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One really curious aspect of the Iowa Republicans’ attack on the institution of tenure.  They act as if it is a windfall to professors.

But, have they ever considered that it is a windfall to the state?

It is often couched in terms of free speech, and it certainly has that element to it, but I think of the economic benefits of it, especially as it relates to tax payer.

It is a huge non monetary benefit that State can provide to attract top talent to state faculties.

To the receiver, it has significant economic value.

To the conferrer of tenure, the State, it is free!!  Doesn’t cost a thing!

They don’t seem to be considering that in the hard sciences, or engineering fields, that non monetary benefit may be the driving factor to accepting the position.

Take engineering, for example.   Suppose you could make 175K in the private sector, working 80 hour work weeks and driving hard for a top engineering firm.  On the other hand, suppose you could start at 80 to 90 K at UI for engineering tenure track position with less time pressure, less stress, more time off and greater job security.

Tenure may be the key factor in deciding to accept a faculty position over more lucrative private sector work.

There is no functioning trading market for tenure.  Hard to value perfectly, but my guess it would be worth tens of thousands of dollars in the market.

This can be provided for free to the state, allowing the state of Iowa to attract top talent by offering tenure for free on top of a below market salary.

The Iowa Republicans seem hell bent on destroying the very pillars of what has made Iowa, Iowa, a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Their attack on tenure is just another example of that.