our precious growing minds, for years and years, at the lowest possible cost, by people who did nothing but deeply care for the interests of who these people were going to be... but having teaching (and research) being one of the lowest quality-of-life jobs, with very low relative pay does mean something.

The best way we end up compensating for that, historically, is offering other forms of quality of life - more time to prepare outside of teaching, more job security, and some other limited benefits. Take away these things, and you fully transform the role into a job for masochists.

The cost dynamics never made sense to me - it really wouldn't cost that comparatively much to make teaching a desirably paid position, and the research positions that go along with them. Instead, what we get are colleges charging historically absurd cost increases every year to have, well, better sports teams, I can only guess.

I guess if this trend continues, we'll just move to compensating them with coupons to Subway, then rail at how so many of them get 20% off for how 'little' they do.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Gotta be some kind of compensation. (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 10 months ago | (#44840009)

Actually, the cost is enormous.

Do you know why NBA players get so much money? Because there are less than 500 players and there are no less than 20 million fans. Not only that, but by playing a single game, they can provide entertainment to all of them with no more effort than if there were just a single fan. With a ratio of 40,000:1 and the ability to connect with all of them simultaneously it's easy to get good pay.

In any given classroom there are 20-40 students (more for cattle classes, fewer for jr/sr classses). Any more and the personal connection which makes teaching such an interactive endeavor is reduced. 30:1 isn't a great ratio for increasing compensation.

If every NBA fan kicks in an extra $25, you can raise a player's salary by a million dollars a year. If every student kicks in an extra $25, you could raise a teachers salary by $750 - not quite the bump you're looking for to make it a highly desirable pay scale.

Re:Gotta be some kind of compensation. (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 10 months ago | (#44840173)

The cost dynamics never made sense to me - it really wouldn't cost that comparatively much to make teaching a desirably paid position, and the research positions that go along with them. Instead, what we get are colleges charging historically absurd cost increases every year to have, well, better sports teams, I can only guess.

Most of the growth is in the number of administrators. Who don't teach at all.

Inspiration...or ease? (4, Informative)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 10 months ago | (#44839647)

Speaking as a tenured faculty member the conclusion that people employed entirely for their teaching with zero other consideration makes sense...but that does not make it correct and the evidence is rather circumstantial. For a start while having a sessional may cause more students to continue in a particular program is this because they are inspired or is it because they make the material seem simpler (perhaps partly because they may be better teachers but also because they will not complicate matters by introducing their own cutting edge research)? For many students, the perceived ease of a course is a large factor in their decision to take it.

The other issue is that many tenured faculty have been around for a while and find it increasingly hard to deal with students whose education at high school is getting increasingly worse. It would be interesting to see if the effect is still there at higher level courses where the ever decreasing academic standards and discipline of schools is less of a factor. Non-tenured faculty tend to be younger and so the gap in academic standards between their high school years and now is less so they likely have a better picture of what the incoming students do, or rather, do not know.

Re:Inspiration...or ease? (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 10 months ago | (#44840053)

Having been to both highschool and university. I find it ironic that anyone at university would be complaining about the educational value of highschool. If you ignore some of the horrendous data points, like large swaths of the US, Highschool is pretty good.

Having attended the best university in my country, Waterloo, I can say with absolute certainty that university education is complete crap. They take your money, and need to give some small percentage who stick with it a diploma after 3 or 5 years. They don't really care what you do, how well they teach, or if you have the necessary resources in the interim. They really do not care if turn off all the geniuses, and only put out unprepared idiots, they already have your money.

Hard work is the best teacher (4, Insightful)

elashish14 (1302231) | about 10 months ago | (#44839725)

You can't rely on every instructor that you have in school to be the best. And to make things even more complicated, just because a bunch of other students consider an instructor to be good, does not mean that his/her teaching style will be good for you. For example, I learned the most when I had teachers that kept lectures to a minimum but designed very thoughtful and enlightening homework assignments, problem sets, etc. while other students preferred instructors who explained everything plainly while providing minimal assignments (this prevents you from thinking critically on your own).

