Submitted: October 04, 2023
Accepted: October 25, 2023
Published: November 30, 2023
Jesmine Kur (2023). Strategies Employed by the Tenure Track Teachers to address the Challenges and Problems: A Comparative Analysis. Dinkum Journal of Social Innovations, 2(11):657-665.
© 2023 DJSI. All rights reserved.
Strategies Employed by the Tenure Track Teachers to address the Challenges and Problems: A Comparative AnalysisOriginal Article
Jesmine Kur 1*
- Department of Sociology, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh; email@example.com
* Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Higher education institutions must work extremely hard to retain their talented current faculty members while upholding standards for high-quality instruction. Globally, teacher recruitment is becoming an increasingly important phenomenon. The educational landscape has witnessed the introduction and implementation of various recruitment strategies and schemes, with the Tenure Track System (TTS) being a popular one. The study aims to investigate the issues and difficulties faced by Tenure Track (TT) teachers in four academic fields: Natural Science, Computer Science, Social Science, and Arts and Humanities. Additionally, the study seeks to pinpoint the approaches taken by TT teachers to tackle these challenges. To gather data, interviews with four TT teachers were conducted. Several difficulties and issues were discovered through the thematic analysis of the semi-structured interviews. These included uneven family life, conflicting responsibilities, a lack of administrative and collegial support, and a shortage of time and resources for research. Teachers at TT mentioned that since everyone has different opportunities for publications, evaluation criteria should be discipline-specific. The participants shared their problems and challenges as well as how they deal with them. They attempt to solve the issue or challenge on their own first, then ask for assistance from their peers. The TT instructors occasionally consulted the institute’s higher authorities when necessary. The challenges and issues faced by TT teachers can be lessened by a fair workload, adequate support from the institute, changes to the evaluation criteria regarding discipline, and opportunities for professional development. The TT teachers would operate more effectively as a result of these changes.
Keywords: tenure track teachers, challenges, problems, comparative analysis
Despite the fact that higher education institutions face a significant amount of difficulty in maintaining standards for teaching quality, hiring competent staff and retaining talented teachers who are already employed is a challenge (Guarino, 2006). One of the most important phenomena that is occuring all over the world is the recruitment of teachers. In recent years, the educational landscape has witnessed the introduction and implementation of a wide variety of recruiting strategies and schemes. One of these strategies, known as the Tenure Track System (TTS), has become increasingly popular. In 1915, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) was the first organisation to implement the Tenure Track System. The purpose of this system was to establish a path for faculty members to follow that would eventually lead them to the position of professor (Sheehe, 1994). On the one hand, it appears to be quite difficult for the upcoming faculty members, but on the other hand, it affords them the opportunity to improve their academic careers. As a result of the increased workload and responsibilities that have been placed on teachers in Education Institutions (EIs), the roles that teachers play in these institutions have been subjected to a thorough reform. According to Schuster and Finkelstein (2006), the work that teachers do has become inherently multifaceted. This is because their efforts are distributed among a variety of responsibilities, which include administration, teaching, research, and scholarly work. On the one hand, it appears to be quite difficult for the upcoming faculty members, but on the other hand, it affords them the opportunity to improve their academic careers. In addition, there are three phases that make up TTS, which are Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor. With the American system, beginning teachers are required to go through a rigors evaluation process in order to be eligible for a tenure track position immediately following the completion of their doctoral studies. In the event that a faculty member is granted a tenure track position, it is anticipated that they will delight in a mobility period during which they will be exposed to a new environment, away from their previous mentors and networks. Additional evaluation is carried out at the conclusion of the period, and the results of this evaluation determine whether or not the candidate is qualified for a tenured position, or whether or not they should look for another career opportunity (Pechar, Park, 2012). The Education Commision first implemented the Tenure Track system (TTS) in higher education institutions in the year 2002 with the intention of bringing about administrative reforms throughout the nation. The tenure track was the most well-known educational reform that occurred after the establishment of the Education Commision (Riaz, Jabeen, Salman, Ansari, & Moazzam, 2017). It can be difficult for teachers who are just starting out on the tenure track because they are required to focus on a variety of aspects, including research and service in addition to teaching full-time. At the same time, they are required to fulfil the requirements of the institution while maintaining their family life. According to Boice (2000), teachers who are employed by TTS are more likely to experience stress and dissatisfaction, which ultimately leads to discomfort regarding their job and behaviour in the workplace. At every stage of their careers, teachers are required to confront a variety of different kinds of challenges. According to Cherubini (2009), the challenges that are encountered in the earlier phase are of a different nature than the challenges that are encountered as time passes. In the beginning of their careers, teachers face a number of