tenure, in education, a guarantee of the permanence of a college or university teacher's position, awarded upon successful completion of a probationary period, usually seven years. Tenure is designed to make a teaching career more attractive by providing job security; by protecting the teacher's position, tenure also tends to enforce academic freedom. Those who argue against the institution of tenure claim that the security it provides often results in a lessening of the diligence and efforts of some teachers, that it sometimes provides permanent positions for incompetent teachers, and that it tends to close off opportunities for younger teachers. A tenured teacher may be dismissed for adequate cause, provided that the cause is established in proceedings with all the precautions of due process. Financial exigencies of an institution may also be recognized as justification for terminating appointments of tenured teachers.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.