Gen X Wants Tenure

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The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education at Harvard University today released a report that:

Challenges the common misperception of “Generation X” college faculty as self-centered careerists. Gen X faculty prefer, in fact, to establish long-term relationships with colleagues and others in their professional and personal communities.

The study revealed other characteristics of the Gen X’er interviewees, such as a general satisfaction with clear tenure processes, the importance of interdisciplinary work, the prioritizing of quality over quantity, and a desire for mentoring. But the most revealing results of the study concerned faculty desire for establishing roots and building communities on their campuses.

Generation X, an ambiguous pop culture marketing term for people born in the 1960s and 70s, is often said to be amoral and materialistic. Well maybe not, according to the study.

It’s a big maybe, however. The study was based only on interviews with 16 professors and administrators at colleges in the Northeast.

It’s a little unclear why these desires—mentorship, a way to build a career, and transparent opportunities for advancement—are exclusive to faculty born between 1964 and 1980. The characteristics appear to be fairly basic components of a healthy workplace.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer