The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Cruelty of Faculty Churn

Nov 3, 2022

Term-limited lectureships give scholars a taste of academic life — then yank it away.

Last year, Maggie Doherty left her teaching position at Harvard. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the university and, by the spring of 2021, had put in seven years of teaching across several departments. Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences adheres to something it calls the eight-year rule: “Individuals in the non-tenure-track ranks, including college fellows, lecturers, preceptors, and teaching assistants, may only hold teaching appointments for a maximum of eight years.” Scholars who reach that threshold, regardless of teaching performance or scholarly achievement, are ineligible for renewal. Doherty left before her expiration date rolled around.

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