This article investigates the variables that affect the award of tenure in political science departments in the United States. We examined two dependent variables: (1) whether a department has denied tenure in the past five years, and (2) whether a positive departmental tenure recommendation has been reversed by higher college or university authorities during the same period of time. Five clusters of independent variables were evaluated: (1) college/university and departmental characteristics, (2) the procedures employed to evaluate tenure cases, (3) the instruments used to assess teaching, (4) service expectations, and (5) research and publication standards. We found that the most important factors affecting departmental decisions to deny tenure were whether teaching and substantive publications were treated as equally valuable qualifications, the number of articles a candidate published, and the candidate's level of commitment to advising. Interestingly, reversal decisions by higher authorities were not strongly affected by any of the variables in the analysis.
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