Professor's Blog May Have Cost Him Tenure
Well-known economic and political blogger Daniel Drezner was denied tenure, and will have to seek a new job.
The University of Chicago's political science department had to decide whether or not to grant tenure to Drezner, and chose not to do so. The department's head, Dali Yang, did not rule out Drezner's blog in a New York Sun report: "I can assure you it's not specifically about the blog," he said.
Drezner doesn't blame his blogging activity fully either. "I would caution people against jumping to conclusions," he told the Sun. Still it doesn't seem impossible. In the ivory towers of academia, blogging doesn't hold the same stature of scholarly research.
And Drezner isn't the first University of Chicago academic blogger denied tenure, either. Physicist Sean Carroll, who contributed to the blog was turned down in May.
Politics could play a role as well, particularly with the fiercely liberal majority of professors in American colleges and universities. A co-contributor to the Volokh Conspiracy blog explained to the Sun why he remains anonymous:
Another risk for academic bloggers is that their content - particularly postings that are political in nature - will offend professors in their departments. There's a "fear that something they post will politically be alienating to some colleagues," Mr. Volokh, who gained tenure three years before joining the blogosphere in 2002, told the Sun.
That concern weighs more heavily on his pseudonymous co-blogger, who wrote: "I tend to be conservative/libertarian on most issues. While my colleagues know this, it's not in my interest to remind them of my views, particularly when presented in a non-academic way."
That point could be a factor with Drezner as well. A Google search on Daniel Drezner returns his site as the first result, with this text: The personal weblog of a libertarian/conservative University of Chicago political science professor.
Maybe the tenure denial wasn't about the blog after all.
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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.
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