Friday, February 13, 2009

Academia, The Economic Crisis, and What Professors Do

Over at The Cyber Hacienda Jaime has a post in which he links an open letter from an Arizona State University professor explaining what it is that professors do, clearing up some misconceptions along the way. I would further add that research expectations are not only prevelant at Research I universities such as ASU and that even in smaller institutions, such as mine, research is a serious expectation, and that when people don't get tenure here, as at a large swath of schools, it is almost universally because of a lack of research productivity.

The professor (who is not yet tenured) had to write anonymously because the university president has apparently put forth a dictum that faculty may not speak about the crisis. Were I a tenured professor at ASU, and especially were I in a discipline in which writing about politics or current affairs could plausibly be part of what I do -- ie: were I me -- I might challenge that demand of silence frontally in the name of both academic freedom and free speech. Of course that's easy for me to say here and now, as the crisis in Texas is nowhere near as dire as that in Arizona, and we are not facing such severe circumstances.

No comments: