DENVER -- Gatherings of any significant number of faculty members on the tenure track feature many discussions of the stresses associated with coming up for tenure. Will I publish enough? Have I offended a senior colleague? Do I know what the review committee really cares about? The American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting here is no different, with plenty of hallway chatter among younger scholars about their chances.
W. King Mott, associate professor of political science and gender studies at Seton Hall University, clearly has earned respect from colleagues at the Roman Catholic institution. He has tenure. He recently finished a term as chair of the Faculty Senate. He served on the search committee for a new president.
A 1980 Supreme Court decision largely blocked the unionization of faculty members at private colleges and universities, based on the idea that they had so much power that they effectively were part of management.
The occasional flaps between professors at Roman Catholic institutions and the bishops in their dioceses often hinge on whether allegiance to church orthodoxy trumps the free spirit of inquiry celebrated in academe. The church’s efforts to strike a balance between those two sometimes-competing values will soon be brought to the forefront again, as bishops begin a formal review of how well colleges are upholding their Catholic identities.