Saturday, October 8, 2005

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So Friday was a pretty bad day....

This Friday was a less-than-great day for two reasons.

First, the Red Sox got swept in the playoffs. Iím sad about it, but not that sad. I can hardly begrudge the White Sox for their first playoff series victory since 1959 1917, and my son was quite pleased by the result. Along the spectrum of Red Sox Nation, I fall in the Bill Simmons camp Ė disappointed but no longer devastated when they lose. Besides, for reasons I posted on six months ago, I am optimistic about the future.

[Shouldnít you be more "rah-rah" about the team representing the South Side of Chicago?óed.] Well, that leads to the second and more important reason why Friday was a pretty bad day.

The political science department voted to deny me tenure. Next year at this time, I will no longer be residing in Hyde Park or teaching at the University of Chicago.

[Wait a minute, you canít leave it at that. What happened? What the hell happened? Why didnít you get tenure? Was it your failure to anchor yourself within a clearly established theoretical paradigm? A lack of respect from peers in your IPE subfield? Too much output? A declining respect of your subfield by your tenured colleagues? The departmental turn away from mainstream political science scholarship? Your political orientation? Jealousy of your public intellectual status? WAS IT THE FRIGGINí BLOG??!!--ed.] My answers in order: I dunno, perhaps, probably not, maybe, I guess so, a little, could be, I seriously doubt it, and who the hell knows? Any decent social scientist must allow for multiple causes, so itís not necessarily an either/or question. At the moment, I simply lack the data to confirm or deny any explanation. I may garner more information in the days and weeks that follow, but the fact that I was genuinely surprised at the outcome suggests that my ex ante intelligence gathering was piss-poor.

[So what will you do now?--ed.] Look for gainful employment to start in June 2006 Ė a fact that will no doubt amuse readers who have disagreed with my take on the effect of offshore outsourcing on job creation. At least I have some lead time.

[How are you feeling? Are you bitter at the U of C?--ed.] Iíve felt better. And -- duh -- yeah. That said, I will miss the students. The undergrads have been wonderful, and the grad students have been razor-sharp. At the moment, my biggest regret about all this is the knowledge that Iíve taught my last class at the university.

[Speaking of regrets, letís go back to the blog.... erÖ any regrets?--ed.] The very first words I wrote on this blog were: "I shouldn't be doing this. I'll be going up for tenure soon." This is a theme that Iíve touched on several times since then. The point is, I canít say I didnít go into this with my eyes open.

That said, if one assumes that the opportunity cost of blogging (e.g., better or more scholarship) was the difference between tenure and no tenure Ė an unclear assertion at best Ė then itís a tough call. From a strict cost-benefit analysis, one could argue that the doors that blogging opened could have been deferred for a few years in return for the annuity of a tenured position at Chicago. That said, if I did things only for the money, I never would have entered the academy in the first place. And Iíve enjoyed the psychic rewards of blogging way too much to regret my choice.

[Just this week you said, "The academic job market, as I've witnessed it, is a globally rational but locally capricious system." Still believe that?--ed.] Well, Iíd posit that the second half of the hypothesis has received another data point of empirical support. Weíll see how the first half holds up as the job market proceeds.

Blogging may be slower than usual for the next couple of days.

posted by Dan on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM




Comments:

I'm sorry to hear that.

That makes you the second academic blogger from UofC that I know of to get denied tenure. One can't help but think that's a pattern....

posted by: Aaron on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Hey Dan, sorry to hear you didn't get tenure. Feel similarly to you and Simmons about the Red Sox. And, hearing that you didn't get tenure makes baseball seem not quite so important. Best of luck in figuring out what happened and seeking new employment. Keep up the good commentary. I appreciate your intelligent blogging from a conservative/liberatarian perspective. Other than you, I haven't had much luck finding intelligent commentary/blogging from a conservative perspective.

posted by: Joel on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Horrible news. I can't believe you rated it second on your list!

Best of luck. I think the blogging might actually pay off in the long term.

posted by: Adam on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I work with Rober Gordon, a somewhat well known economist at Northwestern. He was denied tenure when he was at U of c way back when (I think it was sometime in the 19th century). Milton Friedman later said one of his biggest mistakes was denying Gordon tenure. He's now really successful, lives in a huge lakefront mansion, and does just fine for himself at NU.

I'm sure it sucks for you right now, but there's obviously a lot of potential out there for things to be ok.

posted by: Ian D-B on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Wow. Really sorry to hear it. I can say that I know how you feel, a little.

I hope you don't regret the blogging (as it doesn't seem that you are). You're doing a tremendous service for the community, and that's important even if it's not appreciated by certain narrow-minded folks who just happen to wield a lot of power.

posted by: Sean on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



That's terrible to hear. One advantage to blogging, though, is that I imagine that there's a political scientist out there somewhere at a first-rate university trying to interest his department chair in making an offer...

Good luck!

posted by: Bob McGrew on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Sorry to hear that, Dan; doubtless, though, you will land on your feet.

posted by: Chris Lawrence on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'm sure you'll be just fine, Dan, but it's not time yet to make yourself feel better. Those f*****s. They just made you the newest member of the group of academics who go on to have illustrious careers after being denied tenure.

posted by: ogged on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'm so sorry, Dan. Good luck with the job search.

posted by: Nitish on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I used to know your work a bit before I started reading your blog. But as I became a regular follower here, it made me go out and read your work on topics that probably would not have a high priority in my studies (I am an IR grad working on conflict stuff). I bet U of C is a great place to be, but just remember how many big names are denied tenure at Chicago or Yale and become great at another prestigious university. Good luck in the job market and thanks for this blog.

posted by: Kerim Can on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Seize this rare opportunity! Make aliyah! Stanley Fischer is here!

posted by: jaim on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



There's a consoling story about a seventeenth-century German prince who advertised a job of court composer. He didn't have a choir, only a chamber orchestra, so the candidates were invited to submit samples of chamber compositions. A musician from Saxony applied, submitting five concerti, but didn't get the post. Sounds familiar? Yes, the prince was the Elector of Brandenburg.

posted by: James Wimberley on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Wow, I'm very sorry. UofC is very likely making a big mistake. Well, I really hope something good comes out of this and end up at another place you really like.

posted by: Javier on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



The Red Sox loss can be ameliorated if the goddamnyankees lose tonight. As to the other thing, I was blindsided on Friday too. I think that not seeing it coming and not knowing why is the worst part.

posted by: 2810 on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



So sorry to hear that Dan. If it's any consolation, your blog is one of the best around and I read it daily.

posted by: praktike on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Sorry to hear, but I'm sure you'll find another good job.

IR doesn't seem to be a major field at U of C anymore; perhaps that's a reason.

Of course, at some later point you have to post a bit more about your speculations why you were denied tenure...

posted by: ab on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I sure am sorry, Dan. Good luck at the next place!

posted by: Bruce Cleaver on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Best of luck, Dan. It's a sh*tty situation to be in (something analogous happened to me a few years back), but I have a feeling you'll land on your feet. One door closes, another one opens.

posted by: yomama on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Consider the University of Miami - most of the girls are prettier than Salma Hayek. I've been to Chicago a few times and the girls were cows. Good luck guy, I've been in painful times too, but your going to do great things where ever you end up.

posted by: wayne on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I don't know how to convey how much I am saddened by the news. I really am.

Your blog is indeed one of the best out there.

I wish you the best and i trust that you will land on your feet very soon.

posted by: Nick Kaufman on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Sorry to hear about tenure denial. The U of C made a mistake. I know you'll find a good position. The great thing about the blogosphere is your url doesn't have to change just becuase you move.

posted by: Barry Dauphin on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Tough break man. On the possible plus side, my last few trips through Chicago have convinced me its a few short years from turning into the place envisioned in Soylent Green, so good to get out now. Go west, young professor.....

posted by: pjw on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'm sorry, this just reeks of politics (ironically enough). Although we don't have near enough data to know what happened, we can say with some confidence Dan's output was far beyond what should have been required for tenure (both in quantity and quality). That is, if tenure were based on pure merit, then if Dan didn't get it, then none of us be gettin' it.

The lack of a clearly established theoretical paradigm could be a serious consideration though. UC is known for its great "schools of thought", and lacking one could indeed be considered problematic by some faculty.

Of course, its hard not to consider the blog. Even at my top-ranked and technologically progressive university, I find that the tenured faculty members in our political science dept. have a very conservative view towards new technological approaches. None ofthem use Powerpoint, listen/assign podcasts, have/read blogs, etc. And suggestions to start a departmental blog or regular podcasts of visiting speakers has been met with a genuine lack of enthusiasm.

We have some striking similarities to UC, so could be that some Dan's "peers" likewise found his blog to be not worthy of an academic. Or were even simply jealous/derisive of the popularity he gained from it: "Why does everyone listen to this young kid all of a sudden...*I'm* the great academic"

Honestly, most tenured social science profs I've met either have the maturity level of small children or are slightly insane or both. So Dan might consider being glad that he's leaving UC's little playground and will happily wind up at a university where's he's *meant* to be.

posted by: jprime on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Unbelievable.

posted by: Will Baude on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Maybe it is an indication of the depth of the current bench at Chicago.

Many are called.....

posted by: RichardK01 on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



A small point: In '59, the White Sox won the AL pennant and lost the World Series to the LA Dodgers, but this predates divisional play in MLB, the White Sox did not win a playoff series in '59.

posted by: Garry McMinds on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Hmmm... think of it as a blessing. Would you want to continue working for people that didn't appreciate someone of your caliber?
That said... it still sucks.

posted by: Richard on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Scholasticism has never been particularly friendly to renaissance nor renaissance men. Perhaps the blogosphere can serve as your Rhea to protect you from Cronus's ravenous maw...

posted by: Bezuhov on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Sorry to read this particular post, Dan. I wish you well.
You might try to give the Univ of Michigan Political Science Dept a try. Ann Arbor is a pretty good place, and it is a good department.

posted by: DannyBoy on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



C'mon out to UCLA. IR search on; need good rising faculty; IPE-friendly environment; model-friendly environment; no bombs-and-rockets IR guys at all (a la Mearsheimer); housing is expensive but you can throw out anything made of wool, vinyl, gore-tex, and drive a convertible just about any day of the year.

posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'm very sorry to learn about the tenure decision. The blog is terrific and I sure hope you keep it going!

Garry Wills was denied tenure at Hopkins years ago. A supporter asked why, and was told, he didn't write enough. Life is full of ironies.

Good luck!

Dan Tompkins

posted by: Dan Tompkins on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



How about U-Wisconsin-Madison?

It's just up the road and it's nicer than Ann Arbor... much nicer than South Side Chicago.

posted by: Keven on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Another thing to be thankful for. Most career commissioned military officers have to face the day they're passed over for promotion. At lower grades it doesn't have to be a career-ender, but for O-4s (Majors / Lt. Commanders) and certainly most O-5s (Lt. Colonels / Commanders)it's game-over.

Twenty-ish years serving the country and then you're done, whether you want to be or not. You can't get passed over for Captain in the 7th Fleet and go looking for a job in the 5th Fleet.

It's also another reason to thank the folks who risk their lives on our behalf.

posted by: Bart on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Chin up mate, ups and downs and all that.

At least you may end up in more hospitable climes (my brief exposure to Chicago having suggested to me the climate is bizzare).

posted by: The Lounsbury on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Wretched, wretched decision--and, really, a deeply irresponsible one, for the U of C and its students.

Could it get any scrutiny higher up? If I were you I'd consider an appeal, not so much for personal reasons but to challenge such blinkered thinking--at the very least, to pull some of the decision-making into the light.

Sorry about this--but you're resourceful and talented--you'll do great wherever you end up.

posted by: Michael Harvey on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan,
As I have grown older and possibly wiser, I am ever more certain that if it doesn't kill you it will make you stronger. I left the limp wienies who infes...er, staffed our department behind, but only because I could see it coming....also, I was bored with all the pretentiousness of partially competent, clearly self-infatuated windbags. I became disgusted by obvious discongruities between what the academic world claims professes and what it generally is (baffled people given the opportuinty to be lazy). It strikes me, after all the years, that the Academy is a conflation between the best of opportuinty to the intellectual life, combined with the opportunity to be truly spoiled brats. One old idea is that academics beat each other up so much because they have so little to fight about. The other issue is that the (ahem!) Academy is the last surviving (sort of...) feudal institution, with all that that implies. Perhaps Kahn's idea about paridigm change explains it best. The bus-drivers you needed to impress probably got where they are by signing onto a state of being that is accepted if mediocre, and works for them, and if you don't fall within the penumbra, well, you just can't be one of them. As an academic, I was often surpised by how smart and organized the biz guys were who were taking over biology; after all, I was the professor, right? But their strength, and my weakness, was that I was was the professor. Nuts! what works is what is in charge. If the sentient part of the public eally knew what was going on on campuses, they'd take back the damn Land Grants.... tolerance has it's limits, but luckily for the Academy they are too busy paying for it to notice what's really up in the empire of the ants. Anyway, if it doesn't kill you, you truly will get stronger. My academic experiences made me appreciate knowledge, and most of all appreciate that knowing stuff and acting on it is an occupation and a Citadel far aside from the Gas-Works.
Best of luck to you. I'm sure as hell that you will do just fine.

posted by: Edo Scope on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



My dislike for modern academia as an institution and my belief that U Chicago is no longer a great school in particular have been strongly confirmed by your lack of tenure.

I'm sorry. I hope you will find a fulfilling intellectual future somewhere else.

posted by: Allison on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



The Hell with Academia: It is my pleasure to introduce the Mayor of the City of Chicago; the Honorable Danial Jerome Drezner.

posted by: Tom on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'm thinking it was somehow a mixup on the part of the faculty between your interests in Salma Hayek and Friedrich Hayek. (Okay, weak joke; it's the thought that counts, which is "Cheer up.")

From your perspective, the renown and excellence at Chicago must, I'm sure, make it all the more painful a result. Most of your readers probably understand how significant an accomplishment it is to be a tenure-track faculty member at Chicago in the first place, and how something perceived by the faculty to fall just short of tenure-worthy there is almost certainly above the standards at many other extremely good schools, and even at the few at Chicago's level might well have gotten you the nod.

The best revenge is living well, and they say that revenge is a dish best served cold. My guess is that sooner rather than later you'll start obtaining that best revenge; but that you also have ample time if that's needed; and ultimately you'll have even greater success and satisfaction elsewhere than you had hoped for at Chicago; and that whatever hard feelings may linger, there will also be mutual warm and continuing feelings over the years with some of your friends and colleagues there.

