Alchemical Thoughts

So, am I second class if I am not on the tenure line?

Posted on: January 7, 2008

The issue of whether academic librarians should be on the tenure line or not comes up every so often in our profession. I personally don't care a whole lot about it, but I have a good understanding of the tenure line folks and what they go through. After all, I was not always a librarian. This latest salvo from Steven Bell over at ACRLog bothered me a bit, mostly because it has a bit of an undertone that if you are not on a tenure line, then you can't certainly know how things are. To me, the little line of " to my way of thinking, what separates the real faculty from librarian faculty is the relationship with students" just does not ring right. I will put my relationships with students and the hard work I often do right alongside any faculty endowed librarian or even any other faculty any day of the week.I teach (in fact, I am very well trained in teaching and pedagogy, something a lot of faculty, librarian or otherwise, probably could not say); I have developed and continue to develop meaningful relationships with my students. I pursue questions when I am curious and do some research as need be (sure, I don't do as much research, but I don't have the "publish or perish" gun pointed at my head). I perform campus service; I have my own area of subject specialization (and a second advanced degree).Of course, the commenters over there, for the most part, faculty line folks, are already jumping to the defense of their positions. Idealizations aside, I am willing to bet some of them don't quite recall the days when they actually had to work for the tenure they now enjoy. In other words, it may all sound easy, that other faculty respect you, how the research requirement means you can pursue your curiosity, yadda yadda, now that they have the tenure, but what was the cost of getting it? Just wondering.  Anyhow, this does not quite merit me posting about it in the main blog, but it did catch my attention, and I will probably make a few more notes privately in my journal, if nothing else, to work things out for myself. 

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