Saturday, January 8, 2011
National Law Journal, 'Voldemort' Attempts to Salve Worries That ABA Might Drop Tenure Requirement
A colleague, Santa Clara University School of Law Dean Donald Polden said, called him the "Lord Voldemort of legal education." Polden is chairman of an ABA committee that is reviewing, and considering scrapping, what many assumed was a requirement that ABA-sanctioned law schools offer faculties the protection of tenure.
During the 2011 annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools in San Francisco, Polden addressed a capacity crowd during a panel discussion on Thursday titled, "Can There Be Full Academic Freedom Without Tenure?" A spirited debate ensued among panelists and attendees about the role tenure plays in academic freedom and whether it should be required at U.S. law schools. ...
Despite the outcry of opposition, Polden said that little would change if the proposal were adopted into the accreditation standards. "The current draft does not preclude schools from having tenure," he said. "Much like the current policy, it does not mandate it."
New York Law School Dean Richard Matasar said that existing law schools would not move away from tenure even if the proposed standard were adopted because they are so entrenched in that system. However, the proposal would open the door for new law schools to have the flexibility to take a different approach to staffing and develop lower-cost ways to deliver legal education, he said, noting that faculty salary represents between 45% and 50% of law school budgets.