Emerging trends on tenure policies and practices in nursing and allied health education.J Allied Health 2006; 35(3):134-41JA
The tenure system in academia is under attack, and there is a need for empirical data on the emerging national trends relating to tenure. This comparative study investigated the emerging trends on tenure policies and practices in nursing and allied health education. We surveyed the deans of National League for Nursing-accredited programs and deans of allied health programs belonging to the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions nationwide. The nursing (n = 187) and allied health (n = 75) deans completed a research questionnaire designed to capture the critical issues relating to tenure in higher education. We found no significant difference (p > 0.05) between the perceptions of the allied health and nursing deans on the policies and practices associated with tenure. The allied health and nursing deans had similar views on posttenure review, changes in traditional tenure, tenure quota practice, inducements for faculty to forego tenure, review of the tenure criteria, and the ranking of the primary criteria used in granting tenure. Both groups of deans expressed strong support for the tenure system. Overall, 72% of the allied health deans and 68% of the nursing deans indicated that a doctorate is the degree required for tenure in their institutions. The preponderance of allied health and nursing deans, 77% each, ranked teaching as the primary criterion used in tenure decision. On the other hand, only 22% of allied health deans and 19% of nursing deans rated research as the most important criterion used for tenure. Only 1% of allied health deans and 4% of nursing deans considered service as the most important criterion used in tenure decision. The role of clinical practice in tenure decision was not evaluated in our study and is worth investigating in follow-up studies.