demanding and challenging situations. It is a struggle for survival, discovery, and the shock of reality that is taking place. These feelings of anxiety and confusion are typically brought on by the fact that things appear strange and different when the process is first beginning. According to Huberman (1989), many teachers discover that the reality of their careers is dramatically different from what they had anticipated when they first started out in the profession. They had entered the field with lots of dreams and expectations. A few research studies have been conducted concerning the challenges and barriers faced by early career teachers (Boice, 1991; Mullen & Forbes, 2000; Rice et al., 2000; Solem & Foote, 2004; Nir & Zilberstein-Levy, 2006). Their findings proved that teachers ‘professional lives lack the basic sense of companionship, unstable life dependent on the vague and exploiting tenure system. The satisfaction level of the faculty and the factors contributing to it are significantly important. Saleem (2019) figured out that there is a significant difference between the job satisfaction of Basic Pay Scale (BPS) and Tenure Track System (TTS) teachers. Compared to the BPS teachers, the TTS teachers are found less satisfied with the job. . Low job satisfaction of Higher education teachers negatively influence the students. . It is of sheer importance for teachers to perform their teaching, and research responsibilities vigilantly and thus contribute to the success of their students and the institution (Nandan & Krishna, 2013; Ali, 2009). However, no empirical research is available on the reasons of low job satisfaction among TTS teachers. This study aimed to identify the challenges and problems encountered by the Tenure Track (TT) teachers in different disciplines. Also, its purpose is to find out the ways and strategies through which TT teachers address the challenges and problems.
- LITERATURE REVIEW
In 1915, the Tenure Track System (TTS) was initially implemented with the intention of enhancing the quality of education provided by educational institutions of higher learning. In the beginning, it was conceived with the intention of putting an end to the culture of dismissing teachers from their positions in institutions as quickly as possible (Sheele, 1994). When working under this system, teachers were not only free from the fear of higher authorities, but they also had the freedom to write and speak in the best interest of their students and the subject they were teaching. In the beginning, teachers of TTS at American institutions in the United States were required to go through screening tests that were more difficult, and this process took seven years. During his tenure as president of Yale University, Kingman Brewster brought to light the fact that the TTS at Yale guarantees a permanent job appointment, unless or until the individual retires completely. The Education Commision implemented a number of significant reforms, such as the Tenure Track System (TTS), the Curriculum (Syllabus criteria), the Quality and Control System (Quality Enhancement Cells (QEC), ISO 9001), faculty development programmes, and a few other policies and guidelines, which led to an improvement in the overall performance of public sector universities. The global management reforms that were implemented led to the implementation of these reforms. The TTS was one of the most significant reforms that ever did. Although the word “period” is where the word “tenure” comes from, it is actually a system that is utilised in educational institutions of higher learning. The term “Tenure Track Faculty” refers to those individuals who are employed by the scheme. In most cases, a permanent position in the university is obtained by teachers after they have successfully completed their tenure probation period. When TTS was first implemented, one of the primary concerns that occurred was whether or not it would improve the performance of teachers working in the institutions. Rieder and Lehmann (2004), Pollitt and Bouckaert (2011), and De Vries and Nemec (2013) are just a few examples of the many types of research that have been conducted on higher education institutions and public sector reforms from the beginning of time. There are a variety of difficulties that early career teachers face, and these difficulties have been documented and supported by references in the literature (Spencer, 2018). According to Cherubini (2009), the most significant problems and challenges that were reported by teachers included the following: maintaining discipline in the classroom; motivating students; communicating with parents; developing positive relationships between students and teachers; selecting advanced assessment techniques; managing work load; and maintaining a positive attitude towards colleagues. In addition to these, some of the common old feelings that novice teachers frequently experience include feelings of helplessness, insecurity, and alienation (Schatz-Oppenheimer and Dvir, 2014). As a consequence of this, the process of discovering effective methods to deal with stress and workload continues to be heavily dependent on experience. This, in turn, presents the possibility that early career teachers are more susceptible to experiencing emotional exhaustion and burnout. There is a struggle for survival, discovery, and the shock of getting back to reality. Feelings of anxiety that are accompanied by fear that cannot be seen are therefore quite common. The author Mohanty (2004) discussed a few common challenges that are experienced by all educators. A sense of frustration develops between graduate teachers who have post-graduate degrees and those who have research degrees. As a result, these teachers fail to perform their duties with the same level of dedication that they should. In most cases, highly qualified teachers have experienced feelings of rejection because they have not been able to secure better jobs. There are times when the feelings of rivalry and jealousy among the staff members are healthy, but there are also times when they are unhealthy because of some misunderstanding that creates more of a gap. A sense of insecurity among teachers who are undergoing a transfer may be the result