Thursday, May 17, 2007

Update to Opting In and Out

I have a follow-up post at MoneyLaw that discusses the Belkin/Albiston articles from an academic perspective, regarding extension of the tenure clock. Several articles about tenure clock extension are excerpted, and I provide some examples of university tenure extension policies. Here's a taste:

For MoneyLaw readers, I will note that there seems to be an encouraging attitudinal and structural shift toward extending tenure clocks for those faculty who need to take time off to care for their new children or for a sick family member. This would represent a similar type of endogenous structural change in the work culture of academic institutions to recognize the work/life balance needs of their employees.

This would also reflect a growing recognition that today's academics are not the same as yesterday's, and that both male and female faculty alike will want and require more flexible work arrangements and tenure clocks. Moreover, this would help to make academia more attractive, welcoming, and feasible to those faculty who are in the position of primary caretaker--which, for better or worse, tend to be female faculty. I just hope that the shift is serious and not merely lip-service. I'm going to have to be a skeptic and wait to hear how the tenure decisions play out--and I'm looking forward to more organizational and empirical studies on how many faculty actually use the tenure extension policies, and whether their schools really think of the clock as really stopped for the purposes of evaluating scholarly productivity and commitment.