(Posted January 16, 2006)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- James Lakso, provost at Juniata College and a professor of economics, will give a talk on how tenure works as an employment system for college and universities, and whether the tenure system serves the interests of students and is an efficient and fair way to rate professors, at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 25 in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science.

The lecture, titled "Two Cheers for Tenure," is free and open to the public. The talk is part of the Bookend Seminar series, which features afternoon lectures each month by Juniata College faculty.

Lakso will outline hiring trends in higher education, including a recent trend that shows that more than half of the new full-time faculty at U.S. colleges and universities have been hired as non-tenure track employees. Institutions also have significantly increased the number of part-time faculty, who are typically excluded from tenure consideration.

He also will explain that many larger universities are starting two-tier systems, offering tenure for some and long-term contracts for others. In addition surveys among college faculty show that many (including 40 percent of Juniata's faculty polled last year) professors agree with the proposition that "tenure is an outmoded concept." Lakso will talk about how colleges approach the issue and its alternatives.

Lakso joined the Juniata faculty in 1970. He has served in a variety of administrative roles including department head for the Department of Accounting, Business and Economics. He received the college's Beachley Distinguished Professor in 1983 and received the Beachley Award for Distinguished Academic Service in 2005. He was named provost in 1998.

Lakso earned a bachelor's degree at Wittenberg University and went on to earn a master's degree in economics and doctoral degree in economics, both from the University of Maryland. He has served as a business consultant in the area, most notably for Kish Bank, and has served on a variety of community boards.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.