How stable are academia jobs in the Europe and America?

In summary: Enrollments into courses, admissions, students choosing to attend or not attend particular courses or programs; will have a very strong effect on administrators keeping course or programs open or closed.Enrollments into courses, admissions, students choosing to attend or not attend particular courses or programs; will have a very strong effect on administrators keeping course or programs open or closed.
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In Thailand university professors become an unstable job due to a new policy. There's literally zero job security even if you get tenured (become associate ,assistant profs) you'll still get sacked by the authorities if you don't conform to them. Little to No retirement pensions. Some professors told me starting a family as a faculty member is challenging and many of them have left their academia due to the new policies.

I really want to know the situation in the west.
Do academics get treated better ,have more secured position or get better benefits?
 
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  • #2
In the United States, tenure does mean something. A tenured professor CAN be fired but it would have to be as a result of something serious. A tenured professor can be fired for "incompetence" but that would certainly end in a law suit with the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) assisting the professor.
 
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  • #3
In some places you will have a "Publish or Perish" policy where you will be expected to publish a certain amount of papers in order to keep your job and/or be allowed into a tenure-track job. But as Halls says, after you obtain tenure your job is essentially safe unless you do something incredibly wrong.
 
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It's possible for tenured positions to be eliminated for financial reasons, e.g. not enough funding from the state (for state schools) or not enough income from student tuition and fees, and endowment. Normally non-tenured faculty are the first to go. If there aren't enough of them, then the school usually tries to get older professors to retire voluntarily by offering them "incentive payments." If that still isn't enough, some professors are forced to leave.
 
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  • #5
jtbell said:
It's possible for tenured positions to be eliminated for financial reasons

And it's possible for whole colleges to be eliminated as well: Mount Ida, Green Mountain, a near miss with Sweet Briar, Newbury, Southern Vermont...
 
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  • #6
Vanadium 50 said:
And it's possible for whole colleges to be eliminated as well: Mount Ida, Green Mountain, a near miss with Sweet Briar, Newbury, Southern Vermont...
Eliminated you mean going out of business or losing accreditation, maybe some license?
 
  • #7
TechieDork said:
In Thailand university professors become an unstable job due to a new policy. There's literally zero job security even if you get tenured (become associate ,assistant profs) you'll still get sacked by the authorities if you don't conform to them. Little to No retirement pensions. Some professors told me starting a family as a faculty member is challenging and many of them have left their academia due to the new policies.

I really want to know the situation in the west.
Do academics get treated better ,have more secured position or get better benefits?
I believe that in every country if the professors won't conform to authorities they will be sacked.
That's why they are called "authorities", they are the ones who decide on everything.
 
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It's like here in PF, if you won't conform to the guidelines of this website you will be banned ,why should it be any different in any other forum?!
 
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  • #9
WWGD said:
Eliminated you mean going out of business

Yes. "Ceasing operations" is usually what they call it.
 
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  • #10
Vanadium 50 said:
Yes. "Ceasing operations" is usually what they call it.

How often has this actually happened in the US? I imagine this would only occur in small schools with very low enrollments.

I have never heard of universities in Canada closing entirely, but then again, there are fewer universities in Canada per capita than the US.
 
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I gave a list of a couple. I don't know how complete it is. It does happen with schools with low enrollments, pretty much by definition. Mt. Ida had ~1500 students when it closed. Not Ohio State, but not exactly small.
 
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StatGuy2000 said:
How often has this actually happened in the US? I imagine this would only occur in small schools with very low enrollments.

I have never heard of universities in Canada closing entirely, but then again, there are fewer universities in Canada per capita than the US.
Enrollments into courses, admissions, students choosing to attend or not attend particular courses or programs; will have a very strong affect on administrators keeping course or programs open or closed.
 
  • #13
symbolipoint said:
Enrollments into courses, admissions, students choosing to attend or not attend particular courses or programs; will have a very strong affect on administrators keeping course or programs open or closed.

I agree that enrollments into courses or programs will have a very strong effect on whether courses or programs stay open.

What I was talking about (and what @Vanadium 50 was talking about) were entire colleges or universities shutting down, not just specific courses or programs.
 
  • #14
Vanadium 50 said:
I gave a list of a couple. I don't know how complete it is. It does happen with schools with low enrollments, pretty much by definition. Mt. Ida had ~1500 students when it closed. Not Ohio State, but not exactly small.

A college/university with ~1500 students is not that small, so I find it very surprising that Mt. Ida had shut down entirely (there are schools in Canada today that are smaller that are still open e.g. St. Stephen's University in New Brunswick). Was this school merged with a larger school, or simply closed shop? If so, do you know what was the main factor in closing (budget cuts, debt, etc.)?

I'm curious about how this would impact past graduates from Mt. Ida. I would imagine that graduating from a school that closed won't look good on resumes.
 
  • #15
StatGuy2000 said:
Was this school merged with a larger school, or simply closed shop?

They closed. Another university bought their campus. If by "budget cuts" you mean governmental budget cuts, this was a private university. I don't know if you have them in Canada.

As I understand it, enrollment was down and the money coming in was less than the money going out. The trigger was that years of deferred maintenance caused the government to close a dorm, so students were put up in local hotels, and many of them did not return the following year.
 
  • #16
StatGuy2000 said:
How often has this actually happened in the US? I imagine this would only occur in small schools with very low enrollments.

I have never heard of universities in Canada closing entirely, but then again, there are fewer universities in Canada per capita than the US.

Several dozen publics and privates have closed since 2016; an estimate is that 800 are considered 'vulnerable'.:

https://www.educationdive.com/news/how-many-colleges-and-universities-have-closed-since-2016/539379/
 
  • #18
WWGD said:
Wonder if education prices will go up as result if decreased competition and fewer options.

Not necessarily - the linked article states that among the factors in colleges/universities closing include low enrollment of students (thus indicating demand for degrees from said institution was low). So there may not be a demand factor leading to higher tuition rates (although you could see differential tuition for specific high-demand programs).
 
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  • #19
MathematicalPhysicist said:
It's like here in PF, if you won't conform to the guidelines of this website you will be banned ,why should it be any different in any other forum?!
HallsofIvy said:
In the United States, tenure does mean something. A tenured professor CAN be fired but it would have to be as a result of something serious. A tenured professor can be fired for "incompetence" but that would certainly end in a law suit with the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) assisting the professor.

I love this because it gives a researcher an academic freedom enough to conduct a non-profit research ,for example : string theory.
In Thailand ,they don't see any monetary benefits from supporting theoretical researches so the funding will be cut and a professor's job will be threatened.
They can fire you without any legal consequences and don't have to give concrete reasons because faculty members aren't recognized under Thai employment laws. (Disposable)
 

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