Daniel W. Drezner

The power of academic culture

The Chronicle of Higher Education asked a bunch of Really Smart People — and then me — to comment on whether the pressures of getting tenure are too much for junior academics.  Clearly, the Amy Bishop case in Alabama prompted the query.  It’s pretty obvious that Bishop had issues prior to that decision, however, so ...

The Chronicle of Higher Education asked a bunch of Really Smart People — and then me — to comment on whether the pressures of getting tenure are too much for junior academics.  Clearly, the Amy Bishop case in Alabama prompted the query.  It’s pretty obvious that Bishop had issues prior to that decision, however, so I didn’t mention her case at all.  Nevertheless, as Christina Nehring puts it in her response, "That Professor Amy Bishop is not a tragic heroine of the tenure process doesn’t mean that she’s not a good opportunity to discuss it."

You can check out all of the responses here.  I open with an ancedote that I’m sure is familiar to many a Ph.D.: 

In my last month as a Ph.D. student, a fire alarm went off in my department—and it was not a drill. As I made my way out of the building, clutching my laptop, I made a brief, silent plea to God: "Please, I understand if I don’t make it—but my dissertation must live on!"

People who lament the peer pressure in American high schools have never matriculated for a Ph.D.

Go read all the responses. 

 Twitter: @dandrezner

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