The Bell Tolls for Tenure?

A bill making its way through the South Carolina legislature may have a tremendous impact on the state’s public higher education system.  And if successful, it may prove as a model for other states looking to get a handle on their hard-to-control higher education systems. House Bill 4522—the “Cancelling Professor Tenure Act”—will end tenure for … Continue reading “The Bell Tolls for Tenure?”


Why Is the AAUP Investigating UNC?

On September 29, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) announced that it is investigating what it calls “egregious violations of principles of academic governance and persistent structural racism in the University of North Carolina System.” To do so, it has launched a special committee and will release its findings in early 2022. According to … Continue reading “Why Is the AAUP Investigating UNC?”


Is it Time to Rethink Tenure?

In a recent article for the Martin Center, Duke professor Mike Munger asked an important question: should “a political board composed of nonacademics…be empowered to evaluate faculty proposals on hiring and curriculum in the first place?” He argued that, in practice, boards have already ceded that authority. For many years, shared governance, at least on … Continue reading “Is it Time to Rethink Tenure?”


Academic Freedom and Tenure: It’s More Complicated Than People Think

This essay is based on a talk given by Professor Munger at a Martin Center luncheon on July 15, 2021. What is academic freedom, and who has it? The question is raised by the recent controversy sparked by a process that is usually boring and bureaucratic: an academic tenure case. Nikole Hannah-Jones, Hussman School of … Continue reading “Academic Freedom and Tenure: It’s More Complicated Than People Think”


Why Did a Christian College Fire a Tenured Professor?

I am a 72 year old Air Force veteran. After 30 years of service, I was ready to retire when I heard about an opening at a small Christian college in Kentucky, I applied for the position of academic vice president and was hired. Berea College was founded in 1855 by an abolitionist; it was … Continue reading “Why Did a Christian College Fire a Tenured Professor?”


To Protect Tenure, Conservatives Need to Ally with Progressives

In October 2015, the Martin Center published an article reminding conservatives why they should defend tenure. Author David Clemens, relying on his own faculty experience, explained the dangers to the American Academy—and American society—of capitulating to the demands of an increasingly progressive regime on what can and cannot be taught, thought, or said in higher … Continue reading “To Protect Tenure, Conservatives Need to Ally with Progressives”


Professors Fight to Save Free Speech on Campus and Academic Freedom in Arkansas

In March 2018, the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees adopted new rules that fatally undermine academic freedom. We authored this piece for the Martin Center explaining the damage the amendments would inflict on higher education in the state. Unfortunately, the Board of Trustees ignored our warning, a warning reiterated by numerous other faculty and … Continue reading “Professors Fight to Save Free Speech on Campus and Academic Freedom in Arkansas”


The End of Being a Duke Professor and What It Means for the Future of Higher Education

The end of the spring semester marks the 20th anniversary of my professorship at Duke, first as an assistant professor and then as an associate professor of the practice at the Sanford School of Public Policy. During this time, I regularly taught the required ethics class for all undergraduate public policy majors. I won multiple … Continue reading “The End of Being a Duke Professor and What It Means for the Future of Higher Education”


Is Faculty Accountability Lacking at UNC Wilmington?

In my 45 years of teaching I have never filed an academic complaint against another faculty member—nor has one ever been filed against me. I have long believed that this demonstrates the overwhelming integrity of the teaching profession. But in 2012, as a professor and former chair in film studies at the University of North … Continue reading “Is Faculty Accountability Lacking at UNC Wilmington?”


Should We Stop Asking College Students to Evaluate Their Instructors?

At the end of every semester, at nearly every college in the country, millions and millions of students fill out student evaluations of teachers. These forms ask very sensible questions. Did the teacher effectively communicate the material? Were they available for students? Department chairs and deans take these evaluations very seriously. At teaching-intensive institutions, these … Continue reading “Should We Stop Asking College Students to Evaluate Their Instructors?”