The proper goal of a university education is the subject of serious discussion in many circles today.
The author, a recent Ph.D., describes the frustrations of job-hunting. Here he shares one rather unique reply to his innumerable queries.
A tribute to Edward L. Thorndike, 1874-1949
Given the simultaneous ticking of biological and tenure clocks, research topics related to work and family for faculty have captured the attention of faculty and administrators in higher education. A primary emphasis of this research is early career faculty. The goal of this commentary is to broaden the conversation by including the perspectives of mid career faculty based on longitudinal data.
Based on her book How Professors Think: Inside the Curious World of Academic Judgment, sociologist Michèle Lamont discusses the role of emotions, interactions, and identities in influencing academic evaluation, including for tenure. She argues that subjectivity is essential for evaluation and that we need to be more aware of its impact – not try to eliminate it. She also argues that we should shift our focus away from bias toward gaining a better understanding of evaluative cultures and evaluative practices and of how they differ across disciplines, universities, and national contexts.
Discussions about professionalism and obligation are rife within academia. However, conversations examining the intersections of politics in academia and the duty owed to the profession are less prevalent. This article seeks to raise questions about the contours of professionalism relative to the politics of tenure and promotion. Such considerations are framed within organizational hegemony, and the social constructions of professional identity.
In this commentary, we suggest that the contemporary publish-or-perish academic culture stands to negatively impact pre-tenure professors—particularly professors at R1 institutions. Indeed, we believe that the present overemphasis on publication, and its attending de-emphasis on teaching quality and meaningful service, provides rich soil for the cultivation of intellectual dereliction. To this end, we assert that the development of “intellectual virtue” ought to be a primary aim of doctoral and pre-tenure mentorship. Such virtues include intellectual honesty, conscientiousness, creativity, and open-mindedness. We conclude the piece with some remarks on cultivating intellectual virtue in the academy.