Deborah L. Rhode has joined the campaign against the role of status in defining what matters in higher education. Her new book, In Pursuit of Knowledge: Scholars, Status, and Academic Culture (Stanford University Press) questions why excellence is defined as it is today, and explores the impact that prestige has on the choices made by academics and scholars. Rhode, a professor of law and director of the Center on Ethics at Stanford University, responded to questions about the themes of her book.
Isabel Vittorio, who, as a department chair at the fictional Austin University, had variously “been described as narcissistic, charismatic, brilliant, and opportunistic” was found slumped over her desk in the Department of Literature and Rhetoric early on a Monday morning, her neck broken. What ensues as the murder investigation unfolds is a peek inside what author Lynn C. Miller called the closed, “wonderful dysfunctional family template” of a humanities department.
Mary Burgan, former general secretary of the American Association of University Professors, is not happy about the trends she sees with regard to faculty rights. Traditional governance models are being replaced with strict hierarchies, and too many faculty members have too little influence in crucial decisions, she writes, in What Ever Happened to the Faculty? Drift and Decision in Higher Education, just published by Johns Hopkins University Press.