November 24, 2010
Friday Fun on Wednesday Because of the Thanksgiving Holiday: How Not to Get Invited to Interview for a Law School Dean Appointment
U Chicago Law Prof Brian Leiter writes that "Brian Tamanaha (Wash U/St. Louis) has discovered the best way to guarantee one will never be sought after as a Dean" by pubishing his pitch to any law school dean search committee that might have been interested in him until he published this blog post, My "Dean's Vision" Speech.
Two snips but really one should read Tamanaha's entire post.
If we cannot generate more revenue, we must trim costs. These reductions will come in several painful ways, mostly focused on the faculty—directed at compensation and work load.
During my full first term as your dean, I will not award a raise to any faculty member who currently earns in excess of $180,000. Faculty members who earn between $160,000 and $180,000 may receive merit based raises in flat amounts (not percentages), not exceeding $2000 annually. Those who earn between $140,000 and $160,000 will be eligible for merit-based raises of up to $3,000. To supplement these restricted raises, each year I will award several $1,000-$3,000 bonuses to faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to the school. Faculty who earn below $140,000 will be eligible for more generous raises.
I recognize that the high earners among you, many of whom are accomplished senior scholars, will be dismayed by my proposal. Let me say just two quick points in defense. Law professors often remark that we have sacrificed income to become professors since we could have earned more as lawyers (this rationalization justifies the fact that we earn upward of a third more than professors in other university departments except for the medical school). It’s a terrific deal for us. We exchanged money for freedom of time and thought, and quality of life. To be paid two hundred thousand dollars a year is a handsome sum for what we do. The particular salary cut-offs I have identified are arbitrary and open to discussion. But the essential point is that salary increases must be sharply reduced.
The norm if I am your dean will be a teaching load of four courses a year. That provides ample time for scholarship, while also getting a full slate of teaching from each professor. My innovation will be to implement what I call the “alternative contribution system.” Under this system, professors who do not engage in substantial scholarship will be asked to teach five courses a year. The fifth course can be anything: a substantive course, legal writing, trial advocacy, supervising a clinic, etc. This is not a penalty for professors who don’t write, but instead it is an opportunity for those professors to make a contribution commensurate with a full time position (teaching two courses a semester does not fill forty hours a week).
The beauty of this proposal is that, in a sense, it gets something additional without asking for anything more. That is, professors who teach a fifth course will still only be asked to put in a full day’s work—no more—which is what they are paid for. If only four professors take up this option, the four extra courses we get will amount to having another full time professor on staff. These extra courses would allow us the flexibility to not replace professors who depart (assuming subject matter coverage is maintained), enabling us to gradually shrink faculty size.