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WUWM's Emily Files reports on education in southeastern Wisconsin.

Professor Leaves University of Wisconsin for School That 'Embraces Tenure Protections'

Sara Goldrick-Rab

An outspoken UW-Madison professor says she's planning to leave the state system because of forthcoming changes to tenure.

Sara Goldrick-Rab, a vocal educational policy studies professor, announced Tuesday that she has accepted a position at Temple University in Philadelphia. She describes the school as "clearly committed to 21st century public university goals."

"[I]t is no longer possible for critical scholars working in public higher education to flourish without tenure protections," Goldrick-Rab wrote in a blog post. "This is not the UW I chose to become part of."

Goldrick-Rab's decision is what some UW System leaders and faculty have been predicting and fearing - that the loss of tenure protections will prompt faculty to leave and make it more difficult to attract new talent. Hundreds signed a letter opposing the change.

Republican legislators struck tenure protections from state law in the most recent budget cycle. Supporters of the change insist that, if the UW Board of Regents controls tenure instead of it being guaranteed in state law, the university system would become more flexible and able to cut spending.

Leaders have been working on proposed changes. They include new processes for reviewing and laying off tenured faculty.

The UW Board of Regents will vote on the proposed tenure policy changes at its meeting Thursday.

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