If you want to get the maximum mileage out of your college experience, learn how to use the resources around you, whether they be textbooks, the internet, other students, and junior instructors. If you walk in expecting all your instructors to do the majority of the work in teaching you, then you're doomed from the start.

Thoughts (2)

sesshomaru (173381) | about 10 months ago | (#44839791)

"After all, you don't get tenure by dazzling 18-year-olds with PowerPoints. "

I don't know about the study, but the article is garbage.

The professor's job is not to entertain students, it's to teach them. Sometimes, students don't like the teachers who force them to work hard and learn the material.

That's why we have tenure.

Yet another research that confirms common sense (2)

Cigarra (652458) | about 10 months ago | (#44839803)

Tenured professors are old and grumpy, non-tenured professors are young and eager. Guess which ones get along better with students?

Some schools are aware of this (4, Interesting)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 10 months ago | (#44839829)

My husband just turned in his tenure portfolio. While the usual "two publications, community service, blah blah" is all in there, his school weighs his student evaluations as a full third of the requirements for tenure. So any prof who neglects students at his school in order to focus on research is going to have a tougher time justifying the promotion.

Yeah, the sun comes up in the east, too (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839905)

This is NOT news. Back in the mid-70's my advisor said "I love to teach. Except teaching freshmen. That a chore that's assigned to the junior faculty member". Teaching 10-20 people who give a flip vs. the maddening horde looking for a ticket punch is night and day.

And given that instructors are paid to teach, they sorta have to work to get good ratings. Tenured profs, particularly at large schools are there to lend status and bring in grants.

After that catastrophe ... (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 10 months ago | (#44839935)

Of an educational study last week (on /.), I am glad to see at least someone knows the rudiments of conducting a decent study.

Caught this in submissions today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44839939)

It about describes a great deal of MOST (but not all) academic professors (examples I'd seen, 2 of them, are below):

http://crypto.junod.info/2013/09/09/an-aspiring-scientists-frustration-with-modern-day-academia-a-resignation/ [junod.info]

* Arrogant career-advancing seems to be "the rule of thumb"!

Yes, I've seen it myself - & I have taken a couple of prof's to the cleaners on tech & code personally, but I went in with years of hands-on in the trenches material I learned professionally on the job too, that they hadn't seen, since many prof's have never "BEEN THERE/DONE THAT" (hands on industrially/professionally no less) along with noted PhD's in this field over time also!

See - a degree doesn't mean you are "the best expert" (far from it) & I personally do NOT *think* such a man exists - everyone, has something to offer, & even "the best" can be proven wrong (lol, except me that is)...

Made an enemy of 1 in my academic career (he screwed me over on tests, grades, etc. & yet I took the next level course up CONCURRENTLY no less, implemented in JAVA also, & aced it/A grade - go figure, it was DataStructures too) that way!

(No biggie, he's reached HIS limit professionally there & I knew it + showed it in class)

So what's in that link above? It's true - many can't STAND to be "shown up"...

HOWEVER, by way of comparison:

Yet another prof. shook my hand though, for showing him up in class on a bet he made with me I couldn't DO what I said I could, vs. his methods (pretty simple task, & for all his decades of work in computing, since the 1960's, he hadn't seen the technique I used). It happens.

So - Do you *REALLY* need to go to college/university to learn, say, Comp. Sci.? Heck no - same with ANY OTHER discipline, when you come right down to it! You DO, however, have to put your nose down & learn, hands-on, hard (almost 24x7) by buying books + learning by their examples... since, after all, that IS pretty much what one does in academia!

Except you WORK HARD & PAY FOR IT (thru the nose), instead of GETTING PAID TO WORK HARD! Ironic... price of membership.

* However: I'll give academia 1 thing - it saves you years of mistakes by showing you "tricks" (e.g. proven algorithms) to use, but then again - so can ANY decent book on DataStructures (which I still consider one of the BEST courses in the art & science of computing to this very day)).

APK

P.S.=> There's a BIG LEAP between say, programming &/or network engineer/techie work though - not everyone's inclined to it (or imo & experience, ABLE to make the jump either)... apk

Prof vs non-Prof (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 10 months ago | (#44839953)

I have no idea which of my profs were tenured, But I do know which were not professors and which simply graduate students, or business professionals.