I wish I could be more profound; you've probably thought of all this and more already, to the extent it has any merit. Mostly I'm just writing as a demonstration of respect, sympathy, and support. And I salute you for your courage in blogging about this, which must not have been at all easy, but I suspect will ultimately prove to be theraputic and maybe even useful in other practical ways. Good luck, Dr. D.

posted by: Beldar on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



It's because you're a purple cow. If you'd been a Jeff, you'd have made it hands down.

posted by: Geoff on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



While the supportive bleating supra re injustice and the like in regards to Drezner is understandable, I would suggest that making political or academic-phobia hay out of one man's denial of tenure is more than slightly navel gazing.

Our blogger had a rational, balanced take on the decision, without sly, self-pitying swipes. Perhaps the commentators should follow his example.

Perhaps the decision was unjust. Perhaps not. Perhaps connected with the blog, perhaps not.

Bleating and blundering about with assumptions poorly anchored in fact is something Drezner rarely did (if ever), one reason I have come to like reading the blog, and I'll do him the respect on not acting like a fool.

posted by: The Lounsbury on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan

Sorry to hear that. I generally have a good overall impression of Univ of Chicago--law and economics at least.

Cheer up. Come to Texas. Climate is better in SO many ways, and we have some great schools wiht great PolySci departments. Univ of Texas, Rice, with the Baker Institute.

posted by: dtb on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I suggest Princeton...

posted by: politicaobscura on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan,

I am very sorry to hear of you denial of tenure

The academy can be an awfully capricious place.

Good luck in the hunt for the next stop. I have little doubt that your c.v. will serve you well.

For what it is worth, I have a colleague who was similarly, and surprisingly, denied tenure and ended up with an better job.

Good luck and many well wishes.

Steven

posted by: Steven Taylor on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



That just stinks.

But, frequently, it's typical. Look in the bio here at what my grandfather did, and then notice that it took him 18 years to get tenure.

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Philistines. Screw 'em.

posted by: Jim Clark on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I don't know whether to give sympathy or congratulations. My husband is retired now but having been around the university environment for most of my adult life I know there is always much more than research and scholarship involved in these decisions. Politics is just one of them. Personal jealousies and professional jealousies can play a very large part. If tenure was denied, YOU are better off leaving that spot, THEY probably won't be. We don't know their reasoning but we do know your writing and opinions and IMHO that should have done well by you. If it didn't that is their loss.
Good things await you where you are appreciated.

posted by: Ruth H on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'm sorry "The Lounsbury", calling all of us fools and saying "who knows what caused this" denies a certain amount of clear evidence:

-Dan's academic output was high quantity and high quality

-Dan's blog commentary was intelligent, thoughtful, and though you may not have agreed with it (I didn't always) it was rarely controversial. That is, as readers, we know that Dan was not some wild crank in the field.

Therefore, its logical and scientific to hypothesize that his denial of tenure was a political decision, not a merit-based one. Granted we cannot know what those politics were. But if you think that academic tenure decisions are not based on politics...well, let's just say that you should *not* be calling other commentators "fools".

posted by: jprime on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Academia has gone to rot. Putrid corpses in robes. You, on the other hand, are alive and well. Do something that lets you know you're alive and thriving. Why in such a hurry to join the rotting cadavers?

posted by: Montblanc on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan, what an appalling decision. As one of the 'IT Consultants' who teased you about tenure some time back I want to say I didn't mean it - that is the way the academic game works and I knew it.

Writing as someone with experience of getting rejected despite demonstrated merit all I can say is now is the time to pick yourself up and start working on your revenge. Have a brilliant career - elsewhere and make them richly regret it!

posted by: Don on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



As a Chicago transplant, I can tell you that Champaign-Urbana is lovely. Plus, we've got a University that, while not as prestigious as U of C, doesn't exactly suck.

posted by: Spoons on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan this decision was wrong on so many levels. I agree with those who say political. I'm staring at your edited book right now, and I've read a lot of your stuff. I wish I had your credentials (and your brains). This is UofC's loss and your gain in the long run. At APSA next year we'll celebrate your new, vastly improved job situation.

posted by: BeckyJ on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I know the feeling well -- I went through it myself before I decided to become a violinmaker. But I'll never forget a comment from a high-powered philosopher at Princeton, he said, "I've never known anyone to be denied tenure for academic reasons."

posted by: Arthur Moeller on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan, I've really valued the blog, and, as you know, the huge majority of tenure decisions at places like this are denials. No shame in failing to hit some idiosyncratic and moving target of superstar; when yeses are so hard to get, getting them gets really weird.

posted by: David on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



They're crazy. I'm in the IPE field myself (though, alas, not in a job-providing capacity), and while I'm sure I'm biased by the fact that your assessments often cohere with mine, I've found your work engaging and, in large part thanks to your blog, highly accessible. Maybe it's time for you to return to Colorado to resurrect your ultimate frisbee talent!

posted by: Denise on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



NOVA SOUTHEASTERN U...it's a comer!

posted by: Matt G on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Truly regrettable, for you are an excellent teacher, an engaging researcher, and an example of what I value about Chicago.

posted by: Amanda Butler on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Glad to see your spirits aren't dimmed by this.

-T

posted by: The Therapist on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Ugh. You have my sympathy. That and my confidence that things will work out for you in the end.

Tenure seems to me to be a weird and outmoded system. Why is it still around, besides tradition, anyway? Anyone know the answer?

posted by: Eloise on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'm the scum of the earth - a lowly high school senior. OTOH, I do have a national merit scholarship, SAT's in the very high 1500's (until I take it again and max it out) and a GPA over 4. I'm applying to colleges right now.

I took Michigan off the list when the racists there won in the SCOTUS. This strikes Chicago too. I hope Northwestern doesn't screw up in the next 6 months.

posted by: Richard T on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



congratulations on being denied tenure. this from someone who's been fired several times, from university to government. each time i was forced to expand my thinking, take to heart the reason for my failure, and get better. remember that edison failed thousands of times, and later said that each failure was precious to him because he learned things he otherwise wouldn't have.

you're a great talent, you'll do wonderfully. and don't limit your thinking to academia, there are many other things to do in the 'real world.'

cheers

posted by: michael ledeen on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



That really sucks. My condolences.

posted by: Robert Schwartz on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I think you would be happier at a think tank. There are a number in Washington such as CSIS and Brookings that I'm sure would welcome you with open arms.

posted by: Bruce Bartlett on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



As an attorney who was denied partnership at one of the blue chip firms, I can confirm that is was the best thing that ever happened to me, and I have a much more interesting and fulfilling job (with more time for myself and my family!), then I ever would have had at the firm.

posted by: crew on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Let me add my sympathy and best wishes for you to find a job that will allow you to make your colleagues regret their decision. I'm too far outside your field to know where that should be, and I'm not in a position to push for my colleagues to offer you a job... but should your job hunting bring you to Texas A&M University (home of the Bush 1 Presidential Library and associated programs), I hope I can buy you a beer...or a margarita.

Lining up your questions and answers, did you really mean to say that too much output was a maybe? Eek.

posted by: Jim Hu on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan how about you come to the University of Arizona. We are really short on political science professors.

posted by: Nick on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



My condolences. After teaching nearly a quarter of a century in a public school, I was not recommended for rehiring. I could have fought it, probably would have won, but I went looking elsewhere and found a school that is a perfect fit for me. Though I loved the kids at my old school, I realized that my administrator's vision was vastly different than my own. My insight for the day: Sometimes you don't know your head hurts until you stop hitting it with a hammer. Good luck!

posted by: kj on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



You have my deepest sympathies. I've been there and know pretty much how you feel. I hope the market treats you well.

posted by: William Sjostrom on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan,

I am very sorry to hear about this. I have written that I am glad to see conservative law profs blog -- it keeps them off the Supreme Court and lets the students know what they are buying. But this sucks.

(Perhaps it's time for you to start investigating what you might do for the Clark, Edwards, or Clinton campaigns. Or for Commander in Chief or the West Wing.)

posted by: jerry on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Wow, one thing I've gotten from your blog is how smart and energetic you are. You'll land on your feet at a bigger and better place. I believe that and wish you the best always.
Diane Snyder

posted by: Diane on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I agree with Michael Ledeen and Bruce Bartlett, Dan. You are a natural for some think tank out there.

Does anyone else find irony in the fact that Ward Churchill is tenured faculty today - and Daniel Drezner is not?

posted by: Don on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'm sorry man. You'll land with your feet up and in any case, there are a lot of people you've met through your blog who'll be much more wiling to buy a book you write than whoever it is they did give tenure to.

f

posted by: Fred Schoeneman on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'm a UC alum with #2 son an undergrad.

This just sucks big time.

I have had my differences with you from time to time, but there is no doubt that UC is losing an absolutly outstanding person from their faculty.

Very best wishes on your next assignment.

posted by: M. Simon on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Truly unbelievable.

But Dan, you are too smart and talented to let this seriously affect you. It will only make you stronger.

Good luck and thanks for the blogging.

posted by: Eric Jaffe on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I've watched the tenure process close up for three decades without being involved (a lecturer with more consulting work than I can handle most of the time - I do love teaching).

The tenure process is incredibly corrupt, in the sense that the process is very clearly stated in governance documents but nobody pays much attention to the documents.

And teaching has absolutely nothing to do with tenure (excepting small liberal arts and community colleges)despite all of the lip service.

Academic politics are petty and vicious, as one might expect from spoiled and pampered people with a ridiculous amount of job security.

A bright future awaits - somewhere else.

posted by: save_the_rustbelt on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Very sorry to hear the news. That sucks.

/FWIW, my advice to on how to make tenure, where ever you go next: Compare Israel to Nazi Germany - early and often.

Alleged Intimidator of Jewish Students Likely To Achieve Tenure at Columbia

posted by: SoCalJustice on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan: I'm sure you're already being scouted by other schools you've visited as a guest lecturer while at Chicago. I wouldn't be surprised to find you have a new job by Christmas. I'm a little disconcerted by the timetable...usually one is given one full year security after tenure denial (it's so at my university,) plus what remains of the current year rather than just a semester. Every tenure denial of a credible candidate is indeed personal and political. Period. The university tenure committee (I sailed through department and college) tried to deny me based on solely on the very conservative political profile of my academic and professional work, but the board of trustees and president intervened and granted me tenure. A very rare event. A friend of mine (interestingly, a Marxist) was on the university tenure committee and told about the deliberations--it was all about my 'right wing' ideological bent.

If I were you, I'd appeal--at least so far as to demand an accounting of your faculty. (I was considering a court case before the trustees acted in my behalf. A very long and ugly lawsuit, won by another faculty member to the tune of many hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages had just been adjudicated at the time of my denial.) While I considered my options after the initial denial, I interviewed at other universities and was offered tenure positions--I'm sure you'll find that you'll have many options in the upcoming months. I'm betting you'll end up in the Boston area. Best of luck--not that you'll really need it. Your virtues should suffice.

posted by: John on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



It certainly lowers my opinion of the University of Chicago.

They must be really dumb.

Daniel, it doesn't seem like it now, but I have been in similar situations and want to say you will be surprised how good, somehow, this ultimately is for you when you succeed beyond their wildest paradigms. They live in a pinched little world and you don't.

posted by: A.M. Mora y Leon on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



The White Sox haven't won a playoff series since 1917. They were in the World Series in 1959, but there were no playoffs other than the World Series.

posted by: Mike on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Daniel,

I just finished a doctorate at U of C -- the worst, most politicized experience of my life. The meanness of that place was breathtaking, particularly in the humanities. I took the last course taught by Prof. Shils before he died and spent some time talking alone with him several years ago. He once said that U of C rewarded "politicians," not true scholars.

You are a true scholar, Daniel, as well as a thinker and writer. I have absolutely no doubt that you'll find a niche somewhere, perhaps in academia, where your talents will be recognized and rewarded.

Be patient.

posted by: Kristen on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



On my own blog I wrote

...another thing that struck me about Dan's post:
the fact that I was genuinely surprised at the outcome suggests that my ex ante intelligence gathering was piss-poor.

My reaction is that the fact that he was genuinely surprised suggests that the quality of the junior faculty mentoring at the U of C was piss-poor. Maybe I'm wrong, but everything in Dan's blogging is inconsistent with someone who would be in denial about the warning hints that he should have been getting if his senior colleagues - and especially his department head - had concerns about his tenure case.

Some faculty don't share my views about the need to mentor our junior colleagues. I think it's wasteful to hire talented people and then not help them succeed. I also think it's unfair to lead people on. Others take the view that if you need the help figuring out what to do or where you stand, then you don't deserve to succeed.

I'm sure that those who voted against Dan while not expressing their concerns to him during the past 5 years have a their own views of what happened...and it would be inappropriate for them to broadcast their reasons, so we will never know more except through what Dan finds out and decides to share with the blogosphere. There is also no guarantee that people will share their real reasons with him. But there's a lesson for those chosing between job offers...find out how the places you are considering handle feedback and mentoring.

posted by: Jim Hu on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'm a graduate of UC and all I can say is, "their f***ing loss."

posted by: Roger Sweeny on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'm somewhat surprised also. I always thought you were pretty smart.

posted by: Sam Boogliodemus on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Chin up. Three of the best profs I know were denied tenure at one time or another. I know several because I read and/or used their work. Tenure is almost a crap shoot at too many institutions (I suspect there are multiple reasons for calling the institutions) of higher education.

Half of the tenured profs I've known (attending and teaching at a dozen or so) are twits. They mostly did whatever it took to get tenure then kicked back and enjoyed their twithood. The other half make it work.

You'll be fine, just in some other place.

posted by: JorgXMckie on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan,
Not much I can add to the eloquent words expressed by some of the other commenters, but this is a tremendous loss for your students, both grad and undergrad. Given what I have learned just from your blogposts, and the way you approach academic subjects, it is abundantly clear that you are also a gifted educator. Wherever you end up, your new students should consider themselves very lucky indeed.

posted by: Bill on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



It is not that bad. White Sox up Red Sox down. Probable did not receive tenure because you are to vocal(blog). That place is too dry for that kind of thinking. Conservatism there means conserving their power and blogging spreads it around. Blogging has taught you to be quick thinking given the information you have.

posted by: Robert M on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Oh dear. I've read your blog off and on for some time, and have been rewarded intellectually every time.

