how long is the optimal tenure clock?
I have heard that several schools have recently moved their tenure clocks back (from six to eight years). Tenure clocks do vary significantly from university to university, from five-six years to ten or so years.
So, what is the “optimal” tenure clock?
A short clock seems to have some advantages. Scholarly productivity can be evident early on, so a short clock perhaps makes sense. Perhaps a short clock instills an appropriate sense of urgency about publishing. Though, I have seen several people not get tenure somewhere, move to a “higher-ranked” school and then get tenure shortly thereafter. A longer clock gives scholars time to establish themselves further, to develop a reputation (citations are often used as a measure – and this takes time), etc. And, certain types of work (ethnographies) and certain types of publishing (books) can take quite long.
Of course, tenure clocks are used in different ways at different schools. Some schools pride themselves on rejecting tenure candidates – so perhaps a short clock makes sense there.
Anyways – any thoughts, is there an optimal tenure clock?