Catch 22 Faculty Tenure for Public Universities: New Evidence Employing Färe–Primont Productivity Indexes

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With decreases in funding support, U.S. public universities have increasingly substituted less costly nontenure eligible faculty for tenured and tenure-track faculty while newly imposed funding mandates require evidence of productivity improvements tied to student graduation success. Universities have been forced into a Catch 22 dilemma as to what faculty mix produces optimal student/funding outcomes. To date, guidance provided by empirical evidence is mixed. This article offers new evidence employing Färe–Primont productivity indexes and parametric estimates to determine how faculty status affects graduation productivity. Results indicate that a reversal in the employment trend is in order so as to increase tenured relative to nontenure eligible faculty and improve student graduation success and, ultimately, university funding.


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