To bring the matter closer to home for me is that my stepfather, the PhilosopherDuck, is a year or so away from undergoing the tenure process at... the University of Chicago. *gulp*

From all I've heard from PhilosopherDuck (and others), the UofC is a hotbed of political intrigue, maybe worse than most higher ed institutions. I'm desperately sorry to hear that it might be true, and even moreso because it means that you got the shaft.

posted by: Wonderduck on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Sorry to hear. From a high school student considering an academic career, your blog has been a blessing. Try Georgetown, unless I don't end up attending there. Please post your new location so I can prepare an app for that lucky school!

posted by: Matt on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



As an alum, I have never been so disgusted with the actions of my alma mater. It is completely Chicago's loss. Dan's work--as is obvious to anyone who has been reading his blog and has seen the links to and discussions of his publications--is of extremely high quality. That Chicago would not want him around permanently speaks very negatively about the institution.

Dan, everyone is telling you this but I will pile on: You will land on your feet and make Chicago regret not having you. My best wishes for your career--which will do just fine despite this setback. This too shall pass.

posted by: Pejman Yousefzadeh on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



A wreched outcome for a superior candidate.
MY condolences. Like everyone here, we'll be watching your DESERVED progress with interest.

As the psycho-babblers put it, bad things happen to good people. Sometimes there is no justice.

Remember Agathe Christy's line: "Living well is the best revenge." It's sunnier and funner (OK - less citified) out West!

And faculty ought to consider itself fortunate to have you.

posted by: Orson on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Not an academic here, so perhaps this is a naive question, but is there another professional or business selection process in our society that is so completely lacking in transparency or reason as tenure selection? It seems more than a little odd that an applicant of your manifest talent and accomplishments is left grasping at straws as to why he was denied. I know U Chicago is a private institution, but there ought to be at least some transparency to the process, given that U-C like every major research university receives massive amounts of government funding and is subject to governmental regulation and scrutiny. It is a national institution that serves the public interest. As the SCOTUS ruling in the U Michigan case revealed, even the admissions policies of our universities, as bizarre as they may be, attempt to use some kind of objective scoring criteria.

So was there a score, or multiple scores, assigned by the tenure committee to the candidacy of Prof. Drezner? Is there a reason that the public is not entitled to know what this scoring process, if any, consists in, and in which area Prof Drezner came up short?

Bloggers have set their sights on the arrogance and non-transparency of the mainstream media. Perhaps they should also take aim at our less-than-competent, non-responsive and non-transparent university faculties.

posted by: thibaud on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Idiots. Absolute Idiots. I'm sorry, I don't see how this makes any kind of sense. My respect for University of Chicago has dropped considerably. I often don't agree with you, and read you less than I ought, but you're clearly a pathbreaker in building interfaces between academia and the public over issues that matter, and doing it an incredibly intelligent, precise manner. I hope this means someone one the west coast can steal you.

posted by: Saheli on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Think Tank? The guys that poll below journalists, politicians, whores, lawyers?

If you're going to go out into the real world, my advice is to stay out of a cliquish, money driven research, think tank.

posted by: jerry on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Sorry to hear the news, Dan. I don't always agree with your comments, but your blog is infinitely more thoughtful, intellectual and relevant than Freakonomics, the blog of a fool professor of economics at the University of Chicago.

I was denied tenure by the psychology department at the University of Oregon because I would not pretend that the mafia that ran the department was benign. Turns out, this was a requirement for junior faculty.

My sense is that there are even more odd birds at Chicago than at other universities. Some day, when you write a best seller about what a bunch of looneytunes your colleagues were, you'll realize it was all for the best.

posted by: Deb on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Is there a reason that the public is not entitled to know what this scoring process, if any, consists in, and in which area Prof Drezner came up short?

Yes, I'd say that the public aren't entitled to know at all, I'm afraid, and for good reason.

posted by: Anon on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Berkeley, Berkeley, Berkeley....remember, you love the Bay Area!

posted by: No von Mises on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I am really sorry to hear this. I was planning to write about how much I was looking forward to taking your classes in my Chicago application essays. I am sure that you will find an amazing home, and I will continue to read your work.

(btw, your article in Foreign Affairs continues to be one of the most cited articles in debate today.)

posted by: A. on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Yet another expression of complete amazement. I am really shocked and sorry to hear this. But you will, without a doubt, end up with a tenured position at a first-rate institution that will be delighted (and lucky) to have you. Best wishes throughout this difficult period.

posted by: Melissa on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



"While the supportive bleating supra re injustice and the like in regards to Drezner is understandable, I would suggest that making political or academic-phobia hay out of one man's denial of tenure is more than slightly navel gazing."

I would actually be sympathetic with this view, considering the natural human instinct to side with a friend in a situation where he may have been mistreated. Though the friend receives the benefit of the doubt, a disinterested observer may come to a different conclusion.

I would, that is, if I had not myself spent three years of my life involved with a program of similar stature to Dan's and been shocked by the utter dearth of imagination that held sway there. Clearly the tenure system is seriously flawed, and to pretend that Dan's case is an exception does a disservice not only to Dan but to those who harbor higher hopes for what the academy can be.

The dynamic I suspect was at work here is one I have seen in many relationships and marriages that have unexpectedly ended in tears. The weaker rejected the stronger out of their own latent sense of inferiority.

posted by: Bezuhov on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'm really sorry to hear this. I have no question in my mind that you deserved tenure, and as an aspiring Prof who also doesn't toe the conventional lines, it makes me nervous when truly outstanding candidates are treated this way.

Since everybody else is pumping their school as a landing point, might I push Carleton College? Not quite the research focus of a U of C, but our students are every bit their intellectual equals. Plus, we've got a frisbee program to die for.

You'll do great. A previous commenter was almost definitely right--there has to be a member of an appointments committee who reads your blog and is salivating at the chance to pick you up.

posted by: David Schraub on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Yes, everything is "always" going to rot. Academe, Management. Etc.

Drezner may be a great academic. I would not know, not being in political science. He is an excellent commentator, that is true. Should that bear on his tenure? I don't know, not being part of the establishment that is Chicago.

As for the immediate running to politics, I have always had contempt for that kind of whinging on. Politics, politics, politics. Discrimination. Having been involved in enough hiring decisions, I can say that private sector has its politics, and they are often personal. I do not doubt, human nature being what it is, that some good portion of his colleagues (in the committee) did not like him for one reason or another (including jealosy).

Such is life. Good managers get passed over all the time for such things, and I have never respected those who whinge on about how "politics" or whatever caused it. Welcome to humanity.

Drezner's comment was balance and appropriate. The squeeling and whinging with respect to "decline" and the like is nothing more than personal feeling.

Drezner has made his mark, if his to-be-peers at Chicago did not want his company (probably for reasons of internal politics and feelings) then so be it. Big deal. Nothing to cry like a small child about.

posted by: The Lounsbury on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



"The weaker rejected the stronger out of their own latent sense of inferiority."

Roger that.

http://debfrisch.com/archives/2005/06/psychologist_an.html

posted by: Deb on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Very sorry to hear that. It's Chicago's loss. I think you'll land on your feet, though it's certainly got to feel lousy now. You'll just have to show them they made a big mistake!

posted by: Josh Busby on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



This decision is lamentable as are almost all other cases where somebody doesn't get tenure. You give years of your life to a place, and then they tell you to get lost.

At the same time, however, I wish people would refrain from baseless accusations against the Chicago Political Science department. These are not nitwits who made this decision. They are members of a department that is universally recognized as one of the very top political science department in the country.

Few tenure decisions at a department like Chicago are likely to be "slamdunks" (frankly, I'm surprised that Dan was surprised by this. I think *anybody* who *gets* tenure at Chicago is surprised at the *positive* outcome). Departments like Chicago are likely to ask the following question of a tenure candidate: is this person one of the very top people in their subfield today? How many of you making accusations of an injustice here are qualified to answer this question with regard to the academic field of international political economy? Answer honestly.

Dan's a top-notch social scientist. He believes in using logic and evidence, and I think he'd be reluctant to pass judgment on anything without knowing all the evidence. Very few, if any, of us here have all the evidence (including things like outside letters by senior scholars appraising Dan's work, which we will likely never see).

Again, I agree with the personal sentiments expressed here, but the professional judgments about the Chicago department are not warranted.

posted by: Anonymous on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Most uncool.

You will, Dr. Drezner, give them pause to regret their decision in future years.

The commenter who remarked on the technophobic nature of some older professors is on target. My adviser let his computer sit in a packing box until a grad student set it up for him - then it gathered dust.

posted by: mark safranski on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan,
I took two of your classes while at U of C, American Foreign Policy and Globalization, and I loved them both. I think the department made the wrong decision. Best of luck

posted by: A. Smart on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



No insinuations of "injustice" here, just a simple question as to whether the public interest is served by the complete lack of transparency to the process. Don't know about Drezner's sub-specialty but there are certainly others-- most notoriously, Arab or Middle East studies-- in which political considerations apparently trump other criteria, to the great harm of our nation's collective knowledge of a crucial region of the world. Given the dearth of center-right or conservative academics, it's certainly fair for an impartial outswider to ask whether political concerns influenced the decision in Drezner's case.

How are tenure decisions made? What are the criteria, and what are their relative weight?

posted by: thibaud on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



The criteria for tenure vary by school, but I think there are a few generalizations that can be made:

(1) Three general criteria: research, teaching, and service. At most large research universities (like the University of Chicago), research is weighted at least twice as much as teaching or service.

(2) Research is assessed on both quantity and quality. The quantity standard for a place like Chicago is basically two books with a major academic press (with one published and the other perhaps in press) and several articles in major peer-reviewed journals.

Quality is judged not only by the judgment of the faculty within the department, but also by soliciting outside letters from senior scholars (normally, the candidate can identify senior scholars who might hold a grudge for some reason and therefore shouldn't be asked for a letter). The number of times a scholar's work is cited is also considered (as an indication of the importance and impact of the work). Quality is obviously a subjective judgment, which is why it's hard to have a clear cut formula for tenure decisions.

(3) At most universities I know of, the first decision on tenure is made by the department (which is the news Dan is reporting here). If the department approves, then the decision goes to a university committee on tenure. If that committee approves, then it goes to the provost of the university. If the provost approves, then it finally needs to be signed off on by the president. The decision can be killed at any point. Some schools (e.g., Princeton) are notorious for cases where the department votes "up," but the case is killed higher up in the chain.

As I said in my previous anonymous post (I remain anonymous because of my own junior faculty status), a place like Chicago will ask the following question of a tenure candidate: is this person one of the very best in his/her subfield with the promise of remaining so in the future? There is no simple, subjective way in which this question is answered.

posted by: anonymous on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Thibaud is asking the Great Meaning of Life Question we all fear. As a newly minted Ph.D., the process is absolutely terrifying to me -- the thought of pulling up stakes once or twice (or thrice or more) causes me no small amount of gastric distress.

My own take from intelligence-gathering after a number of contentious job search and tenuring processes is that the Standard is, there's No Standard. The only similarly subjective process is partnering at law firms -- and maybe voting....

posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



The left has complete contol over academia - at least the social sciences and arts - and they wield that power ruthlessly. But it means nothing in the end. Real disciplines, like engineering and medicine, are the only ones that matter outside of academia itself. Let them entertain themselves with their yap about hermeunetics (I don't care how it's spelled) and other crapola that they only pretend to understand, as they continously prove by publishing satirical parodies of themselves in their journals without realizing it.
Dan, get out of there. I say with the utmost respect: get a real job next time.

posted by: Jim O'Sullivan on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]




Well prof. I am not in your league but I lost a job to a despicable reason and you know what I am glad. I was able to go out and get what I am really worth.

In other words what ED said.

posted by: Ron on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



The tenure system is akin to giving NBC, ABC, and CBS a vote over whether CNN or Fox should be allowed on the air. Is this the best system for students? the taxpayers who support academia? academia itself as an institution?

posted by: Bezuhov on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan -
I'm genuinely sorry to hear the news. While I'm totally unqualified to judge the merits of your work relative to others in your field, my gut tells me that the other folks posting here are correct: it's U of C's loss, not yours.

And you should take some consolation reading the responses this news has generated... You've got people from high school students to retired teachers thinking and talking more intelligently about political science and international relations. That's a pretty damned impressive accomplishment on its own. Keep your chin up... and keep up the good work.

posted by: Greg M on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



"The tenure system is akin to giving NBC, ABC, and CBS a vote over whether CNN or Fox should be allowed on the air. Is this the best system for students? the taxpayers who support academia? academia itself as an institution?"

Well, let's see: the US higher education system is BY FAR the best in the world. There isn't even a close second. Further, I think it's fair to say that the US higher education system has contributed significantly to this country's great success. The tenure system, as it's practiced, is a bedrock of the modern university system. So, to answer your question: yes, emphatically.

Somebody asked earlier why the institution of tenure even exists. You'll get a variety of answers to this, but the most compelling to me is the following. Tenure gives scholars job security, so that they can explore ideas without fear for their jobs or other retribution. The downside is that it can lead to complaceny, but the upside is the generation of ideas that might not be possible without the insitution of tenure.

posted by: Anonymous on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan -- I am really sorry to hear this. I have now completed my PhD preliminary exam and coursework and am working on my dissertation, and I have to say that your PLSC 377 (IPE) class back in winter quarter '04 is one of the two best graduate school courses I've taken. I cannot begin to emphasize how useful it has been to me given my interests in urban politics and globalization. One thing I found particularly impressive is how impartially and skeptically you presented the class, challenging both liberals like myself and conservatives.

