Life After Tenure (in the US, anyway)

A small group of faculty, disproportionately women and scholars of color, are less satisfied.

The ABA has released a report entitled  After Tenure: Post-Tenure Law Professors in the United States (ABA, 2011).

This is such a richly interesting report, so much data. Can I recommend the sections on (surprise!) race and gender? I offer some tidbits almost useless out of context, merely to entice you along to the report.  Definitely worth thinking about. Some parts of it made me think i need to go back to Nancy Levit’s Keeping Feminism in Its Place: Sex Segregation and the Domestication of Female Academics, 49 U. KAN. L. REV. 775 (2001)(Feminist Theory symposium), though haven’t yet made sure that I’m remembering the right thing.

Some differences also appeared in terms of the types of committees on which white professors and professors of color typically served. White professors were more likely than minority professors to serve on committees involving advice
to the dean, curriculum development, law school program development, and university-wide committees. There were no significant differences between the number of white and minority professors involved with appointments and speaker series committees. Interestingly, similar numbers of tenured white and minority professors felt that they had opportunities to serve on important committees. We will be able to cast better light on the significance of these kinds of quantitative results using qualitative data from the second phase of the study.

A marked difference in accounts of interaction with students was found between tenured women and men. About 58% of  tenured women report that students “often” turn to them for advice or emotional support whereas only 39% of tenured men report this.* There is much more similarity between the numbers of tenured women (59%) and men (56%) who are formally involved with students at the institutional level (as indicated by their participation in student issues committees).


In the AT study, tenured men were more likely to be married than were tenured women. Tenured women are more likely than men to be divorced or widowed, or never to have been married. After Tenure: Post-Tenure Law Professors in the U.S. 54 More than 65% of our sample reported that they currently care for children. Similar numbers of tenured men and women reported that they have spent a considerable amount of time caring for children. However, a greater number of tenured women than men in the sample indicated that they spend a considerable amount of time caring for an ailing or special needs adult.

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