February 25, 2005

Unprofessional Professoring.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:41 pm

If you signed up for a college course entitled, “History of political, social, and diplomatic developments that have shaped the U.S. since 1960,” I think you could reasonably expect to receive a survey course that provides an objective presentation of the patchwork of perspectives on the “political, social and diplomatic developments” that might shape our society.

Apparently, if you signed up for that course in UCLA and the course is taught by this professor, you will receive anything but an objective account of the political, social and diplomatic developments that have shaped America since 1960. In fact, according to a former student, you will be in for a semester of the “socialist rendition of history, with no regard for the many other sides of the account,” he describes as follows:

Her bottom-line version of recent American history was some cocktail of male hegemony, racism, class systems, and the vast right-wing Republican conspiracy. Early in the quarter, she went on a rant against capitalism and the market system, which she defined as “the weird faith that everything will work out fine.” “Capitalism isn’t a lie on purpose. It’s just a lie,” she lectured us, “It’s easy for us to look back and say these people [who believe in markets] are dorks.” And for the climax, “[Capitalists] are swine.… They’re bastard people.

Apparently, not only did this professor make no claim to objectivity, but she also was intolerant of opposing viewpoints, both in class and in handing out grades. Perhaps, at a minimum, the course should have been entitled, A Socialist View of the History of ….”)

I understand, and I believe it is important that universities should be places where students are exposed to the vast marketplace of ideas. At the same time, I think it is the role of the faculty to fairly present a cornucopia of ideas and to foster discussion in a forum that encourages disparate views, showing intolerance only for those that are poorly reasoned, as opposed to simply being contrary to the professor’s personal views.

I absolutely do not think that it is the professor’s role to use his or her classroom as a pulpit from which to advocate a personal political ideology, with the goal of turning the members of the captive audience into ideological clones.

This has nothing to do with “academic freedom,” but has everything to do with academic professionalism and competence.

Via Chad Adams.

5 Comments »

  1. Perhaps a lawsuit under the Deceptive Labeling regs, or False Advertising ??

    Comment by MommaBear — February 25, 2005 @ 8:46 pm

  2. Unfortunately, this prof is not an isolated case. I saw a radical feminist version of her in one college and a smart alec man who started every single class with a humorous attack on anything conservative. He had the class laughing and I did raise my hand every day and challenged him. He eventually called me into his office and said, “I will stop making fun of your beliefs if you will stop embarrassing me in front of my class”. I was happy to oblige. He graded fairly, I must say. You had to agree with the feminist in order to score well in her class. Aaargh!!

    Don

    Comment by Don — February 25, 2005 @ 10:30 pm

  3. Good post, Jim. This apparently is not an isolated case. Too bad they see fit to downgrade students with differing viewpoints. Sounds like this one needs a visit from my cousin Guido. Broken kneecaps really hurt… from what I hear.

    Comment by Dash — February 26, 2005 @ 12:59 am

  4. i was lucky

    I knew after my first couple of days at the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism at the University of…

    Trackback by Gut Rumbles — February 26, 2005 @ 10:48 am

  5. Hmm… you reckon she also teaches a class in Ward Churchill Art Appreciation?

    Comment by bobthebellbuoy — February 27, 2005 @ 6:18 am

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