Perhaps it would be an interesting project to investigate whether schools with a highly restrictive approach to tenure (like the U of C) have a better or worse research record than peer institutions that have a more open approach (say, Berkeley, at least in political science). My dad and I were talking about this earlier today -- he is in higher education administration having formerly been a history professor -- and he said he'd lay money on the "open" schools actually having a better record.

posted by: Daniel on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Though there is a kind of 'formula'--and the ratio of scholarship versus teaching varies by university--this is a still a highly subjective process. It helps to have powerful political alliances and mentors...it's what got me through these rocky shoals. A book or two--boring rather than bestselling preferred--is still shooting better than par for even Michigan, Harvard, Stanford and Berkeley. So Daniel should have been in on qualifications (just kidding, DD.) Recommendations by outside commentators are weighed carefully, but even a handful of wickedly negative or sarcastic ones cannot derail the prospects of the protege of a departmental manque and mentor. It's understood that predicting destiny is a dark art when dealing with young colleagues, so the political aspects of the process are inevitably foregrounded when departments and UTP committees adjudicate. ("Why are the politics of academia so bad?" "Because the stakes are so low.") For example, I always horse-trade promotions for my own favorite juniors with my UTP colleagues--for future considerations, of course. That's the benign and commonplace form of politics that permeates the academy as much as it does the market-places of commerce. The ideological kind of politics is another thing altogether; in no other place on the planet does ones party affiliation, real or implied, have a greater impact on employment as in the research university. One can mitigate the impact of the latter kind of politics by either shutting up entirely, disguising ones convictions, or playing very, very skillfully the former variety. In the liberal arts and humanities the foremost reasons for tenure denial at the advanced stage (we tend to fire unfit or unpublished by the end of the 2nd year) are ideologically based. It's defended in the academy as benign (the 'birds of a feather' argument)--as if it's no different than the recruiting of only sympatico softail afficianados at Orange County Choppers. (A far better place to work, from what I've seen, than my university) It's disgusting and dangerous, though the irony of the deed seems beyond the ken of the legions of diversity devotees on the faculty at Chicago. Luckily, we anticipate seeing you here at the Charles River Regatta next year, Daniel...

posted by: John on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



The left has complete contol over academia - at least the social sciences and arts - and they wield that power ruthlessly.

Oh, please. Leaving aside the ruthless exercise of power by our leftist masters in generl, do you know anything about the University of Chicago at all? Citadel of political correctness it ain't.

But it means nothing in the end. Real disciplines, like engineering and medicine, are the only ones that matter outside of academia itself.

Blah blah. Tell it to the Chairman of the Fed, or the Supreme Court.

Let them entertain themselves with their yap about hermeunetics (I don't care how it's spelled) and other crapola that they only pretend to understand, as they continously prove by publishing satirical parodies of themselves in their journals ... I say with the utmost respect: get a real job next time.

Why don't you tell us about your Degree from the University of Life, seeing as you're on a roll.

posted by: Anon on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



"That said, if one assumes that the opportunity cost of blogging (e.g., better or more scholarship) was the difference between tenure and no tenure Ė an unclear assertion at best Ė then itís a tough call. "

As you say, an unclear assertion. So cheer up. Just think how much more this would suck if you were jobless *and* obscure.

Condolences.

posted by: Cal Lanier on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Tenured academics tend to be lazy and self-congradulatory in the extreme. Tenure is the death of creativity and resourcefulness. Publish or perish? Have you actually read the tripe put out by most tenured academics? Total rubbish.

posted by: LeFleur on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'm sorry, that really sucks. From the outside, it's hard to hear that you and Sean were both denied tenure and think it *doesn't* have to do with blogging, but who the hell knows. Best of luck as you pick up the pieces and move on.

posted by: bitchphd on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



You imply that the denial is about the blogging.

It sucks that you'll never know.

It's perfectly plausible that the blogging is what tipped it.

Or that it was completely irrelevant, and you just weren't flavor of the month.

In any case, if the blogging has done nothing else, it's taught you that you don't suck, right?

Hey, even Jennifer Aniston gets dumped. There are worse things than being Jennifer Aniston.

Good luck, Jen!

posted by: Mikey on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Sorry to hear that Dan. I'm sure they'll be kicking themselves in the coming years.

posted by: TWAndrews on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan,

Long-time reader and U of C alum. Hang in there- in the long run, you'll look back and see this was a blessing in disguise.

posted by: Jason on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Hey you hang in there. I will be thinking of you and I am really sure that you are going to land on your feet and in a place that will suit you better. The top tier is so work work all the time and it is clear that you want a mix. All best Dan.

posted by: Mark on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



At least now we know where Ivan Tribble works.

posted by: anonymous on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]




Dan,

I lost my job in March after 19.5 years three promotions and two exceptional service awards. My former employer kept me on for four more weeks to pick my brain.

Although I found a new job promptly (receiving only 1 week of unemployment compensation), it was gut-wrenching and nerve wracking. Be good to yourself and hang in there. Although I don't often agree with you, I respect your tone and intelligence. You'll do fine.

posted by: Randy Paul on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan,

Drop the blog. It is a career-killer in your line of work unless you already have tenure.

posted by: Tom Holsinger on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



"Again, I agree with the personal sentiments expressed here, but the professional judgments about the Chicago department are not warranted."

Yes they are. They are a bunch of hacks. Robert Pape? Give me a break. Cathy Cohen and the politics of hip-hop -- a joke.

Did they vote on jacob Levy also?

posted by: Robert Schwartz on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan,
I count 11 peer reviewed articles with 3 or 4 in top journals. I guess an APSR would have helped a ton, right?

Plus two university press books; ok, one is an edited volume and so doesn't count for much. But another two on the way?

Really not sure what Chicago is looking for.

Is it true that Chicago does not have an up or out year? Are you unemployed at U of C as of the summer?

posted by: chicago alum on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Very sorry to hear it.

posted by: b phillips on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Wow. I'm quite surprised. Tough crowd.

All I can say is, some school is going to pick up a really good political science professor for next year...

posted by: The Tiger in Exile on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



"Well, let's see: the US higher education system is BY FAR the best in the world"

By what measure? Admittedly, a topic too broad for this discussion. I have little doubt, however, that the system didn't get where it is via complacency or resistance to warranted adjustments, nor is it likely to retain this position without consistently improving.

"Tenure gives scholars job security, so that they can explore ideas without fear for their jobs or other retribution."

This may be, but it does not therefore follow that this security should rely solely on the judgment of one's peers, especially when said peers' interest can diverge markedly from other parties who have a stake in the decision, most notably the one seeking tenure. Other of our institutions contain built-in checks and balances to offset the corrupting influence of political motivations, both grand and petty.

Employment systems based on the ancient guild model, such as the tenure system as it currently exists and many trade unions, have shown the unfortunate tendency to eat their young, to the detriment immediately of the young, and eventually of the system itself.

posted by: Bezuhov on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Some of my best teachers at UofC didn't get tenure, so to that degree you are in good company. In a couple of cases, their students got quite upset about the decision, and said so very publicly, but - not to put too fine a point on it - the teachers in question were considered too much to the left, which is something your commenters might keep in mind before jumping to partisan conclusions.
Tenure decisions certainly look mysterious from the outside (and I'll bet from the inside, too), but I seriously doubt the blog made much of a difference. Whether I've agreed with you or not, I've always thought you spoke here with both the rigor and with the pleasure of working with ideas that marks the UofC community. It's an institution so much smaller than most people realize; I'm only sorry there isn't more room there for you and for the others who have marked their students for life, yet had to move on.
Promise you that I'll keep reading you, wherever you are next; they'll be lucky to get you.

posted by: grishaxx"x" on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I suspect you're far more widely read than many of your tenured colleagues. You've insight, crisp style, not a little wit -- all of which add up to readership (hey, that's why I am a faithful reader).

If you burn for teaching, I've no doubt you will find a place. If you burn for writing, you're way ahead of the pack. Your by-line would always be one that I would note with joy and anticipation.

Good luck!

posted by: Allan Jenkins on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



In the last few years, through your blog, you've had a substantial impact on a several thousand politically aware folks, most of whom are outside academe, and made a respected name for yourself in the blogosphere. You're actually semi-famous. Can any of the members of your department who voted on your tenure application say the same?

None of us (or almost none of us) even know who they are, though I don't doubt they are prominent in their field. But your prominence transcends theirs because you were astute enough and ballsy enough to put your impressive intellect on display in an aborning medium, just as Glenn Reynolds did. Your colleagues lacked both the astuteness and the balls to do likewise.

For Reynolds, tenure was not an issue, and so collegiate jealousy was not a threat. You've not been as fortunate.

But take heart. Your high name recognition and respected status among politically aware blog readers -- an influential bunch despite all the knocks they take -- guarantees that a good department will recruit you ASAP. And your new colleagues will already know you as the "famous" Daniel Drezner, so the issue of collegiate jealousy will be more manageable.

Just my opinion, FWIW.

posted by: Tom B on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Best wishes to you.

I hope you'll be encouraged by the observation that although life seldom works out the way we expect it to, it does always work out.

We all still expect great things from you, and I know you won't disappoint us.

posted by: Joe on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Truly awful news; my condolences.

posted by: Scott Lemieux on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]




As many others have said, when one door closes, another opens. My biggest career disaster pushed me to make my most successful career move. Good luck with your search - I'm sure you'll get plenty of great offers!

posted by: John Quiggin on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Tough about the Red Sox. I know how you feel, but look how far they have come with practically no pitching. Their total record is 95-70. How many are better than that. As for the loss of tenure - don't look back, and don't burn any bridges. They made their decision for whatever reasons and they will have to live with that decision. You do not have to live with it. You just need to close the book and get on with your life.

posted by: jim linnane on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I hear these guys are hiring. http://newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/urban/education/features/14651/index.html

posted by: qui tacet on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Yeah, what happened to Levy?

posted by: chicago alum on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Sorry Dan. But if it is any consolation, at least two Presidents of the American Political Science Association were denied tenure at Chicago, Theda Skocpol and Ted Lowi.

posted by: Mike Del Sol on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan,

Sorry to hear the news. I wish you well as move ahead in life -- in or outside of academia.

Thank you for making me and many others think on important issues day in and day out. I have been an avid reader of your blog for the past year and half.

posted by: Ashu on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Is there anything worse than having such a deep all-encompassing fear of the 'tenure' system that one goes anonymous to speak one's mind about it?

And then uses that very anonymity to defend the SAME said system as right and just and perfect (using all the cliches of the day) in a long Panglossian panegyric about the best of all possible worlds?

Directed of course, at tut-tutting someone who didn't go anonymous! Someone who actually did trust the honesty of the system enough to NOT go anonymous! What is the message of that little paradox?

This reminds me a book I read called 'The Joke' by Milan Kundera. Not that Voltaire, Twain, or Vladimir Voinovich wouldn't have had fun with such a character. The actions of some speak so loud I can't hear a word they say.

I will throw out one thing though on the oft-repeated idea that we have the best educational system in the world.

I went to the most elite grad school in my field. My observation about it is that the education and the teaching, in itself, seemed unremarkable for the most part (and the one brilliant professor there, in fact, was denied tenure!) But having the degree in hand, the little piece of paper, was nevertheless very valuable to me based on the kinds of opportunities I got afterward. I accomplished a lot based on my opportunities - hence, the belief of some that it's all because I am a product of the 'best' university system in the world. But in reality it was because of the private sector opportunities that were handed to me that I flourished, not the content of education itself.

posted by: Observing on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Responding to the comment immediately above, by no means do I think the tenure system is perfect and I realize now that I may have mistakenly left that impression, but I do think it works fairly well. Schools make mistakes, but that's inevitable in a system that asks them to try to predict how influential a scholar is going to be in the future. Politics plays a part in tenure decisions, but I suppose the question is how much of a part. In Dan's case, we frankly don't know the answer to that, yet people continue to assume that it was a major part.

Getting tenure at a place like Chicago is difficult. One of the old quips in the field of international relations is that you could form the best international relations faculty in the world out of the people who *didn't* get tenure at Princeton. Part of my reason for posting all of this is because I have little concern about Dan's future. Dan will get a top job with tenure and be very happy there. His work is very good, and his cv is very impressive.

Finally, on the merits of the US higher education system. Choose whatever measure you want. There was a study done a few years ago that identified 24 of the top 25 univeresities in the world as being in the United States (it was a study out of the UK, I believe). Look at Nobel prizes if you want. Look at most of the most important innovations in a whole variety of fields from physics to engineering to economics to, yes, political science. Almost all of this research has been done at American universities.

posted by: Anonymous on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan, I was just reading some of your work for my own research. All I can say: their loss!!
Good luck

posted by: Eric on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Yes it's time to dismantle the tenure system. How to go about it? Probably lining up the corrupt professoriat and stripping them of their false laurels publicly would be an excellent start. Then create a more honest system of academic promotion based on merit rather than nepotistic corruption.

posted by: Jon on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



"Then create a more honest system of academic promotion based on merit rather than nepotistic corruption."

And what exactly would that system look like? Assume that I accept the premise of your question, what would a "merit"-based system look like? *Somebody* has to judge merit, don't they? Or is there some mega-computer out there of which I am unfamiliar that can make these judgments in an objective fashion?

(To anticipate one response: the idea of public accountability for promotion decisions is, IMHO, a horrible one. You think the system is politicized now.)

posted by: Anonymous on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



First, regarding tenure - from a non-academic as well as non-ideological POV.

While I rather dislike guild systems, at the same time having spent a good portion of my career in the developing world where even when tenure theoretically exists it doesn't; I have to say whatever its flaws the American system in gross seems to produce better results. Also in comparison with European systems - just enough tension and competition to make things work.

One of the problems in these comments is the benchmarking against some entirely imaginary perfect system - another lesson I have learned in working in emerging markets is real systems operate according to actual incentives (not imagined ones). I can not imagine that a tenure or near tenure system including outsiders would actually increase justice or efficiency - in the real non-ideal world there will be two default options: (a) apathy for most low key decisions, (b) politicisation and partisanship over a small minority of high profile decisions, with the fight become stalking horses for issues utterly unrelated to the actual decision on hand. The American process for selecting upper level judges seems to operate in this manner presently. I would hardly call that positive with respect to professorial appointments. One merely raises the transaction costs without any real gains.

This aside, supra thibaud asks if there are systems less transparent than university tenure. Certainly I would call my firm's system - a private one - utterly lacking in transparency. I would suspect that in fact, ceteris paribus, most promotion systems are lacking in transparency in terms of real operations (although some may have faux transparency) due to the interplay of intra-team and intra-firm politics and normal human behaviour. Again, the real world works by relationships, not as the idealised abstractions one often thinks of.

Chicago has a certain "team" and they like their approach. If it works (and certainly in the aggregate it seems to given a world class reputation that has held up to fierce if imperfect competition overtime - with the caveat that in the real world no institution is perfect, and I personally prefer real world not idealised abstractions as benchmarks), then very good. If not, well in the fairly competitive American education market they will slip.

A final word, this in respect to Middle East studies. While I did not personally take a Middle East focused degree, just by interest and business I have had some long exposure to US and UK MENA studies people. It strikes me as egregiously political pimpery to characterise the field as being driven only by "politics" (by which one can tell the speaker usually means 'politics I personally disagree with'). Certainly with the Isr.-Pal. conflict anything modern gets politicised and there are rabid partisans on both sides who find that whatever professor is insufficienly with the party line, but as an outsider (and non-academic) who reads quite a lot of the literature from personal interest, I can't say that anyone but an axe-grinder could say there is some particular issue in the field.