of a sad experience. The beginning of a career as a tenure track position is even more challenging; during this time, teachers are expected to demonstrate the level of performance that is expected of them in order to maintain their tenure. According to the findings of research studies that were conducted on teachers who are on the tenure track, this is a very difficult and stressful time for them. According to Rice, Sorcinelli, and Austin (2000), there is a requirement for them to have a support system that is reliable and consistent. In any given location, the stages of entering a career could be either difficult or simple. It is a struggle for survival, discovery, and the shock of reality that is taking place. It is common for everything in the beginning to be strange and unfamiliar. Therefore, a feeling of anxiety that is accompanied by fear that is not visible is experienced. According to Huberman (2000), many beginning teachers discover that the daily reality of their positions is very different from what they had anticipated in their field when they were in the beginning stages of their careers. When they first entered the field, they had a lot of hopes and expectations for themselves. Saleem (2019) discovered that there is a substantial disparity between the levels of job satisfaction experienced by teachers working in BPS and those working in TTS. There is a lower level of job satisfaction among TTS teachers compared to BPS teachers. However, there is either a lack of work or none at all that focuses on the factors that contribute to their low level of satisfaction. Upon conducting a thorough examination of the relevant literature, it has been determined that there is either a limited amount of work or none at all being done on a global scale, in relation to the difficulties and issues that are faced by teachers of TT. Nevertheless, one thing has been established, and the necessity of investigating the difficulties and issues has been emphasised both of these things. In light of this, the current study will investigate the difficulties and problems that are encountered by teachers on the tenure track, as well as the strategies that they employ to overcome these difficulties.
- MATERIAL AND METHODS
In order to accomplish the research objectives i.e. to identify the challenges and problems encountered by the Tenure Track (TT) teachers of different disciplines and to explore how the TT teacher address the challenges and problems, a case study design was used. The sample of the study included total four Tenure Track teachers (Assistant professors) belonging to four disciplines i.e. (Natural Science, Computer science, Social science, and Arts and Humanities) of University of Dhaka, Bangladesh were selected through purposive sampling.. The data for this paper was gatherd through semi structured interviews of TT teachers. The teachers help the researchers to put forward openended questions resulted in detailed responses. Probing questions were also asked from the participants and they were given the liberty to express thier views. To get more consistent and accurate transcription of the interview data, the participants responses were audio taped with their consent. Each interview was lasted for 20-30 mins Field notes were taken by researchers. The validity of the instrument was ensured through taking expert opinion of three university PhD faculty.
- RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The data from the interviews were analysed using thematic analysis, which is a method of analysis that is considered to be appropriate for qualitative data analysis, particularly interviews (Creswell, 2012). Following are the five major themes that were identified after the recorded interviews were transcribed: (1) Challenges when it comes to teaching; (2) Challenges when it comes to research; (3) Challenges when it comes to institutional culture; (4) Challenges when it comes to family life; and (5) Ways adopted by the TT teachers to address the challenges. Through the analysis of the first four themes, we were able to answer our first research question, which was “to identify the challenges and problems encountered by the Tenure Track (TT) teachers of different disciplines.” The fifth theme, on the other hand, proved to be helpful in answering our second research question, which was “how the TT teachers address the challenges and problems” through the use of the. Codes, such as participant 1, participant 2, participant 3, and participant 4, were assigned to the participants in place of their names in order to protect the confidentiality of their identities. The participants were all male, between the ages of 35 and 45, and all of them held a doctoral degree in a subject that was relevant to the study. Three of them were also working in administrative positions; for example, participant 2 was the focal person for the accreditation council, participant 3 was in charge of internal examinations, and participant 4 was in charge of allied subjects. Participants 1 and 2 were the only ones who did not have any administrative responsibilities. Due to the fact that the majority of the participants were already employed on a contract basis by this institute, they decided to fill out an application here. The only participant who responded was participant 1, who had two years of teaching experience in another institute. “I applied in many institutions but got selected by this institute,” the participant reported. In response to the question of which tenure track system to choose, the majority of them stated that they were interested in BPS, but that there was no other option available to them. It was elaborated upon by one of them that the government was placing an emphasis on taking a TT position in order to promote the system. “I chose to take the TT position because it allows me to be more active in research and discover new scenarios. The TT teacher is aware that if his performance is not up to the mark, the contract may not automatically be extended.” They are required to maintain a higher level of activity at all times. (It is a male) The first thing that we did was code the data for each participant so that we could determine the patterns of similarities and differences.
