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September 10, 2015

Faculty Posts for Nonacademic Presidents

So far, Bruce Harreld, the newly named president of the University of Iowa, has made one decision that faculty members have applauded. Harreld, whose selection was opposed by faculty leaders and many other academics, said he would not seek the position as tenured professor that the Iowa Board of Regents offered as a possibility.
Harreld's contract said that "subject to the recommendation of the faculty," he would be granted tenure as a professor in Iowa's College of Business, and that this position would be available to him when he left the presidency, at a salary equal to the highest-paid tenured business professor at the university.
Such contract provisions are common for college and university presidents. But it's also common that many presidents earned tenure at some point in an academic career that turned into an administrative career. But what about candidates like Harreld, who was named president despite never having held a full-time position in academe or demonstrating much knowledge of how colleges and universities work? (Board members said they liked his extensive business experience.) Should these nontraditional presidents receive the same tenure offers as part of their contracts when they never earned tenure?

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