Of course the literary section of the field is utter tripe, and filled with bizarre half understood quasi Marxist cant and lots of Ed Said type blithering and bellowing, but that seems to be pretty much true of the entire sweep of the Lit Crit people. Personally I would write off the lot of them as stupid wankers and ignore them.

posted by: The Lounsbury on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan,

Sorry about U of C. As has already been said, you are a talented intellect so I am sure things will work out for you in the end. Best of luck.

posted by: bp32 on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



maybe they saw that you had listed instapundit as your favorite blog, and assumed that you couldn't be terribly bright.

posted by: Ricky on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Well, I'll say one thing, those of us with any self-respect on the job market this year are going to think twice about accepting offers from U.C. That is, none of us are going to take the words "tenure-track" very seriously. And this is a problem for U.C. since they have 4-5 job searches going right now across their political science department. They need to somehow broadcast their reasons for this decision (perhaps that's what "anonymous" up there is trying to do), because a lot of us are thinking "we know tenure is difficult, but if Dan can't get tenure at U.C. then who the heck can?"

For people who claim to understand politics, I think they *really* blundered here. Just look at these hundreds of comments, all in just a few days. And these are mostly from academics, aspiring academics, and alumni. I'd humbly predcit that there are going to be some bad unforeseen consequences for that dept.

posted by: jprime314 on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



that's the 3rd U of C blogger to be denied tenure this year.

posted by: anon on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



My condolences, but as others have said here, there is a great job waiting for you. The best is yet to come! U of C, although a great school, is not the only one with that quality.

As for those who were talking about the US higher education system as the best in the world, I guess you are referring only to grad school. Otherwise, I don't get why in the PhD program I am in (quite competitive) and in similar universities I was interested in, they are accepting more and more international students because profs think they are better prepared. In the economics department first year PhD class in my school there are no US students. If I were American, I'd be worried about the tendency

posted by: Mariana on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



"a lot of us are thinking "we know tenure is difficult, but if Dan can't get tenure at U.C. then who the heck can?"

I agree 100% with jprime

posted by: Mariana on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



With all due respect to jprime, I don't think the University of Chicago is going to have any difficult attracting junior faculty because of this decision. How many job applicants are really going to turn down a job at one of the top ten departments in the country because of this? Very, very few. Given the nature of the political science job market, very few applicants are in the position to be choosy about where they are going to go teach. And if anybody does turn down Chicago, it's likely going to be because they have an offer from another top ten department where it is equally (if not more) difficult to get tenure.

I'll say it again: getting tenure at the Univesity of Chicago is difficult, and I'd imagine they are quite honest with their job applicants about that. (If they aren't, then they should be.)

posted by: Anonymous on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Late to the show, but: Very sorry to hear the news. U of Chicago's loss will be another institution's gain.

P.S.--The bastards!

posted by: Anderson on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Like everyone else, I'm sorry to hear the news Dan. They're fools. To a limited extent every reader has had you as a teacher while you've been blogging, and you obviously excel at that. I've learned more about foreign affairs from reading this blog than I have from, well, Foreign Affairs.

I'm sure that you'll make them regret this decision with the quality of your future work.

posted by: PaulNoonan on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



In regards to the question regarding the US higher education system being the best in the world, you should take a look at The Economist and its recent review of global institutions.

Best of course does not mean perfect - but again in real world systems imperfect human beings make the ideal abstractions unworkable. So the Marxists found out (well actually they're in denial, but....).

Rather than being worried that US graduate programs are drawing from a global pool of talent, I should think rational citizens should be estatic. Despite the US visa process being mind numbingly obtuse, the US being indifferent to international competitiveness in general with respect to its policies, it still manages to pull in vast amounts of global talent. That is a good thing, whatever narrow-minded partisans and 'patriots' in a simple sense might think.

With respect to Drezner not getting in, again, brilliant people are often rejected - in finance, in academe etc.; perhaps his "fit" to the overall "personality" of the department is not right - that is neither good nor bad for either them nor him, but simple human reality.

I am sure, given what I have seen from his writing he will land on his feet, and agian the yammering on seems rather misplaced lashing out with too little information.

posted by: The Lounsbury on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'll second the comment above that the biggest surprise is that you'd go up for tenure feeling confident about your chances and then get turned down by your department. Something has gone seriously wrong here. If there were concerns about where you were publishing, or the sorts of things you were publishing, or anything else, they should have given you a heads-up along the way, during your 3rd-year review and the annual reviews for the purposes of determining raises. Will the department have to give a report detailing its reasons for thinking fell short of the standards for tenure? Do you get to see it? Or at least the vote results?

BTW, for some people talking about the opacity of the tenuring process: it's not always that bad. I've been TT at two places, and in both places, I've felt totally comfortable knowing exactly what was expected of me, and where I stood relative to those expectations. At my current institution, I got to read the department's recommendation that went up the chain of command, prior to their sending it.

posted by: Tim on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Anonymous: I think you underestimate the effect on future applicants. People who get an offer at U of C usually get good other offers too. U of C is a good place (probably ranked 5-10) but not so outstanding that it can afford to build a reputation for treating its juniors badly. The point is not so much high standards, but, as many have pointed out, the misinformation. To most faculty members, denying someone tenure is one of the hardest decisions they will ever make. The discomfort that comes with that is no excuse for not adequately keeping a candidate informed about his/her chances. Moreover, Dan has done about as much as you can do: 2 single-authored books, one edited volume, several well-placed articles. At some point, even a prestigious department will have to look at such facts and conclude that reasonable expectations about tenure have been met.

posted by: Zaoem on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



What a ridiculous decision.

posted by: Robin on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Excellent point Zaoem! I second your comments whole-heartedly. Its not the rejection, its the mystery as to why that's scary to people.

And Anonymous, you are correct that UC will probably not have much "difficulty attracting junior faculty because of this decision." My humble (and possibly ill-formed) opinion is that there are indeed many grad students & junior fac. who would give their eye-teeth for a job at UC. But the *really* well-qualified ones, those truely talented & productive innovators might have the confidence, self-respect, and foresight to turn down a UC offer in fear of having Dresner's experience there. Again, its simply a matter of "if Dan didn't get tenure there, then who the heck can?". Which brings us back to the opacity problem.

Seriously, this Drezner thing is popping on other academic blogs, and is generating strong currents in emails amongst current & soon-to-be academic job-seekers.

That being said, Anonymous has made some of the wisest and most insightful comments on this thread. So despite my strong feelings, I do take his/her judgment seriously.

posted by: jprime314 on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Sorry to read the news. Like so many others above, I'm confident you'll land on your feet with another great job. Meanwhile, good luck!

posted by: Rodger on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Harvard and Princeton have horrific reputations when it comes to their treatment of junior faculty (including some legendary tenure decisions). Last time I checked, neither of those departments is suffering in the faculty recruitment area.

Finally, let me be clear: I think very highly of Dan. In fact, I hope my own institution hires him (another reason for me remaining anonymous). But Chicago's standard is a high one: has this person contributed an original, lasting argument to the field? Is this person one of the leading young scholars in his field? This is a high bar to get over, and different people may reach different conclusions.

I'm not here to endorse Chicago's decision, only to point out that (1) we don't have all of the evidence to pass judgment on Chicago's decision and (2) you need to have a certain knowledge of the field to answer the questions posed above.

posted by: Anonymous on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Being denied tenure sucks. My husband went through it last year in a similar way (complete blindsiding), but because of the way the contracts were written, he continued to work through the spring semester in the same department that screwed him over.

After reading everything I could on tenure, I don't think in many cases of denied tenure there is one overriding reason in most cases. It's possible you will never know the "real" answer, although there will be some official reason that someone has put together out of thin air. To misquote Monty Python, "Academia is a silly place".

On the good side (and there is one), you can really wind up in a much better place than where you are. We wound up in a school much better suited to his career, taste, and higher salary. After two years, I believe the sting from the denial is almost gone.

I guess the best that I can say is, hang in there, get your resume ready, and don't look too hard for answers because most likely they don't have anything that will satisfy you. The faster you can look to the future the easier it will be.

Good luck!

posted by: Lori on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Question. One of the horror stories I ve heard is that many top-knotch places like Chicago or Harvard, simply take junior professors for the ride while tangling in front of them the carrot of tenure, only to throw them away at the end of the road so they can get the next person in line.

And one of the reasons for this is that you ll never get anyone have more incentive to produce work than before he gets up for tenure.

Does anyone with experience want to comment on that?

posted by: Nick Kaufman on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Lounsbury,

Chicago has a certain "team" and they like their approach

I probably should not have introduced the comparison with private for-profit corporate selection processes. Where the product or service is the sum of many collaborative work processes, such "fit" as you describe is crucial. GE types don't care for Wall Street-style hotshots. John Reed's boys at Citibank probably would have rejected many of Sandy Weill's insurance top guns had they applied for jobs at Citi before the merger.

However, I don't see how collaboration and teamwork greatly affect academic work. A commenter said that a tenure applicant's research is far more important to tenure decisions than teaching or "service." Perhaps I'm behind the times but I don't see evidence that research in political science these days is done mainly or even minimally by groups, or what you call the U Chicago "team."

As to your obnoxious and silly straw man re. my comment on ME studies-- It strikes me as egregiously political pimpery to characterise the field as being driven only by "politics"-- here's what I actually wrote: "...in [Arab or Middle East studies] political considerations apparently trump other criteria."

Not the "only" (your words) criterion, as you falsely claim, but the pre-eminent one, which makes it unlikely that a Bernard Lewis acolyte will get tenure at Princeton or Columbia today. L'affaire Joseph Massad at Columbia serves as a nice example-- here's an account of recent hijinks there by middle-of-the-road, respected scholar Martin Kramer: http://www.geocities.com/martinkramerorg/2005_01_31.htm. See also the disturbing experience of poster "John" related earlier on the thread, albeit this apparently comes from another Poli Sci specialty.

Rather than run the risk of hijacking this thread and launching a snoozeathon Isr-v-Pal pissfest, would you kindly refrain from distorting other posters. The thread is about Drezner first and foremost, not about Israel, or for that matter you or me.

Then again, perhaps Columbia's descent into farce is an example of the kind of "teamwork" you have in mind? Clowns need to choreograph their routines, after all.

regards,
t

posted by: thibaud on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Hey guys,

Interesting topics are being raised, but let's keep the focus on Dan for this thread... we like him, think he's great, wish him luck, and can't wait to see what he does next with his life.

posted by: Jason on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



While I stand against virtually everything that Dr. Drezner stands for, outsourcing, globalization, democracy crusades, I still find it unbelievable he didn't get tenure. I think I can speak for most of the other 'trollish' regulars here, we are feeling no schadenfreude.

For what its worth, I don't think I have ever cited any of the current crop of U of C poly sci people. I'd say the land grant uni's are where all the major stuff is being done these days. Carles Boix? Who the heck is he!

posted by: Mitchell Young on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



There is something wrong with your trackback.

My trackback is http://donsingleton.blogspot.com/2005/10/denied-tenure.html

posted by: Don Singleton on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan -- you ought to come on over to the private sector! sorry. one more reason why i am happy i opted out of ever even trying the academic rat race.

posted by: brad s on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I, too, am one of those people who suddenly have much less hope of ever finding an academic job. Dan, I extend my regrets and my best wishes in your further search-- I admire your intellect and your dedication to making international relations accessible to layfolks like me.

posted by: Rachel on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



"For what its worth, I don't think I have ever cited any of the current crop of U of C poly sci people. I'd say the land grant uni's are where all the major stuff is being done these days. Carles Boix? Who the heck is he!"

Therein lies the best case yet for the argument I've been making. "Land grant uni's" are perhaps "where all the major stuff is being done these days" in certain subfields, but definitely not mine. Carles Boix is a widely cited and very influential comparativist. I suspect Dan would agree. I'd venture to guess that John Mearsheimer--love 'em or hate 'em--is among the top ten most cited political scientists working today. My point is that there's an inherent subjectivity to this all--whose work is important and influential and whose work isn't.

With that, I offer an apology to Dan. This thread, largely through my own doing, has been diverted from what should be an occasion for offering Dan our support and best wishes. The last thing Dan probably wants to do right now is read an extended debate over the tenure system. So, I'm sorry, Dan, but know that I did this only because I have every confidence that we'll be seeing you at another major research university soon enough.

posted by: Anonymous on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



You've gone far in your academic career. You're obviously bright enought and articulate enough to go farther, or perhaps accomplish great things outside the academy.

Grace, to paraphrase Flannery O'Connor, is sometimes like getting thrown through a second-story plate-glass window. Perhaps you have been spared the horrible fate of being a tenured professor at UofC. Time will tell.

Almost every good thing that has happened to me professionally and personally involved having a door slammed in my face.

posted by: James on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan,

You should definitely consider the private sector, partly because, unlike most academics, you have the kind of personality that enables one to successfully sell to and persuade C-level executives, as well as develop market awareness through "thought leadership".

Given your expertise in analyzing outsourcing's economic and political impact, you would do well to look at a position with one of the global consultancies that has a large outsourcing practice (Accenture, EDS, IBM Global Services, CSC etc). Perhaps also McKinsey. Just a thought.

best regards and best of luck,
t

posted by: thibaud on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



That's a travesty, Dan. NCSU here in Raleigh could surely use somebody of your calibre.

posted by: Justin on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



My apologies as well for contributing to the delinquency of this thread, though such sentiments are not unprecedented in these matters. The tenure system: can't live with it, can't live without it!

posted by: Bezuhov on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Another UofC alumnus here - AB in Math and MBA in Finance. I am a big fan of the school and grateful for all it did for me. Despite it being a "research school" - the faculty was truly accessible and helpful. My only regret is that I did not make greater use of the opportunity I had - too young and stupid.

I don't think Dan is worried about feeding his family. He will land on his feet and have a wonderful career and life. Unfortunately for him, he will not be doing it at Chicago - something he truly hoped for and thought would come to pass. In his own words - "At the moment, my biggest regret about all this is the knowledge that Iíve taught my last class at the university."

I don't know why he was denied tenure. The way the system works, it could have been one or two people who opposed it. The tenure system may have its problems. But the reality is, a place like Chicago brings in junior faculty with the expectation of keeping less than a quarter of them. I would have liked to have had the opportunity to have taken a class with someone like Sean Carroll, Jacob Levy or Dan. But they, and all the others who do not get tenure, are replaced by others who also have a lot to offer.

