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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

ACADEMIC EXORCISE 

Doug of Bogus Gold notes today's Washington Post column reporting that a recent study shows that academia is indeed extremely liberal:
By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative ...
Indeed, the more ivory, the more lefty:
The disparity is even more pronounced at the most elite schools, where, according to the study, 87 percent of faculty are liberal and 13 percent are conservative.
Doug expects that academics will try to explain away these numbers:
"Conservative? Liberal? Party affiliation? These are just words - empty vessels into which we pour whatever meaning our tenured heads desire. It might be that these numbers are actually evidence that we're too conservative! Ever think of that?! Of course not you non-tenured mental inferior!"
I know a lot of English professors at "elite" schools, and I don't think they'll go all Derrida on the numbers. They firmly believe that the reason that conservatives don't exist in academia is because they're either too dumb to cut it or not public-minded enough to choose a lower academic salary over a high-flying business career (forget that academic salaries at elite schools aren't that low and there are a lot of crash and burns in business) so the lack of conservatives doesn't seem like a problem worth addressing to them.

The article correctly notes that the important question is how this liberal bent affects the students. Jonathan Knight, director of academic freedom and tenure for the American Association of University Professors, isn't aware of "any good evidence" that there is an impact.

I find this hard to believe. Before the Presidential election, I actually heard some professors express their anger over Bush's high poll numbers by reasoning "something is fishy! No one I know is voting for him." As an initial question, how can teachers, especially in the humanities, achieve excellence if they're so isolated from a large segment of current social thought?

1 Comments:

Thanks for the connection to Doug and the percentages of Liberal Professors!

Great catch....will share more later!

Thanks,

By Anonymous Lu Ann, at 2:33 AM  

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