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A tenure from a good university is generally considered to be the pinnacle of academic achievements. It is packed with so many benefits that it is easy to lose direction in one's research career post tenure.

  • In the event that such a thing happens, i.e., if a professor loses interest in research after obtaining a tenure (due to health, family or whatever), what steps do universities take?
  • Is there any procedure built into the functioning of universities that helps them minimise productivity loss post tenure?
  • Are there incentives which universities (could) offer struggling professors?

1 Answer 1

The cynical answer is "nothing". But in truth there are other ways to monitor progress and dole out rewards/lack of reward.

  • If your productivity drops off a cliff after tenure, you're unlikely to get promoted to full professor (US-specific), and get the associated salary increases etc. You may be comfortable with this (less service is a good thing!)
  • Some universities do 5-yearly post-tenure review. Doing poorly on such reviews can lead to loss of raises, reduced access to new space and facilities, increased service load (if you're not pulling in funding or teaching well for example), and so on.

but ultimately, the final incentive is your own desire to perform. It's very hard to fire faculty. But administrators can try to kill entire departments.