Many students benefited from Dan in the six years he spent in Hyde Park. Now students at another school will have that experience. Dan is not the first, nor will he be the last, scholar denied tenure at a place like Chicago. A lot of other schools around the country are grateful for that. They can hire scholars who offer much more than a freshly minted Ph.D.


posted by: PMG on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Sorry to hear about the news.

Heartening to know how all these readers stand with you (where else would you find a community like this).

Those in Chicago and interested, organize a drink get together and invite Dan. Cheer his spirits, and remind him in his lean moments that life is grander then UofC campus (which his blog is a testament to - perseverance for what you really find interesting).

posted by: A Bhutt on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



So sorry, Dan. Best luck in your job-search. Keep up with the blog and the variety of sources that you link to makes it --I read it regularly.

posted by: scritic on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Regarding the issue of teams, private sector or otherwise, it strikes me as self-evidently clear from applied organisational experience and management studies that regardless of whether the team in question is collaborative or whether the effort is individual, when there is a collective work environment, human beings like "fit" and that "lack of fit" (however subjective) can result in intra-team warfare and lost productivity.

Maybe in some abstract world of high level theoreticals that should not be the case, but in the real world of real human beings, it is the case.

Drezner clearly does not lake talent, is a good writer, and is highly likely to land on his feat. It serves neither him nor the institution that housed him to charge ahead (merit or not) when then there is not a good fit (abstractions like merit divorced from overall fit aside).

As much as beating up on him in re blogging etc is misplaced, so is pissing and moaning about the perceived "fall" of academe from some past grace - the idealised past being one of the most hackneyed falsities of human cognition possible.

At to thibauld's points regarding MENA studies and that ideolgical hack, Kramer, I can only say that I have no respect for those of a Bolshevik mind bent, whether Right or Left, and Kramer is a bolshie whinging scumbag. Regardless, I rather advance that even as a financier in the MENA region I have rather more experience with the scholarship than thibauld whose criticism seems to be of an ideologue's point of view.

This aside, leaving aside those who very much wish to be offended and find idelogical reasons, it is clear that the process involved is complex. Maybe Chicago made a bad decision. Maybe they did not relative to their immediate desires and needs. Regardless, none of this reflect poorly on Drezner. Maybe he did not get Morgan Stanley, but regardless of what he gets, his own talents will take him along.

posted by: The Lounsbury on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Hi. Sorry about the tenure decision. Aren't you the guy who told Jim Lileks to screw himself a few years ago over some comment Lileks made?

r/ Bedrock Guy

posted by: Bedrock Guy on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I don't think Anonymous should apologize. Dan's situation baffles and concerns us both because we respect him and his work, but also because we see an irrational situation which we are trying to understand. Anonymous' contributions have helped me at least think about this better.

The Lounsbury however says simply "that's life, its too difficult to figure out, stop whinning, take it like a man". Well yeah, but that's not very helpful. I mean you could say the same thing about cancer (my father actually says this, lol), but that doesn't help us find a cure or provide us with ways for dealing with its symptoms. So Lounsbury, technically you might be right, but forgive me for thinking that you're not very helpful.

One data point for Anonymous though...at my Top 15 university, our Poli. Sci. grads have little trouble getting hired in academia, policy, and even corporate. However, the professors here openly advise the grads *not* to accept offers from Harvard, U.C., etc. because of exactly the sort of thing that Dan went through. Harvard, etc. are simply not serious about granting tenure to its assistants. Our best performers take this advice and go elsewhere. Our second-best performers, who are perhaps more desparate, deluded, driven by "fame" or "prestige", do accept offers from Harvard. And they suffer miserably for six years and then don't get tenure.

Hey, maybe Dan is one of these second-best'ers. I mean he's no Mancur Olson, V.O. Key, or Robert Gilpin (sorry Dan). But then again, neither are many of the U.C. faculty, and Dan's as damned good as most of them. Hence, his situation reinforces the view that if you're *really* good, then you should think twice about taking offers from some of the "top" schools where opaque politics not merit reign supreme. There are plenty of schools, with great resources, networks, etc. where you can be both happy and productive...and maybe even become a star of the field.

posted by: jprime on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Real sorry to hear about this, but I'm sure you'll do fine elsewhere.

If it's any consolation, your absence will be a factor in whether or not I apply to U of C when I go back to grad school (likely in 2007). For what it's worth (hard to tell yet whether I'll be a strong enough candidate to bother applying anyway).

posted by: fling93 on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



My condolences to Dan. Being denied tenure is rough, no matter what the circumstances.

But to those of you who think Chicago is out of whack on this decision, bear in mind that Dan has not gotten any tenured offers from any other place, despite the fact that he got his Ph.D. nine years ago. If Chicago was so far out of the norm, then presumably Dan would be blogging from Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, or someother comparable institution. Yet he is not.

This is not a knock on Dan, but more a comment on the top academic departments. They evaluate faculty relative to their contributions within narrow, academic fields. They define success largely in terms of the esoteric paradigms around which the discipline is driven. Dan's problem is that he naturally wants to speak to a large audience, thus he communicates ideas that are more glib, general, and easily digested. Though Dan may have a top-flight mind, he may not necessarily be a top-flight scholar (For those of you who haven't read his academic work, it is not theoretically very sophisticated). Ironically, his very strenghts as a public intellectual may be a weakness as a scholar.

And Dan knows this. Yet the fact that Dan devoted so much time, not just to blogging, but writing in public venues, and less time developing his scholarly work, probably indicates where his real talents and interest lie. And if that's the case, then Chicago was justified in making its decision.

Rather than seeing this as some political plot or other emotionally gratifying explanation, it seems more likely that Dan's interests were simply incongruous with the terms of his profession (now whether the terms of his profession should be changed is another question). It is quite likely that Dan is far better suited for a think tank or a policy organization rather than a university.


posted by: balls on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I join the chorus of "sorry". However,I suspect your early links to blogging will prove a competitive advantage. I remember Theodore Lowi back in 1962 in an undergrad class citing the advantages of cross tab analysis on a computer. I'd assume some political scientists made their careers when they took an interest in ADP.

posted by: Bill Harshaw on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



"Dan's situation baffles and concerns us both because we respect him and his work, but also because we see an irrational situation which we are trying to understand. Anonymous' contributions have helped me at least think about this better."

Jprime, its all about timing. Have some sensitivity and hold off on this for now. Respect the fact that Dan is sharing his life with you and his other readers, and recognize that he deserves a few days before dissecting the situtation.

This thread should be about supporting Dan, the rest can come later.

posted by: Latshaw on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Bewildering news. And none to good for the grad students at U of C, so say many of us.

posted by: deva on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Well, we'll keep our fingers crossed, Dimitri, and remember, there's just one thing, we are all in this together. We're right behind you, Dimitri. We're with you all the way.

Good luck Dan.

Dr. S

posted by: Dan on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan,

Terribly sorry to hear the bad news.

For what it's worth, I have learned a great deal reading your blog. I can honestly say that checking tis blog is one of the highlights of my day.

You will inevitably land on your feet. Until then, try to put it all in perspective.

Take care,
Aaron

posted by: Aaron Chalfin on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Warm sympathies on you news of Friday. Several years ago a mathematician neighbor of mine who was up for tenure at a very prestigious Southern University, was denied. He took a position at a Western state University, did some neat work on some difficult software and attracted the attention of some gentlemen in Seattle who had a small but promising company, and invited him to come to work for them. He likes it at Microsoft...

posted by: John Leonarz on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan,

In case you're still reading these, I'll add my name to the list of condolences for the disappointing news. Whether the blog was a factor or not, there's no question that you have *much* more influence than many in academia (including, I assume, many of your colleagues at the UofC) and that is likely to continue. The tenure issue will work out in time at the right place.

Holding a doctorate from the UofC and having been interviewed a few years ago for a position there (on one of the many searches in which the position goes unfilled for the year) I'm sure you'll miss Hyde Park and the excellent students there. But there does seem to be more than the usual amount of disfunction at the UofC, so you are likely better off in the long run.

Best of luck,

Conlon

posted by: Conlon on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



As someone who has nothing but respect for Dan's contributions to our field.

Does this whole blog not seem meglomaniacally self-indulgent?

Come on. There are thousands of us out here. We all have tons to say. And we all have a tough time finding jobs. Is it "crazy" to think UoC needs yet ANOTHER distuingished IPE rationalist. Dude. There are more things to think about when selecting tenured faculty than your accomplishments. It's about balance...and I do not think it completely nutty that UOC did not hire you.

Besides...now UoC will be hiring! Where do I send my CV?!

posted by: Grad Job Candidate on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Latshaw's right. My apologies to Dan. His ongoing openness about the profession & the field has been of enormous help to many, many of us over the years, and I feel indebted. As "balls" has wisely noted, maybe I'm letting my emotions get the better of me. Again, sorry.

posted by: jprime314 on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Bob Axelrod was denied tenure at UC Berkeley a few decades ago, and I think he's done well for himself...

posted by: Scott W on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



And Scott W. proves the point about land grant U's. Oh wait, Berk is a land grant U (of sorts). Nevermind...

posted by: Mitchell Young on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



The comments by "balls" above do not reflect any knowledge of the practices for tenure-track positions at top 10 political science jobs. Before tenure, one typically does not move from Chicago to, say, Yale or Harvard. Dan won a plum position when he received the tenure-track offer from Chicago. Those with confidence about their tenure prospects will stay and work towards tenure. The less confident will seek jobs elsewhere in their 3rd or 4th year, at schools of slightly lesser rank - say Northwestern or Syracuse, etc. If the system is working properly - and clearly the mentoring system at U of C has some serious holes - the candidate will have a better sense in his or her fourth or fifth year that tenure prospects are looking dicey. All is not lost, and Dan's interest in public policy debates does NOT mean his scholarship is not valued in the political science community. His vitae will be highly regarded from all kinds of top ten departments. My only suggestion to him is that he try to be a bit more politic with his public remarks regarding his tenure case on his blog. If he's surprised by the outcome, rather than go public with a bitter tone ("my intelligence was piss-poor", seek out the advice of some trusted elders in the department, get the information, and keep it private. No new department wants a colleague who takes his grievances public on a blog read by thousands of people. So, in this new sense, your blog could harm you professionally. Just my two cents. Your a great political scientist - a future of continued distinction is ahead for you. There are a lot of other political scientists who are policy minded, and who are doing well at top-ranked programs - think of Jacob Hacker at Yale for one, & there are many others.

I know you'll be amazed at the wonderful opportunities that are just around the corner. I hope you'll enjoy the pleasant surprises ahead!

posted by: privacypol on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Bless your heart. Just got back from vacation (we have fall break here as well as spring break) and this was quite a surprise.

posted by: Stephen M (Ethesis) on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Privacypol is right.

The word on this thread is already out among the political science chattering classes.

posted by: yes on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'm sorry to see that the University of Chicago overlooked your talents in its decision.

Best of luck with your job hunt!

posted by: Steve Casburn on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'm very sorry to hear this. In my opinion, they've made a serious mistake, in fact, if I understand correctly, Chicago's Political Science Department has just made two mistakes this semester of this kind.

As privacypol notes, balls (in comments above) misunderstands the normal trajectory of an academic career, I think. However, he is right that disciplines reward narrow specialization rather than the work of a general public intellectual. But that's not the way it should be, in my opinion.

posted by: Timothy Burke on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Thibauld: It was wandering far from my own field into the political minefield of ME Studies (now, in fact, my primary 'professional' public and pundit identity) that caused my tenure hiccup. Though I don't particularly advocate (see above) Daniel's seeking legal redress unless something egregious is more than suspected. My example was from the '80s when Claire Dalton (wife of then lecturer--yes, never even granted the lowest tenure track at Kennedy School--Bob Reich) sued as did many others. A very mid- '80s thing, often very effective and probably necessary on both left and right--though undoubtedly seen as anachronistic these days. Daniel does need, however, given the fact that his CV is equal to his Chicago peers, some private or public insight into what was the real problem. Though Anonymous, through magical and wishful thinking, seems to trust the system at Princeton (top of second tier in the field in my book, no better--save location--than Syracuse's Maxwell and, sorry, not much of graduate institution on the whole) the problem is always ideological. The rational side of Anonymous understands this, thus his reticence to blog or out himself (wisely, as it turns out, since Daniel's blogging identity and influence seems to have threatened his department and thus his employment prospects.)

posted by: John on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



John -

Not just Dan. I think one reason-- in addition to Dan's readers' concern for him-- that his post on this event has triggered so many comments is that those of us outside academe who couldn't care less about IR theory or academic fashion or turf wars would like to know whether the decision was related to our host's

a) blogging
b) center-right politics

The implications of the former are that nontenured academic bloggers may well scale back their blogging-- perhaps not such a bad development in most cases but definitely a loss to the public in other cases such as Dan's.

The implications of the latter are very significant. I myself don't identify with the right or the left but I agree that the extreme politicization of ME studies has had a significant cost for the nation.

Dalton was HLS, no?

posted by: thibaud on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Tenure corrupts. Absolute tenure corrupts absolutely.

Perversely coopted into supporting a corruption with which one may not actually agree, but forced to shut up for one's own academic security. Shame.

posted by: Jon on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



There are a lot of fine scholars in Mideast Studies, but it would be foolish not to recognize that the field has suffered profound collateral damage from the Arab-Israeli conflict.

I seriously doubt that Dan's politics influenced the tenure decision.

posted by: Dan Nexon on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Today's (Oct. 11) New York Sun has a front page article, "Blogging Prof Fails To Heed His Own Advice," on the topic. It's worth reading.

posted by: David M on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I said I would stop posting out of respect for Dan. But John's post directly addresses some of my posts above, and in an unfair way:

"Though Anonymous, through magical and wishful thinking, seems to trust the system at Princeton (top of second tier in the field in my book, no better--save location--than Syracuse's Maxwell and, sorry, not much of graduate institution on the whole) the problem is always ideological."

I'm on a tenure-track myself. I have no "magical and wishful thinking" about this process, and I'm not sure what gave you that impression. I do think that the tenure system, in general, has served American higher education well. Sure, there's politics (i.e., departmental politics more than political ideology) involved, but the question is how significant those political factors are as opposed to other factors. The cliche that tenured professors are corrupt and lazy is unsupported by the significant contributions that tenured professors around the country have made to their fields.

