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Fewer SNU Professors Getting Tenure

Posted March. 25, 2006 03:10,   


Only one out of 10 assistant professors at Seoul National University passed the school’s tenure exam recently. This illustrates just how much job security for professors has changed.

Seoul National University announced yesterday that since its abolition of automatic tenure in February 2002, only 24 out of 218 assistant professors were guaranteed tenure upon promotion.

In the second half of 2002, Seoul National University screened its assistant professors for professorship after discontinuing their automatic tenure system. In the screening process, only seven and nine professors passed in 2002 and 2003, respectively. In 2004, only four were granted tenure, and in 2005, only one. This year, three people earned tenure status.

No professors from the following departments were given tenure this year: nursing, art, education, natural sciences, music, School of Health, School of Government and Administration, School of International Affairs, and dentistry; while only one professor from college of humanities, agriculture and life sciences, and pharmacy, respectively, passed the tenure exam.

Seoul National University strengthened its tenure system standard in 2002 by putting in writing that tenure will be only given to applicants who have been given tenure at world-renown universities and to applicants who have won academic awards or recognitions from prestigious academic institutions. Such a trend is likely to influence other universities. Hanyang University, for example, recently decided that they would raise the tenure standard as well starting next year at the earliest. Sogang University also raised the bar by requiring its assistant professors to serve five years before applying for professorship. Those who seek professorship at Hanyang now need to earn 1,000 points in education and academic achievement points rather than the previous benchmark of 450 points starting this semester.