One of the ultimate protections of being a tenured faculty member, historically, has been being immune from layoff in all but the most extraordinary circumstances. Under policies issued by the American Association of University Professors and largely accepted by higher education leaders, only institutions that declare "financial exigency" -- a state so dire that it "threatens the survival of the institution as a whole" -- can eliminate the jobs of tenured faculty members.
On the surface, the proposed changes to the tenure system at Brown University may seem like relatively minor adjustments, designed to help junior faculty members build up a more complete portfolio of work for review. For instance, the review would be moved to the seventh year of employment instead of the sixth.
When Duke University's Cathy Davidson announced her grading plan for a seminar she would be offering this semester, she attracted attention nationwide. Some professors cheered, others tut-tutted, and others asked "Can she do that?"
Her plan? Turn over grading to the students in the course, and get out of the grading business herself.