Tag Archive | "tenure"

NTU president Bertil Andersson is the epitome of academic honesty in S’pore

NTU president Bertil Andersson is the epitome of academic honesty in S’pore

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His spat with Cherian George shows NTU is such an open and accountable place.


Nanyang Technological University students past and present from all walks of life, who are watching the status of their university plummet with each passing day, have come out in support to praise the antics of the current president, Bertil Andersson.

This after Andersson was caught in a controversy this week, where he was quoted publicly as insinuating that Singapore’s only journalism academic, Cherian George, was not granted tenure because he wasn’t good enough.

This resulted in Professor George relocating to Hong Kong to start his career over.

However, many NTU students past and present have come out to hail Andersson as the pinnacle of excellence and an exemplary character who represents NTU’s ambition of wanting to become a top research institution in the world.

Jin Ham Ji, a graduate from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communications, said Dr Andersson represents “academic honesty”: “Putting another academic down using defamatory language and then hiding behind the NTU bureaucracy by stonewalling critics and reporters by saying that he will not issue any more clarifications. That’s the hallmark of academic honesty.”

“And I’m sure if someone can be effectively fired for political reasons, there will be others who are hired for political reasons as well. Bodes well for academic freedom, honesty and truth.”

Another student, Jiang Pian Hua, who is still studying in NTU, had only good words for Dr Andersson: “He uses political reasons to justify why Professor Cherian George did not get tenure. That is such a rigorous way of assessment. I’m sure NTU will be proud of such methodologies.”

“Moreover, President Andersson’s refusal to retract his defamatory comments about Professor Cherian George makes the university look so very accountable.”

“Probably explains why NTU is the best university in Singapore. After NUS, SIM and SMU.”

“And this goes well with NTU’s image. Always striving for excellence. Instead of being excellent.”


Cherian George is Champions League material, NTU is Divison 2:

NTU denies journalism prof tenure, deems lectures too well-attended

Cherian George ready for transfer deal






Cherian George ready for transfer deal

Cherian George ready for transfer deal

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Transfer window open after failed tenure appeal, set to move from fourth best to champion university.


Cherian George, Singapore’s premier academic and only public intellectual, is set to move to NUS, as rumour mongers point to this fate as the only viable option left.

This is after his appeal against his failed tenure bid two months ago has been rejected by NTU yesterday.

This means that Cherian George, 47, is likely to leave the school within a year after being denied tenure a second time.

NUS, Singapore’s champion university ranked as the best in the country for many consecutive years in international standings, will absorb Cherian George’s forward attacking play.

Cherian George, widely known for his critical, straight-shooting views against the government and media, is seen to be in his prime and ripe for the picking.

One academic, who declined to be named, said: “Cherian George has a natural attacking flair. He has out-manoeuvred tougher opponents ready to clamp him down. This deal could set NUS up for even greater heights.”

This view is also shared by many undergraduates.

Ai Tak Chek, an NTU student, said: “NUS is already far better than NTU in many aspects. Cherian George’s transfer deal could kick NTU back to the stone age.”

NTU, ranked lowly for many consecutive years in international rankings, will find it near impossible to find a replacement.

And compete with SIM.

The case against tenure in general: 4 reasons

The case against tenure in general: 4 reasons

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Nothing against Cherian George’s bid for tenure, but quite a lot against the idea of tenure itself.

By Belmont Lay


About three years ago, I read a 2010 Slate article that made a strong case against tenure.

With the recent Cherian George saga playing out in the media, it is good to revisit the basic premises of those ideas against tenure in general — something about how it works against students and the universities that grant them, and also for knowledge production and synthesis.

4 reasons why tenure is a bad idea in general:

1. Tenure leads to self-censorship among professors

At first glance, this doesn’t make much sense.

This is because one of the explicit purposes of tenure is to ensure that professors have job security and they are, therefore, free to push the boundaries and put forth any ideas no matter how dangerous and controversial without fear of getting fired.

Therefore, by right, tenure is supposed to lead to academic freedom.

However, tenure-seeking professors — on their way to being tenured — might actually be discouraged from dabbling in anything too controversial.

Why? Precisely for fear of ending up like Cherian George.

In his case, he is not given tenure because he might be a reputational risk to the establishment for his studies in media, which of course, spills over to politics.

This is kind of like a Catch-22 situation right?

Furthermore, if a tenure-track professor is not going to speak out before, how safe is it to assume that a professor can do just that after gaining tenure?

2. Tenures are hugely expensive

This is a topic that strangely hasn’t been broached by any of the universities and media in Singapore.

Does anyone know how much a tenured professor gets paid? I don’t but I can safely assume that each professor who gains tenure will ultimately cost the university millions of dollars.

Job security is indeed very costly. Especially if the university is going to keep a professor on board for the next 20 to 30 years until retirement.

3. Tenure track professors must focus more on research than teaching

Whether this is a myth waiting to be busted, I’m not 100% sure.

But for those who have poked around the faculties and talked to people in the system, you would know that academia requires the publication of peer-reviewed papers.

Peer-reviewed papers is what holds a university up. This is similar to the reserves that back a country.

Universities are ranked according to the quantity and quality of research papers.

Teaching students, therefore, is one of those pesky things professors are required to do besides writing papers.

If there is a scale to weigh research vs. teaching, research wins. Period.

Students are most likely not ranked that highly up there among the other priorities.

4. Intellectual inflexibility

With tenures, what happens is that universities are actually taking a huge gamble by hiring somebody for life.

If a field is constantly evolving, and at a more rapid rate than before, for example, bio-tech or something, than how sure can the university be that the professor will keep up in that given field?

And there will be increasingly lesser incentive to merge disciplines as professors with tenure are more likely to delve deeper into one esoteric aspect of a given field to be deemed “an expert”.

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