And I don't think the problem is "always ideological." What's the evidence for that assertion? I've talked to people in the field in the last few days who are thoroughly unsurprised by Chicago's decision and not because of anything ideological and not because of Dan's blog. Show me the evidence that there's a systematic bias against conservatives when it comes to tenure decisions. Show me the evidence.

As for your assertion, that Princeton is "top of the second tier." Well, frankly, I find that baffling, but I guess to each their own. If Princeton is second tier, then I'd love to know what you consider first tier. Full disclosure: I have nothing to do with Princeton, though they did reject me when I applied to grad school there.

You then claim that, "Daniel's blogging identity and influence seem to have threatened his department and thus his employment prospects." Again, where's the evidence? You may be right, but at the moment, in the absence of additional evidence, your claim has no more credibility that me claiming that Dan didn't get tenure because he's a Red Sox fan.

If this decision was driven by ideology or Dan's blogging, then that's reprehensible. If this decision was driven by assessments of Dan's work, then this decision is defensible (even if I don't necessarily agree with it). At the moment, we simply don't know (as Dan himself acknowledges in his own post).

posted by: Anonymous on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I guess you cannot have been doing your job that well. Tenure is not a right, it is to be earned.

posted by: David Billins on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Assuming that by now Dan has received enough love missives and "Hard luck, kid" comments, a few thoughts on some stakes for the public raised by this interest. If Drezner stops blogging, that will be a serious loss to the national debate on outsourcing.

It's also worth noting that the blog issue and the ideology issue intersect. In other words, if there does exist a bias against center-right or conservative tenure applicants, and if blogging is dangerous to tenure, then the blog medium for publicizing scholarly analysis and ideas to a broad nonspecialist audience will be denied a large number of what would have been center-right/conservative academic voices.

Again, I'm not a partisan. I enjoy Brad DeLong's left-lib economic analysis and turn to his blog first for comment on, for ex., social security, a subject whose complexities mainstream journalists at the NYT and The Economist and lesser publications seem incapable of grasping and presenting accurately. (Read Brad's hilarious eviscerations of same.)

However, a public that is denied analysis of, say, outsourcing by junior professors like Drezner is one that is left to the bawling inanities of a Lou Dobbs. Likewise, a non-tenured middle eastern specialist who feels the chill of impending tenure review and therefore decides not to expose Juan Cole's conspiracy-mongering and other hysterical claims is depriving the public of an extremely valuable voice.

I think it's past time that university faculties started to come to terms with blogging, not least because academic bloggers often batten on their university and professional credentials in order to attract attention to their blog writings, even when those writings venture far outside the realm in which they earned their professional reputation.

The Crooked Timber folks do an excellent job of avoiding this-- they only link to their bios, and let their blog postings stand on their own merit. OTOH Juan Cole is the most egregious in this regard-- somehow a scholar of 18c persian philosophy has morphed into the nation's leading commentator on contemporary Iraq (imagine if during the Cold War a scholar of the German enlightenment somehow ginned himself up into being regarded by the media as the nation's leading Sovietologist.)

Perhaps faculty committees should develop some policies that would describe what is appropriate and inappropriate use of blog. Start by establishing some kind of chinese wall between one's professional credentials/reputation and one's private blogging.

posted by: thibaud on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Daniel - I'm sorry to hear that you are being let go from Chicago. It's too bad the department didn't have the consideration to allow you a day or so to digest the failure of the Red Sox before landing this blow on you.

Thibaud - while I believe there is significant ideological discrimination in academia generally, the idea that an economist would be denied tenure at Chicago for center-right politics is like suggesting that someone would be denied a job at Notre Dame for being Catholic.

I suspect that if the blog has impacted the decision, the impact was indirect, possibly that it biased Dan towards shorter, punchier analyses in general while Chicago is looking for more in-depth stuff, or that the time spent on the blog reduced his research output too much, or that the tenure committee developed a perception of either of those two things.

posted by: Anthony on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Have put a few not completely to be taken seriously comments about yout position (or more correctly lack of one) at

www.weblogworld.blogspot.com

posted by: Andy on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Re Brad DeLong's blog, note that much of what we read in the Times or the Econoist is simply reporters' filtering of analysis by academics and experts like Brad, Larry Sabato, et al. It's academics and experts like Brad who supply the crucial story angle, or big picture, not to mention the juicy quotes that anchor the reader's understanding. On such complex issues, journalists are little more than transmission belts for expert opinion.

Why the need for intermediation? Why can't the public go directly to Brad, or Becker? For that matter, the public can get far more accurate and insightful analysis of more sensational stories as well from specialists' blogs. Given how often journalists completely botch the story (cf Katrina), I hope and pray for more disintermediation, more blogs, more expert analysis, and less of the All the News We Deem Fit to Print the Way We Wish to Print It.

posted by: thibaud on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Hang in there. Life sucks right now but there is joy in the morning. Trust me, there are plenty of schools who would welcome someone who expresses that he will miss the students most of all. Some school will get a real find in you.

posted by: Mary on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



PS...sorry about the Red Sox but I must disagree. Let's go, go go WHITE Sox!

posted by: Mary on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



My condolences, Dan. Your dept chair screwed up big time.

posted by: elizp on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I find thibaud's comments on MENA commentary amusing, ill informed, but amusing (all for the declaration of non-partisanship).

First, in regards to Cole, however much I personally find his stereotypical Left professorial outlook irritating and a distraction, he has achieved a status with respect to Iraq based on quite good reading of Shiite and general Iraqi politics quite well. I say that as someone who had money in the Iraq game, private capital not some namby pamby government secured contract. The man has gotten much right and has a good read on the Shi'a dynamics and modern Shi'a Arab politics.

His commentary on domestic American politics strikes me as tedious and not particularly interesting, but I merely skip over such things as domestic American politics has a nerve grating shrieky quality about it, whether right or left.

As to how someone with a somewhat off-center speciality became a star, well, see supra. I would not it has bugger all to do with his politics - Bernard Lewis (a fine scholar I may add, I personally own most of his general and several of his scholarly works) was all the rage in the run up period and early on among the Bolshy Right types. I saw precious little whinging about the fact he is in fact a scholar of the classical and Ottoman periods in the Arab-Islamic world (and a brilliant one). However, sadly, he has a piss-poor understanding of post-colonial Arab politics (alhtough I like his personal politics better than Cole's with respect to modern things). I'd suspect Cole is the weaker historical scholar (although I have never read a historical work of his, not my interest), but he clearly has a better grasp of post-colonial politics and the nexus of religion in the same. Thibaud ignorantly whinging on about this merely reflects his ideological posturing and blinders.

As for disintermediation, rather strikes me as far too early to sing the praises of a supposed superiority. The comments of blogs depend on the whims of authors and sometimes require a degree of expertise to actually understand. Good financial journalism follows a somewhat wider perspective and aims to explain. There is, to be sure, not enough good economic and financial journalism out there, but it is not a topic that attracts journo types, nor does being a journo attract the financially and economically trained in sufficient numbers.

Perhaps Thibaud should start reading FT.

As well as stop listening to the ridiculously overdone axe grinding that goes on in the United States with respect to MENA studies - bloody partisan politics disguised as "concern" - both the Israeli and the Palestinian shriekers need to be thrown into the ocean, the whole bloody lot of them.

posted by: The Lounsbury on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Best of luck, Dan. This is a crying shame, but do us all a favor and come through it with flying colors. I'm sure you will.

posted by: Anthony Chase on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Frankly, I'm amazed that the reputation of U of C as a conservative-friendly place persists. There may be a few big names in the economics dept. who are conservative or libertarian (not the same thing, as you know), but the intellectual ambiance of the place is no different than that of any prestige university.

Again, I just finished a doctorate at U of C as an uncloseted conservative. During the best of times, my politically and culturally pov was tolerated. At other times, it was far worse. I'm not complaining -- I made it. I refused to give up. I refused to let them have the last word. But fighting it out to the bloody end was personally costly.

I have no doubt that Dan's blogging and right-of-center political views sunk his chances for tenure. If he had been gay, or had some other liberal "credential", he'd be heroic to them. Like most ivy-like institutions, exoticas are over-valued and traditionals are shunned. Poor Dan: married, a father, politically conservative, white, religious?, seemingly emotionally stable, an all-around nice guy ... he didn't have a chance at U of C.

posted by: Kristen on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



All of this just on the heels of the UC Law faculty starting a blog. Nice. (Sorry if others have pointed out the same thing.)

posted by: Buddy Lint on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



It is true that tenured professors are corrupt and lazy. That is a fact of life, guaranteed by the perverse incentives involved in the tenure process. Reading the lame justifications of the broken system by tenured jackasses is most amusing. Pray continue, ja.

posted by: Marvelous on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Bah... Chicago is cold and dreary and Hyde Park sucks. You know it's true. You should be thankful you're not stuck there for the next 30 years.

posted by: DangerPig on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



ugghh, what a blow.

I can't think of many people in whose future I have so much confidence.

posted by: christopher Brandow on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Very sad for you, Daniel.

Well. Though I am just your reader and I have never commented before, I must said blogging is helpful.

After an year of blogging I have become to work for two Italian newspaper (my country). But further, I have known a lot of people who have helped me widely (especially graduate students and professionals).

Life is sad sometimes. Think to the Agnelli family's pupil (an italian Rockfeller-like family) which is has ben caught with a transexual and now is at the hospital for cocaine. I think you may feel much better.

:)

best wishes,

aa

posted by: aa on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Personally, Daniel, I've found the few scholarly papers you've written to be banal and your other published works subpar at best.

Your teaching skills are quite absent, but that's hardly the reason one becomes a professor or gains tenure.

Yours is a future best spent in punditry, and a number of Neoconservative think tanks and other funding organizations will be only too happy to assist your entrance into this industry.

After all, if the likes of Jonah Goldberg and John Podhoretz can do it, I expect someone with your blogging skills to assume the editorial mantle of National Review within a decade.

Compared to Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Podhoretz, you're a veritable Adam Smith of knowledge.

My best to you and yours.

posted by: Daniel Drew on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



As a UofC grad, I remember that Ron Coase was kicked out of the Economics Dept of the UofC and went over to the law school. Then in 1992, he won the Nobel Prize in Economics for the very theory that his economics co-professors had ridiculed him about.

I suggest you move to the UofC law school!

posted by: ken mangum on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



More condolences from a stranger. I'm a young academic too and I find your story unnerving; the "fired for blogging too much" possibility would probably translate in my field to "fired for writing too many popular science books," an outcome I find depressingly plausible.

I apologize for butting in on a personal post, but I have a tangential question and it seems that a few of you have enough experience in the academy to answer it. As a grad student, I've heard a lot of jokes about Harvard's "tenure" procedure and how nobody ever actually goes from asst to assoc there, but I'd heard this described as not entirely detrimental to young faculty, in that having had six years at such an institution will make it easier to get hired directly into a tenured position elsewhere. Is this not the case? If it is the case, I could imagine Chicago doing the same. (Still sucks, though, because even partway through grad school I can tell you the "academic as migrant worker" schtick is getting really old.)

posted by: Young Academic on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



"It is true that tenured professors are corrupt and lazy. That is a fact of life, guaranteed by the perverse incentives involved in the tenure process. Reading the lame justifications of the broken system by tenured jackasses is most amusing. Pray continue, ja."

Actually, I'm an *untenured* jackass defending the system. I assume that when Dan gets tenure at another top university you will be first in line to call him "corrupt and lazy." Or, counterfactually, if Dan had gotten tenure at Chicago, then this comments thread would be filled with damning condemnations of Dan for becoming "corrupt and lazy."

I find it richly ironic that so many people *claim* to have learned so much from Dan's blog over the years, yet so many people in reality appear to have learned so little. One of Dan's great virtues is that he avoids unsubstantiated claims. He carefully assesses evidence and offers measured judgments. He avoids absolutes and considers alternative explanations. Why can't more of Dan's acolytes be more like Dan?

posted by: Anonymous on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Anonymous, well, what can one say other than the phrase: "confirmation bias"

One sees what one wants.

Regardless, I rather agree. I like Drezner's online commentary for its lively awareness of multiple sides and for not being ideological (in the narrow tunnel vision sense).

Sadly the leaping to conclusions and pusing pre-concieved prejudices (which may or may not be factually supported in a real emperical sense) is the reaction.

I have expressed contempt for "oh us poor conservatives" whinging on as I have seen enough of it in private sector (except one has to substitute another Ox, say "women" or "minorities" - awareness of oxes being gored of course is inversely proportional to one's own investment in said oxes).

posted by: The Lounsbury on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Besides anonymous' points about "lazy tenured professors," let me add this: there are such people, but most schools have incentive systems that reward productivity with better wages. This, along with the (vainglorious?) pursuit of prestige, helps keep many tenured professors quite lively.

posted by: Dan Nexon on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I am disappointed in this school. I'm sitting in my dorm now, a first-year at the college, and am very sad to see that they've passed up such a prominent person for tenure. I love Chicago, the school and the city, and am saddened to know that you won't be around to teach me and my peers and all of those coming up in the next few decades.

I am ashamed for Chi. Best of luck, wherever you go and whatever you do.

posted by: Eric Cioe on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Sorry about that Dan,

But as a UofC Grad, I can assure you that the best of life is outside Hyde Park.

And it's rather obvious why you were denied: With the exception of Cass Sunstein (and he's really a legal beagle) no one in the Polysci department at Chicago is actually recognizeable as a commentator on.....politics!

You clearly spend way too much time engaged in the real world of the relevant and not enough time theorizing on academic abstractions. And on top of that, you wrote 'right wing' things (gasp!).

Why do you want to be a polysci prof anyway? You're blog and journalism is so much more relevant than anything that your colleagues are likely to do in the academic world.

posted by: Bill on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



The Ivory Tower just became more insular, less accountable in the marketplace of ideas. I don't know the men who turned you down and I don't respect them. I think the world of your ideas tho.

posted by: David Helson on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Another item I find most peculiar (as a non academic) is the desire of so many commentators to beat up on Drezner's chosen and preferred profession as "irrelevant" and the like.

While I would never choose academics myself and have no illusions about this bloody shinging beacon on a hill idealised nonsense, it rather strikes me that a goodly number of comments here mistake "their preferences and desires" for Drezner's and their judgements of "relevance" as his.

If relevance is public profile, of course indeed this blog is more "relevant" however much I would question the simple minded assumption that mere public profile means greater contribution or relevance. More immediate, certainly. Greater? Not at all.