4.1 Challenges in Teaching
Teachers were asked about their time management as teachers, and the participants were of the opinion that they do not enjoy teaching because, in addition to teaching, they are frequently required to perform a large number of other tasks. This is because teaching is the primary role of a teacher. Participant 4 was the only one who stated that they make an effort to teach effectively; however, the competition to obtain marks as a reward for performing other responsibilities, such as research work, workshops, seminars, and so on, creates an imbalance. When it comes to teaching, it is extremely difficult to perform well and to do justice to the subject. They went on to discuss how challenging it was for them to balance the responsibilities of teaching with other activities such as conducting research, attending workshops and seminars, and so on. In every single one of them, they were of the opinion that it is extremely difficult for them to achieve success and to be fair in every single field.
4.2 Challenges in Research
A significant number of the participants reported that it was challenging to conduct research in addition to teaching and other responsibilities. An indication of this is found in the following statement: “Research work has fewer points in evaluation Performa/ criteria but it takes more time and resources” (P 2, Male). Because of this, it is extremely difficult to manage things, and it is making the job more difficult on a daily basis. The fourth participant, on the other hand, stated that “there are fewer opportunities for him to get published.”(Male, P four) Additionally, they were questioned regarding the types of research opportunities that are made available to them by the institution. For research, particularly in the sciences, we do not have the fundamental infrastructure that is required. An increased amount of time and opportunities should be allocated to research if the organisation intends to put it into practise in the sense that it was intended. The institute is currently focusing solely on accepting projects; however, there are fewer projects available than there are applicants, which results in a significant amount of pressure. (It is a male) It was mentioned by the participants that an incentive is provided for papers in the W category because of their position. On the other hand, they are never shown encouraging behaviour by the institute; instead, they are required to work independently. It is difficult for me to meet the requirements for promotion because there are fewer opportunities for research for me to participate in. In spite of this, I am compelled to continue working in this position because I have no other choice. This is a male P4.
4.3 Challenges in Institutional Culture
When teachers were asked about the behaviour of their colleagues, they unanimously stated that their colleagues are supportive of them and work together with them whenever it is necessary. On the other hand, when they were questioned about the conduct of their coworkers in relation to their rank, one of them responded by saying, “It occurred quite frequently.” The teachers who are already working on BPS believe that we are receiving a higher salary than they are, and therefore we ought to put in more hours. They eventually came to an understanding of our predicament, however, as time went on.(It is a male) These individuals went on to elaborate on the challenges they encounter when attempting to coordinate with higher authorities. Participant 1 expressed his opinion that the authorities are not very cooperative during the discussion. As TT teachers, we are required to obtain permission before engaging in any activity. This is done in accordance with the criteria for promotion or increment, and they make us feel as though we are being embraced for simply competing against marks. (It is a male) Each and every one of them stated that they communicate their issues, but that they are never allowed to be heard. In response to the question regarding the freedom of expression of ideas, each and every one of them disclosed that they have not participated in activities of this nature because a TT instructor is never considered to be a permanent faculty member. A disadvantage that was brought up by the participants was that they were not provided with any additional training or skills to help them deal with the challenges that they are confronted with.
