Saturday, September 17, 2005

What you gonna do with the old professors, early in the morning.

There are a lot of research adverse universities trying to move up and grab more of those F&A costs (overhead in industry speak)

The only occasionally successful way of upgrading research at a non-research habituated place is to shove the old guard to the side, grab their lab space, and push them into attic offices slightly smaller then a cell at Gitmo and about as well air conditioned. Then the Dean waits for time to take its toll. In the meantime you open the alumni purse for a few real stars, let them talent spot some young stars and hire bodyguards so that the old folk don't do fancy knife work. It does not always work.

With the abolition of forced retirement, this can be quite expensive. It also might be wasteful because no one really knows what the old guard could have done with real support. Probably they are more optimistic than everyone else, but the truth is they never have had a chance.

Thus we come to the Rabett solution: Any member of the old guard can get as much in set up funds as a new assistant prof, if they give up tenure and go on a rolling contract, like your local football coach. Renewal conditions are negotiated, for example x publications per year, y dollars of grant funds, z students supported. The length of the renewal period might be between 3 and 6 years.

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