SEATTLE -- Stories abound in higher education about professors with short memories about faculty life once they are promoted into the dean's office or the administration building. Nothing is more galling to many professors than the sense that Dean Jones or Vice Provost Smith really should know better -- they were so nice, after all, when they had the (smaller) office next door and shared teaching duties.
Countless decisions in academe are based on the quest for excellence. Which professors to hire and promote. Which grants to fund. Which projects to pursue. Everyone wants to promote excellence. But what if academe actually doesn’t know what excellence is?
In the ongoing debates over professors’ politics, right-wing critics make much of the fact that many surveys have found professors -- especially in the humanities -- to be well to the left of the American public. This political incongruence is frequently used as a jumping off point to suggest that professors are indoctrinating students with leftist ideas.