Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Public and the Professor

The NYT had a recent story on what college students compared to the public thought were the top problems on campus. It was interesting to me that few of the what the student's thought were problems had little to do with the educations they were receiving in the classroom. In fact the only educational problem that made the list came in at the bottom with only 10% thinking that the top problem was academic cheating.

If you look at what the general public saw as the top problem on college campuses 3 classroom issues made the list. 10% of the public saw low educational standards as the problem, 8% viewed political bias in the classrooms as the top problem, and 6% believed that incompetent professors were the problem. (See graphic below)

If you asked the professors who I work with what the top problems are I think you get a range of answers including too many administrators, underprepared students, and poor faculty pay.

I wonder why the general public has such a poor view of what goes on in the classroom compared to college students and professors? Do professors in the public's mind rank just below lawyers, politicians, and used car salesmen in the category of an untrustworthy/sneaky professional? Why isn't the AAUP out there signing deals with Vogue or Hollywood to try and fix our image problem? Come on Dan Brown, write a book about a smart college professor that doesn't piss off all the Christians. Someone remind all the political pundits that go off on college professors that Condi Rice and Henry Kissinger both taught college before becoming Secretary of State. Someone come up with a plan to win back the public's respect for what occurs in the college classroom.

Graphic - What are the top problems on campus? Posted by Picasa

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