In my experience, almost universally, professors suck at teaching.

I've been both (4, Informative)

supercrisp (936036) | about 10 months ago | (#44839957)

I've been both a non-tenure-track (NTT); I am now on a tenure-track (TT) professor; and I will soon be a tenured professor. I've been in the position of evaluating non-tenure-track instructors. (First off, a correct on the terms of art: very seldom is a NTT faculty member titled "professor.") In my experience, yes, NTT faculty are much better teachers. From working as an NTT faculty member, working with NTT faculty, and having them as close friends, I can say that there are three reasons that NTT faculty are better teachers. 1) They are younger and consequently fresher and have fewer family obligations. They are typically single. When coupled, they don't yet have or don't plan to have kids. 2) They are under constant threat of losing their jobs, so they work very, very hard--much harder than should be expected of people working for, often, about $35k/year, sometimes more, but generally not over $40k/yr. 3) NTT faculty are teachers only. They are not distracted by research obligations nor by substantial obligations to develop/run the program. ALL THAT SAID, I don't think hiring lots of NTT faculty is a good thing, at least as it is done now. Such faculty are treated as disposable, paid just enough to keep them around a few years, and worked hard enough that they will burn out pretty soon anyway. That may be good for the students (as long as that student is planning on pursuing graduate work that will lead to one of these dead-end jobs), but it's not ethical. Granted, to some, those salaries I listed sound pretty good, but keep in mind that level of pay is not enough to support a family and it is often further reduced by the need to repay the costs of graduate education. The answer may well be to admit fewer graduate students, produce fewer doctorates. But, a lot of the quality I saw in the instruction of NTT faculty was the result of very strong educations; many of those faculty were electing to pursue significant and demanding research projects on their own dime/time. So the undergraduates (and the employing institutions) are often effectively getting the benefits of a young professor without actually paying for a young professor. That may sound good, until you're the person in a similar situation.

Re:I've been both (2)

supercrisp (936036) | about 10 months ago | (#44839973)

Typing fast before I go teach, I made some mistakes; the worst was this omission: "As long as that student is NOT planning on pursuing graduate work...." One more item: there's tons of research out there on this already, a lot of it at the MLA and AAUP websites, as well as the New Faculty Majority website.

Academic writing (1)

Arkiel (741871) | about 10 months ago | (#44839963)

Anything to slow the world-wide circlejerk that is academic writing.

duh (2)

acroyear (5882) | about 10 months ago | (#44840039)

As if getting Tenure had anything to do with how good a teacher you were...

Selection Bias, re. Requirements for Tenure (1)

balaam's ass (678743) | about 10 months ago | (#44840065)

The study was conducted not merely *by* Northwestern University, but *at* Northwestern University. Its universal application is not obvious, given the variety of colleges and tenure requirements available.

As has been mentioned already, such universities typically reward tenure on the basis of *research* emphasis, not teaching, so the results are hardly surprising.

I submit that these results will fail to generalize when so-called "teaching colleges" -- those whose primary means of performance review for promotion regards teaching evaluation -- are included in a study. Professors at this colleges honestly are interested in focusing on teaching, and as mentioned above it is often the older tenured faculty who accumulate awards and student accolades for excellence in teaching. Some such teaching college are in the midst of increasing research requirements for faculty as regards promotion & tenure (as well as increasing class sized) -- in short, in efforts to become more like Northwestern. This study suggests that a loss of teaching effectiveness will result. (Do you want the focus to be on teaching, or research? You can't say "both"; there are finite amounts of time and resources available.)

Re:Selection Bias, re. Requirements for Tenure (2)

balaam's ass (678743) | about 10 months ago | (#44840099)

....aaaand typos galore, above.

/tenured already, so who cares. ;-)

Even bad profs will teach you a valuable lesson. (2)

mindwanderer (1169521) | about 10 months ago | (#44840137)

Life is imperfect and unjust; quit your moaning, stay on your toes, and make the best of what you are given. If your tenured professor sucks (and for me, most of them did), pull your socks up and study by yourself or with friends. It all goes downhill from here so better get used to it.
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