It strikes me that Craig and I have been unpacking everything about the "two out of three ain't bad" tenure model except for the model itself. Sure, I've noted that it's really a 4-tiered and not a 2-tiered model, but that's just a correction to my original fragment of a post.
So let's elaborate what, for lack of a better name, I'll call the Meatloaf model (because you can play it on your 4-track?):
Track 1: The traditional tenure-track job, in which you need varying degrees of excellence in varying weightings of the traditional triad to get tenure at a variety of institutional types among the 4000+ colleges and universities in the U.S.
Track 2: The research-teaching tenure-track job, in which, in exchange for a lower teaching load, higher research expectations (or vice versa), and no service responsibilities, you accept a lower salary than those on Track 1 (but equal to Tracks 3 and 4).
Track 3: The teaching-service tenure-track job, in which, in exchange for a lower teaching load, higher service expectations (or vice versa), and no research responsibilities (outside of course design and class prep), you accept a lower salary than those on Track 1 (but equal to Tracks 2 and 4).
Track 4: The research-service tenure-track job, in which, in exchange for a higher service load, higher research expectations, and no teaching responsibilities, you accept a lower salary than those on Track 1 (but equal to Tracks 2 and 3).
Of course these aren't the only ways of elaborating my Meatloaf model. But for now, let's leap into some possible applications of it....
Are we imagining it as something strictly limited to conversions of non-tenurable positions into tenure-track jobs? There are pros to this version of the model, as some of my colleagues on a UUP activists' listserv have noted: 1) it prevents administrators from converting already-existing pretty-darn-good jobs to worse ones; 2) it prevents administrators from doing the same thing over time by making all newly-created positions fit Tracks 2-4 and further reducing the number of Track 1 positions offered; 3) it provides a clear way for people already doing a great job at an institution to compete with outside candidates on the (nearly-)inevitable national search that's involved for (most) any tenure-track position, as it provides something of a disincentive for those who really want to aim for Track 1 to apply for any other kind of position; 4) it provides both greater flexibility and clarity to the people in the non-tenurable positions (as well as to departments) in terms of workload expectations than the current system, not to mention better salary and benefits, security, and advancement opportunities.
Are we imagining it as something imposed from above or proposed from below? This question is implicit in the reasons why it might be a good idea to "test-drive" it, as it were, on tenuring the non-tenurable. Or to rephrase the question, how and at what level are decisions made as to which kind of track a formerly contingent faculty member gets on? I can imagine several models: 1) the administration chooses the track, in consultation with the department, before the position is advertised; 2) the candidate chooses the track, in consultation with the department, after beating out everyone else who applied for the position; 3) the administration, department, and candidate work within ground rules negotiated with the faculty union or AAUP chapter, or, in their absense, the university senate or other faculty governance body, or, perhaps guided by principles set out by national professional associations like the MLA and AAUP and faculty unions like the AFT, NEA, CWA, and SEIU.
But why imagine it only for this limited purpose? Why not start with general principles at the national level and negotiations at the campus level, and then, within the rules hammered out, give administrators, departments, and individual faculty members the widest range of choices they can agree to? For instance, under what circumstances can you jump tracks--or be involuntarily transferred from one to another? Think of the institutions that can't afford to offer sabbaticals all that often--why not have the option of switching from Track 1 to Tracks 2 or 4 at teaching-intensive institutions for those faculty who wish to focus more on research for a set period of time? Why not use it to give teeth to post-tenure reviews? Tenured free rider who's been boycotting service for a decade? Boom--Track 2 for her! Tenured deadwood when it comes to developing new courses and doing any other kind of scholarly activity in living memory? Boom--Track 3 for him! The budding administrator who's been getting course reductions for chairing departments, senates, and chapters? Boom--Track 4 for her!
Hey, why would we need an administration if we had this system? Could the Meatloaf Model lead to the withering away of the administration-faculty divide that Marc Bousquet so vehemently denounces over at How the University Works--or "the administration" itself?
Hold on a second, isn't this moving way too fast? Hey, nobody here but us bloggers.