About the editor:

Regarding “The move of the board of directors enables the dismissal of professors with tenure” (news article, October 14):

Tenure protects the academic freedom of permanent teachers and provides a structure in which faculty members can research and teach new ideas without fear of political or social retaliation. The new policy in Georgia, effectively abolishing tenure, threatens this structure and will ultimately hinder the flow of new ideas and the production of knowledge.

However, tenure-track faculties make up less than 10 percent of all research and teaching staff nationwide, and this trend away from retiring tenure-track faculties has been going on for decades. Therefore, even without the new Georgia policy, the universities are already undermining the term of office.

Non-tenure-track faculties (such as research and clinical faculties, and part-time and full-time lecturers) teach, research, and provide services to universities. These employees will never get a job, have fixed-term contracts, are poorly paid and in many cases receive no benefits. As such, they do not have the academic freedom that tenure should protect.

While we fully support the protection of academic freedom of permanent teachers in Georgia, the academy as a whole should protect academic freedom and provide fair working conditions for all faculties of the academy.

Ella August
Olivia S. Anderson
Joseph NS Eisenberg
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Drs. August and Anderson are Clinical Associate Professors in the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, and Dr. Eisenberg is a permanent professor there.

About the editor:

In four decades of college teaching, I have seen the inadequacies of the tenure process, a system that can empower and reward lifelong idlers. But the Georgia Board of Regents’ new decision to remove full-time professors from the public university system with little or no faculty contribution is a mistake.

In this plan, administrators would bypass peer reviews to weed out those “who are not making an adequate contribution to a university” – ominously fuzzy terms used to define the end of a career.

Faculty members who meet the requirements of teaching and faculty duties are much better able to determine a colleague’s contributions. It is not in their interest to protect idlers, stuck or not.

Under Georgia’s new policy, the performance of a full professor would be assessed using the additional measure of “student achievement”. But how is “success” measured? The number of students who pass or end in ones in your class? Radiant student ratings (which often correlate with good grades)?

The true worth of a teacher is how hard they work to meet the needs of their students. There is no reason to believe that Georgia’s new policy could judge this better than traditional policy. Rather than promoting “career development” of the faculty, it would lead to a spike in grade inflation and a preference for senior high school classes, all in the name of “student success”.

Cathy Bernhard
new York

About the editor:

On “The Next Leader of Europe Will Be No One” by Helen Thompson (guest article for comment, October 26):

I broadly agree that the departure of Angela Merkel, long-time German Chancellor, marks a period of inevitable uncertainty. I would like to add to this dire prognosis that Ms. Thompson’s concerns about Germany’s future ability to exercise firm leadership within the European Union are nevertheless exaggerated.

Like Angela Merkel, it owes the power of today’s Germany to its impressive industrial technological capabilities and its six decades of political stability. And who would have thought that such a calm, modest GDR student would have ended up where she is today, as Kati Marton’s masterful Merkel biography “The Chancellor” recalls?

John Starrels
Chevy Chase, Md.

About the editor:

On “Co-Housing Makes Parents Happier” by Judith Shulevitz (opinion guest essay, Sunday Review, October 24):

In my opinion, the nuclear family myth has always been unsustainable and harmful to parents and children. As the saying goes, you need a village.

Until recently, bringing up children was always a community matter – whether in the village itself or with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Today’s developments in residential communities have arisen from the sociological reality that children benefit from a developmental point of view and parents benefit emotionally when the burden of bringing up children is spread across a wider community and a village.

This truth is painfully evident in our mobile and less family-centered culture, where exhausted parents raise emotionally isolated children whose primary social contact is a screen.

Evelyn Baran
Beverly Hills, California.

About the editor:

On “The popularity of ‘Squid Game’ scares me”, by Frank Bruni (statement, October 23):

I’m teaching a Cinema of Horror course at the Pratt Institute on American film audiences’ preferences for increasingly violent content, such as what worries Mr. Bruni about Squid Game.

I would suggest that the old conundrum of whether this form of conversation adds to or just reflects an existing social anxiety can be bypassed for a different perspective.

Horrible entertainment can also be seen as prophylactic, according to some social theorists, in order to expose the audience to the anticipated widespread stress and thereby prepare them for it, and therefore ironically beneficial.

Steven Doloff
new York