Blogger Denied Tenure

From Poliblogger Stephen Taylor comes the bad news that another blogger, Daniel Drezner, was denied tenure at the University of Chicago.

Just to be clear, I’ve never met Daniel Drezner, I don’t recall ever reading his blog, and his CV is undoubtedly impressive. I’m even using a book in one of my courses based on his review.

Given these caveats, I have two thoughts on his tenure denial:

First, Drezner’s blogging under his real name while untenured was a gigantic mistake. There’s is no way for me to believe that what he wrote at his blog was not a factor in the tenure committee’s decision, and I think it was a foolish mistake for him to both blog under his real name but also to be so public about it (his website is listed on his academic CV).

But second, and more importantly, Drezner made another huge mistake in trying to conflate blogging and scholarship, and I can only assume that his colleagues deemed this type of work unserious — a perspective with which I largely agree. Looking at his CV, however impressive, might have led his colleagues to believe that once granted tenure, his focus might shift away from his serious work toward more articles, books, conference papers, etc. about blogging — which I assume is hardly what they were looking for when they hired him.

In any event, my untenured, anonymous heart goes out to him, although his credentials suggest he̢۪ll fare just fine in the current academic job market.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Education, , ,
Leopold Stotch
About Leopold Stotch
“Dr. Leopold Stotch” was the pseudonym of political science professor then at a major research university inside the beltway. He has a PhD in International Relations. He contributed 165 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and February 2006.


  1. jimbo says:

    You are so wrong. In the first place, how can you comment about Drezner’s blog without reading it? Secondly, if U of C made their decision for the reasons stated by you, they are fools. His discipline, Poli Sci, is undistinguished and has contributed nothing of value to society or human knowledge. Thirdly, it is kind of scary to think that untenured academics, usually the younger and brighter members of the profession, and who have more day to day contact with students, must hide their identities when communicating with the world outside the ivory tower. This post really diminished my opinion of you.

  2. DL says:

    Ah! Said the sage,” … but, whatis tenure compared to truth.”

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist making one up, after realizing that some levity was needed here!
    You bloggers really take it on the chin, don’t you?

  3. Anderson says:

    His discipline, Poli Sci, is undistinguished and has contributed nothing of value to society or human knowledge.

    Somehow, I doubt his tenure committee saw it that way.

    FTR, I like Drezner’s blog, I’m sorry he was denied tenure, and I hope he gets a much better job elsewhere. And if the tenure committee let the blog weigh against him, then their notion of what a professor should be is a terrible one. Drezner has done a great deal to educate the public and to demonstrate the relevance of academic study to real-world problems.

  4. Sherman Dorn says:

    Hi, Ivan Tribble! Or, at least, that’s the impression you give here. If you’re right, then not only should Chicago have denied Taylor tenure, because he blogged, but they should deny everyone tenure because they might blog. Heck, let’s just stop hiring altogether, in the fear that someone, someday, might choose to blog.

    Oh, wait. That last bit of ad absurdum reasoning came from Drezner himself. Never mind it’s sound. It’s probably the post that got him kiboshed.

  5. anjin-san says:

    Don’t know about the tenure issue, but Drezner’s Blog is excellent, worth checking out if you have not read it before.

  6. Bithead says:

    It strikes me as an interesting way to silence a POV they disagree with.

    Is this making sure that only real liberals ever get to that plateau?

  7. I am barely containing rage about the recent Drezner event. An interesting blog, “Solitude and Hope” ( has a post describing this event and a pattern of others that have occurred during the past year. It appears that all is not at all well beneath the facade that the University of Chicago presents to the public.