4.4 Challenges in Family Life
According to the responses of participants in the natural sciences and computer sciences, their work lives have a significant impact on their family lives. They went on to say that it is extremely difficult for them to strike a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives outside of work. Participants in the social sciences and arts and humanities, on the other hand, responded that they do not have to suffer more as a result of less involvement in research work. According to their expanded perspective, the accomplishment of goals is a source of stress. Our research infrastructure is lacking in fundamental aspects. The time allotted for evaluation is insufficient for us to adequately prepare. One of the most stressful aspects is that the system is not being implemented in the way that it should be.(It is a male) Participant 2 stated that there are a number of factors that contribute to the high levels of stress that are experienced in the workplace: At the outset, we do not participate in the decision-making process. The second issue is that subjects are not assigned according to expertise. In the third place, there is no provision for additional classes. Fourthly, there is no provision for training, and it is not possible to work in administrative positions. Participant 3 continued by saying, “He is required to perform more non-academic duties and has fewer opportunities for research.” He elaborated on his response by expressing his opinion that the teaching and research functions at the university level ought to be kept separate. It is recommended that a researcher with fewer courses be assigned a greater amount of research work. When you are a faculty member in the social sciences, it is significantly more challenging to publish your research and to select an impact factor journal that is acceptable to the natural sciences. Having the same perspectives as the participants mentioned above, participant 4 brought up a few issues, including the following: “There are fewer opportunities for publications in the arts and humanities, and there is no job security of any kind for anyone.” It would be completely unfair to use the same performance standards for evaluating the social sciences and the sciences. due to the fact that they have more opportunities for research (publications and projects) than does our organisation. Term of office Teachers of the track were questioned about the strategies they use to deal with the difficulties and issues that they face. Each and every one of them stated that they initially attempt to solve the problem on their own, and then they seek advice from their coworkers following that. In the event that they are unable to establish a solution, they should then present their issues to the authorities of the institute.
- Strategies to address the Challenges
Every single one of them mentioned that the first thing they do is attempt to deal with the difficulties on their own. They first discuss the situation with their coworkers, and then they bring it up with the higher authorities if they are unable to find a solution. They continued by stating that the nature of the challenges is a significant factor to consider. As a result of the fact that I am unable to obtain the necessary resources or equipment for my research, he investigated the possibility of working together with other educational institutions. As a result of the fact that I am almost unable to meet his expenses with the salary package that he is currently receiving, he has discovered a way to participate in additional credit hours. “I try to manage my workload by giving extra time at university,” said the second person in the sentence. “A major challenge I have to face is getting my research published in an international journal, which is nearly impossible because he can only find some national journals to get published in,” said the third person in the group with the male perspective. In an effort to address this challenge, I am making an effort to elevate my voice. P 4, Male (P 4).
According to the findings of this study, the Tenure Track teachers at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh face a variety of challenges and problems in their respective fields of study. The demands placed on teachers in higher education have grown over the course of time (Schuster & Finkelstein, 2006; Cohen, 2008). As a result, teachers have become more multifaceted as a result of the fact that their efforts are directed towards various aspects such as administration, teaching, research, and scholarly work. The interviews were analysed, and the results showed that the teachers on the Tenure Track have experienced a loss of peace of mind ever since they joined. In addition, these findings lend support to the findings of Saleem (2019), which highlight the low level of satisfaction experienced by TT teachers in comparison to BPS teachers in Pakistan. As a result of the findings of the earlier study (Boice, 2000), it was discovered that teachers who work under TTS are more likely to experience stress and dissatisfaction, which ultimately leads to discomfort regarding their job and behaviour in the workplace. The TT teachers who participated in this study reported that it is extremely difficult for them to ensure that all fields are adequately covered. As a result, their lives are filled with stress. In addition, teachers of TT have mentioned that the evaluation criteria are not up to par because they should be discipline-specific. This is due to the fact that the opportunities for publication vary from person to person. So, the likelihood of being promoted is decreased. The findings revealed a number of difficulties and issues that are encountered by teachers who are on the tenure track. These include a variety of responsibilities, an unbalanced family life, a lack of time and resources for research, and a lack of support from colleagues and administrators. As a result of having an excessive amount of work, some of these problems were caused by a lack of time management. It was emphasised by the participants that the criteria for evaluation and the distribution of marks should be changed with regard to discipline because disciplinary opportunities are not the same for everyone. Nevertheless, participants also brought attention to the various approaches that they take to addressing all of the challenges and problems. In the first place, they make an effort to solve the problem on their own by working together on research projects, putting in extra hours at the institute, and sacrificing personal time with their families. It was mentioned by the teachers of TT that they sometimes consult with their colleagues simultaneously. Higher-ranking officials from the reputable institute were also consulted when it was necessary. They are also followed by the association that is specifically for teachers who are on the tenure track, but this approach does not always result in a positive response. It has been determined that effective time management, adequate support from the institute, change in the evaluation criteria with regard to discipline, and opportunities for professional development are the factors that contribute to the effective operation of TT teachers and would be beneficial for them to encounter fewer challenges and problems.
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Submitted: October 04, 2023
Accepted: October 25, 2023
Published: November 30, 2023
Jesmine Kur (2023). Strategies Employed by the Tenure Track Teachers to address the Challenges and Problems: A Comparative Analysis. Dinkum Journal of Social Innovations, 2(11):657-665.
© 2023 DJSI. All rights reserved.