The license of tenure in universities is one of the most sacred granted to a human, difficult to acquire and almost impossible to be removed. It was conceived to free faculty from political interference in their pursuit of truth. And, as with any freedom, the academic freedom that is conferred when tenure is awarded carries with it responsibility and duty. Academic freedom and academic responsibility are two sides of the same coin. I believe society has been the great beneficiary of tenure in universities. The political leadership of states and the nation and the public are increasingly disenchanted with the idea of tenure in universities. The rhetoric questions its value, at best, and mocks it, at worst. Thus, I worry that tenure could be lost because too few faculty are speaking out on behalf of academic responsibility, responsibility to students, to colleagues in the institution, to junior faculty, and to the institutional goals of the university in which they hold tenure. The license of tenure also enables courage; it enables the ability to speak truth to each other. It enables senior faculty to impose accountability standards for performance and collegial behavior on each other. Where are those voices? Only faculty themselves award tenure and only faculty can set standards for academic responsibility. I fear for the license of tenure should these faculty voices not soon emerge.
I am looking for examples of faculty dialogue and activities in universities centered around academic responsibility.