Is It Fair? Law Professors’ Perceptions of Tenure
Authors: Elizabeth Mertz, Katherine Barnes, University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law
This paper presents initial data from a major empirical study of U.S. law professors conducted under the auspices of the American Bar Foundation with additional funding from the Law School Admission Council. The study combines a national survey of tenured law professors (Phase 1) and in-depth follow-up interviews with 100 of those professors (Phase 2). Here we report on tenured professors’ views regarding the tenure process itself. Although 76% of all professors in the study felt that the tenure process was fair, our results suggest that the perceptions of female tenured faculty members and tenured faculty of color differ significantly from those of their white male counterparts. Both female professors and professors of color perceived the tenure process as less fair and more difficult than did male or white professors. Female professors of color had the most negative perceptions. The interviews conducted during Phase 2 give us insight into the differing perceptions revealed by the quantitative analysis. These interviews indicated several sources of dissatisfaction with the tenure process, including the effects of implicit bias and a number of cultural and structural factors in the workplace. Both qualitative and quantitative data also indicate that which cohort a professor is in also affects how gender and race influence professors’ perceptions of the tenure process. The existence of a differentially minority and female group of professors who are disaffected regarding the tenure process echoes findings in an earlier study regarding satisfaction among law students. It also may form part of a picture that is emerging from recent research regarding differential rates of exit from the legal academy before tenure of scholars of color.
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Please see the following links to access supplemental materials, including tables, graphs, and the methods section from "Is It Fair? Law Professors’ Perceptions of Tenure."
Please click here to access Appendix A: Methods
Please click here to access Appendix B: Tables and Graphs
Please click here to access Appendix C: Supplemental Tables and Graphs
Summaries and findings
- After Tenure: Phase I Report and Publication
- Apr 2, 2011
- Addendum to LSAC version of After Tenure Report
- Jul 30, 2012
All summaries and findings »