Public commentary is what most readers here want (indeed so do I), however I am not so self centered to think my mere preferences are determinant of the tastes or preferences - the utility shall we say - that Drezner gets. Certainly of course his interest in public comment suggests it may be more useful for him to be in a more public role from his own utility POV, but I find it grossly simple minded to denigrate the "non public intellectuals" from some stardom driven self centered "talk to me!" rot.

There is a role for both, and a space for both specialists and generalisers.

posted by: The Lounsbury on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Young Academic asks whether someone denied tenure at a top university has an easier time getting hired at another (possibly lower-ranked) university. From what I've seen in my field, the answer is yes, though there are exceptions. It's not uncommon to be offered associate rank without tenure, so that the department can evaluate you without a long term commitment. If you've just missed tenure at a top place, presumably your overall record should be very competitive anywhere else you go.

posted by: RSA on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Anon
I'm a real person, posting with my real name. You don't know what it's like to have those guts, and you never will. Keep lobbing your dirt bombs from behind your wall of anonimity, and real people like me will keep ignoring them. Coward!

posted by: Jim O'Sullivan on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



"I'm a real person, posting with my real name. You don't know what it's like to have those guts, and you never will. Keep lobbing your dirt bombs from behind your wall of anonimity, and real people like me will keep ignoring them. Coward!"

Ok. I'm fine with that. If you'd rather call me a coward instead of engaging with the arguments, that's cool. Generally, I've found that people resort to name-calling when they know they've lost the argument.

Trust me. It's no skin off my back to have somebody with links to Michelle Malkin on his website calling me a "coward."

Meanwhile, go put the foil back up in your windows. The vast leftwing conspiracy is coming to get you. . .

posted by: Anonymous on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Robert Penn Warren left LSU because Minnesota offered him 200 dollars more a year, and LSU didn't think he was worth it.

"In 1941 Warren found himself making a near equally rapid departure from Louisiana State University when it would not match an offer proffered to Warren by the University of Minnesota. LSU's decision to discontinue publishing The Southern Review only helped reinforce Warren's acceptance of the Minnesota position. " http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=4927

You may not be so bad off. thank them for their time and join the world of the living.

Yours Truly
Ted Baldwin
3rd Coast Digital Films

posted by: ted baldwin on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I had really high regards for University of Chicago but your denial of tenure is truly an eye opener. Petty politicking, what else?

posted by: Gaurav on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Several here have mentioned the harshness of the Harvards, Princetons, et al. with respect to tenure candidates. I wonder if that actually serves as a perverse incentive to attract other candidates? Kind of like the ultra-hip nightclub that is *so* hard to get into, the bouncers scanning the crowd with a jaundiced eye, etc.

But I digress...once more Dan: good luck and God Bless.

posted by: Bruce Cleaver on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan, my condolences. I won't bother mentioning the University of Missouri as a landing spot (oh wait...I just did!), but I have no doubt that Cooper and the rest of the faculty would welcome you with open arms! As a recent ABD in political science (though I don't do International Relations) and as someone who has not frequented Dan's blog, I can offer an insider's perspective on the discipline while avoiding the bias of evaluating the case of a friend. I was notified of the denial by a fellow grad student (who does IPE) and I decided to take a look at your C.V. to educate myself on your case...wow. I was blown away! Every young scholar in the discipline aspires to have made a contribution like that, period. That you have made it prior to your tenure decision is simply outstanding! I am shocked and dismayed that someone with such a clear record of innovative, significant, and productive work would be denied tenure. It cannot help but imbue a sense of foreboding regarding my own entrance into the market. Dan, I certainly hope you land on your feet (I'm almost certain you will)...and I would echo the sentiment that an appeal seems warranted. I have run a blog myself for the last few years (mostly for family and friends and for my own fondness of public intellectualism)...but your case has certainly proved a cautionary tale. I've ended my blogging for the forseeable future.

posted by: Don Gooch on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan, my condolences. I won't bother mentioning the University of Missouri as a landing spot (oh wait...I just did!), but I have no doubt that Cooper and the rest of the faculty would welcome you with open arms! As a recent ABD in political science (though I don't do International Relations) and as someone who has not frequented Dan's blog, I can offer an insider's perspective on the discipline while avoiding the bias of evaluating the case of a friend. I was notified of the denial by a fellow grad student (who does IPE) and I decided to take a look at your C.V. to educate myself on your case...wow. I was blown away! Every young scholar in the discipline aspires to have made a contribution like that, period. That you have made it prior to your tenure decision is simply outstanding! I am shocked and dismayed that someone with such a clear record of innovative, significant, and productive work would be denied tenure. It cannot help but imbue a sense of foreboding regarding my own entrance into the market. Dan, I certainly hope you land on your feet (I'm almost certain you will)...and I would echo the sentiment that an appeal seems warranted. I have run a blog myself for the last few years (mostly for family and friends and for my own fondness of public intellectualism)...but your case has certainly proved a cautionary tale. I've ended my blogging for the forseeable future.

posted by: Don Gooch on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Harvard and Princeton's so-called 'folding chairs' are a bit different from this case. In those situations, the candidate goes in knowing that the chances of receiving tenure are almost zero, and when a candidate departs from those places (usually on his or her own) for a TT slot, often at a less pretiguous institution, people think that nothing has happened that is unusual or that might reflect badly on the candidate. That's different from most cases of a person getting turned down for tenure or departing early (if it's not for a 'better' slot), where people wonder what happened--particularly if the person's publication list looks strong.

BTW, this does have the effect of making people less likely to take such Asst. Prof. slots.

posted by: Tim on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Dan,

Sorry to read about the tenure decision (and a little surprised to read of it on Andrew Sullivan's blog). You're resilient and I imagine you'll recover. I've got a picture of you looking bloody and battered after hitting the ground with your face in Chernivtsi, but not beaten. By the way, I've heard some good things about your book; I'll have to mosy over to Amazon and buy a copy.

Jim

posted by: Jim Picht on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



As a former student -- what disappointing news. The friends who sat next to me in your lectures feel the same. The U of C has lost a great, and greatly respected, professor.

posted by: Student on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Boy, am I glad I bailed on academia after the M.A.

My sympathies, but I have a strong feeling you'll land on your feet.

posted by: oof on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Academia is notoriously averse to faculty "celebrities" - unless the celebrated status has been gained via "official channels". Blogging is definitely academic bad boy activity ... which makes you an original Drezner ... and makes me immediately want to sign up for one of your classes.

You're the man Dan!

posted by: Aidan Maconachy on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



David Billins: Tenure is not a right, it is to be earned.

I would say that it is more akin to a privilege, bestowed by others of privilege.

It seems to me that tenure hardly resembles a system that was designed by anybody with even a basic knowledge of markets. Just like with SCOTUS nominees, the incentives are to hide all of your political opinions. Is this really a desired quality in the ideal academic?

This is what happens when the goal of candidates is to not get shot down by anybody. The emphasis is moved away from brilliance and towards inoffensiveness. A better scheme would be to select those who impress the most people, even at the cost of offending a few.

posted by: fling93 on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Well, I can't recommend the Bay Area highly enough.

But the school is not the place for you, with all the things that you can do, the circus is the place for you!

The Political Circus that is. Wesley Clark, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton.

Be a responsible republican, and help American get back on track moving forward, instead of destroying America with the current leaders of your party.

posted by: jerry on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



The posts here are astoundingly uninformed.

And it's rather obvious why you were denied: With the exception of Cass Sunstein (and he's really a legal beagle) no one in the Polysci department at Chicago is actually recognizeable as a commentator on.....politics!

Written as a true denizen of the blogosphere. Who says political scientists are evaluated on their ability to be commentators? This ain't the New Republic, friend. But your facts are even wrong. Go google Hansen, Elshtain, Harris-Lacewell, Mearsheimer, Nussbaum.

I was notified of the denial by a fellow grad student (who does IPE) and I decided to take a look at your C.V. to educate myself on your case...wow. I was blown away!

Unlike Dan, tenure committees actually read the work and solicit outside opinions on the impact of the work. They don't just count the number of entries on the vita.

Does blogging hurt? *Any* major outside activity that distracts in a major way from your intellectual contributions can hurt a candidate. One engaged in so publicly, and so obviously during "work time" like blogging can hurt *if* you are not a slam dunk.

Yes, the risk-averse candidate will not blog. And they won't have children. And they won't travel over the holidays. And they won't become a world class marathoner. And etc. etc.

I don't particularly like that this is what academia has turned into, particularly since the salaries have not kept up with this ramped up competitiveness.

But with so many PhDs competing for so few jobs, institutions can easily afford to make such decisions.

posted by: a prof on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



It seems to me that tenure hardly resembles a system that was designed by anybody with even a basic knowledge of markets.

Here's one way to think about it: When the faculty are deciding whether to vote for or against tenure, one of the critical questions they ask is whether the candidate will immediately or eventually raise the quality of the department, either by locally determined criteria or in comparison with other departments. (By the way, this means that factors aside from the particulars of an individual candidate can play a role in the decision.)

posted by: RSA on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I am forced to agree with those who say tenured professors are lazy and incompetent. They are not necessarily corrupt, but the system itself is totally corrupt. Many are completely oblivious to the despicable nature of their source of sinecured livelihood.

posted by: Dan Nexel on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



This set of comments has clearly turned into a plebiscite on tenure. First, to nod to its origins: I have deep sympathy for Professor Drezner's personal calamity. As an alumnus three times over of the U of Chicago, I know what a good place it is for the life of the mind, and I understand his regrets at being asked to leave.

I was not going to comment on this thread, though I have a few responses on my blog. However, Dan Nexel's remarks got under my skin. How dare he assert, in a blanket statement, that "tenured professors are lazy and incompetent"! I suspect he's just trolling, and that I am providing him with exactly the response he is trying to provoke. So to keep it short: look at what Anthony Grafton has published over his career at Princeton, and note the fact that an independent Swiss foundation gave him a million Swiss francs (about $600,000 US) in recognition of the quality of his historical scholarship. Is that lazy and incompetent? Sure, you can find lazy and incompetent tenured professors. But you can find plenty of lazy, incompetent, and criminal CEOs too. Hell, you can find laziness and incompetence everywhere! But the tenure system does a halfway decent job of winnowing out laziness and incompetence. Had Professor Drezner received tenure, would he suddenly have become lazy and incompetent? I sincerely doubt it.

posted by: Brian Ogilvie on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Echoing several comments, speaking as a U of C grad, the University has lost a fine mind and a great teacher. While I have never taken your classes, I can say I have learned a great deal from your broad and deep commentary on this blog. Thanks and good luck.

posted by: Matt on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



All's I know is you're one of my academic heroes.

posted by: Jay Rosen on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



fling93: It seems to me that tenure hardly resembles a system that was designed by anybody with even a basic knowledge of markets. Just like with SCOTUS nominees, the incentives are to hide all of your political opinions. Is this really a desired quality in the ideal academic?

RSA: When the faculty are deciding whether to vote for or against tenure, one of the critical questions they ask is whether the candidate will immediately or eventually raise the quality of the department, either by locally determined criteria or in comparison with other departments.

You haven't addressed the issue of incentives at all. The process will filter out a lot of outspoken people and those who embrace risk. Why would you want to do that? Heck, a person who desires tenure is likely to already be risk-averse in the first place, because people are rewarded amply for taking on risk in the non-academic marketplace. And as for outspokenness, what's the point of protecting academic freedom of speech if most of the people who gain that freedom aren't bold enough to use it?

Again, I think selecting people who impress the most people the most is better than selecting people who offend the fewest -- unless academia wants to drive away the best and the brightest.

posted by: fling93 on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



I'll have to pull a Fermat: I think that there are good reasons for considering academia in market terms (though you make good points about pre-tenure disincentives for some of the kind of behavior that's encouraged post-tenure), but I don't have the time or writing skill to give a concise summary. I will say that in many fields, the best and the brightest are still to be found in academia rather than elsewhere.

posted by: RSA on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



RSA: I will say that in many fields, the best and the brightest are still to be found in academia rather than elsewhere.

I'm not saying there aren't (not that we could easily tell either way). Just that whomever came up with the tenure system weren't thinking about the incentives it creates, and thus there are unintended consequences (ditto for SCOTUS confirmations, for that matter).

That there are other incentives to go into academia is irrelevant to whether this can and should be fixed.

posted by: fling93 on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



To the prof who suggested my comments were uniformed, um, I must say that's how I would describe your 'interpretation' of my remark. It wasn't a paeon to the volumne of Dan's contributions (though volumne is hardly irrelevant) but to their quality. Specifically the fact that his articles have appeared in the top journals of the discipline (AJPS) and in his sup-field of I.P.E. Furthermore, his books have been published by some of the top academic presses available. Princeton, Michigan, and certainly Cambridge are nothing to shake a stick at. Perhaps you should do a bit better job of reading someone's post before you throw out the 'ignorance' charge.

posted by: Don Gooch on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Wow, I am stunned but hey, I'm ABD myself, teaching (not tenure-track) and wondering what the hell I've got myself into.

The answer for you, Dan, is to forget the US and come to Canada. U of Toronto lost Henry Farrell to GW last year and they're always looking. And you were just in Toronto recently.

Am I correct that Wendt was also denied tenure at Chicago a few years back? If so, they are all asses.

posted by: Mike in Canada on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Go Northwestern! It's close, LOTS more fun than U of C, has an excellent rep too, so GO NU!

Plus my daughter goes there, and my 12 year old son does too.

posted by: JPD on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



As a current PhD student and an avid blogger, I want to extend my deepest sympathies. After recently reading your current Vita and previously being familiar with your academic work I would like to note that you have the gift of motivation and that should never be taken for granted. Keep writing, keep publishing, and people will continue to care about your potential, which is something that the University of Chicago will never understand. Remember that along the journey of life the power of the pen will always trump skepticism with innovation!

posted by: Nels Lindahl on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Just a quick correction to Mike in Canada's post above. Alex Wendt was hired with tenure by Chicago in 1999 or so. He left, of his own volition, last year for a job at Ohio State, which had offered his wife (also a political scientist) a tenure-track job.

posted by: Anonymous on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]



Sorry to hear about your news. Something similar happened to my wife this week. She was taken off the partner track at her lawfirm. Similar to your situation, not all the evidence seems to be discoverable, and it came as a complete surprise. Hopefully you, like she, will land on your feet and this little interlude of drama will pass and life will resume normalacy with your family and new job.

All the best,

Dan Foley

posted by: Dan Foley on 10.08.05 at 10:20 PM [permalink]






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