A Professor Looks Back on His Career, Part II


Last month, the Martin Center published the first part of English professor Thomas Bertonneau’s farewell to teaching and today we have the second and final part. (The link to the first is included, if you missed it.) Here, Bertonneau focuses on the faculty and is quite unhappy at what has become of the professoriate.

When he began his career, most of his faculty colleagues were leftists, but at least they were highly educated leftists, eager to discuss and debate. That has changed dramatically. Bertonneau writes:

As the Old Guard went into retirement, a cohort of new assistant professors filled the department’s tenure-track lines. The new phase of aggressive affirmative-action recruitment ensured that this replacement-generation of instructors, overwhelmingly female, differed starkly in character from its precursor-generation.

The new hires came to the institution from the politically radicalized graduate programs of the state universities. Whereas the Old Guard corresponded to a literary-generalist or dilettante model—terms that I use in a wholly positive way—the arrivistes brought with them only their narrow specialisms, as encrusted in their conformist political dogmas.

Conformist political dogmas — that’s just what drives most college professors these days. They don’t even bother with what used to be common courtesies. The New Guard is not well educated, but very narcissistic, Bertonneau observes.

With such teachers, higher education has become a scam, charging a load of money while delivering scant educational value.

Never one to pull his punches, Bertonneau concludes, “The state college and university system is more than ever a criminal shuffle and a savage trespass into the heart of civilization.”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.





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