October 17, 2008

"Professors Found to Keep Political Views Quiet, but Students Detect Them."

Now, there's an article I'd love to talk about, on one of my favorite subjects, but it's in The Chronicle of Higher Education, and you need to pay to see it. How tedious of them not to make it available! How annoyingly irrelevant they've made themselves! If they care about education so much, let us read the articles.

Actually, do we really need that article? It looks like they interviewed a bunch of students. So, students and former students: Talk about whether your teachers refrained from the overt expression of political views and, if they did, whether you were able to detect the teachers' politics anyway.

And let me tag on an extra subject, the pedagogical choice to lay your cards on the table.

This is something some law professors do. Many of us believe that judicial decisions are infused with politics, that judges have a political ideology that affects the way cases are decided. We may think that is wrong and, to that end, want students to detect ideology in the cases (which are written in a style that is intended to look neutral). Or we may think it is the way -- whether we like it or not -- the human mind works, and therefore that it's something a sophisticated reader needs to learn how to perceive.

Either way, law professors might want to concede that our politics may or will affect anything we say on the subject, and, since we are trying to reveal things about judges, we shouldn't hide things about ourselves. With this thinking, some law professors like to confess their political ideology. Presumably, this is done briefly, with assurances that the teacher will strive to cover the full range of thinking on the subject and to grade the exams with rigorous fairness.

So would you rather your teachers shut up about their political views and left you guessing or even believing that the teaching is neutral? Or would you rather your teachers -- when teaching subjects affected by politics -- made a brief confession of their viewpoint? When your teachers don't confess, can you tell for sure what the political views are or do you just muse about it?

73 comments:

Oligonicella said...

I want them to not be able to alter a students grades because the student doesn't conform to their political/religious beliefs.

MadisonMan said...

Why do you want professors to be able to alter grades?

I'm not sure if my students can tell my political leanings. I hope they can tell I'm extremely cynical about the whole thing.

MadisonMan said...

I should add -- I have a student this year for whom english is definitely a second language. As far as I can tell this student knows the material cold, but testing is very difficult. Should I bump up the grade based on my intuition that the student knows more than the student can translate? Should I be able to alter grades for that reason?

AllenS said...

Once your students find out that you are a liberal, they will at least know how to answer any questions that you have, so that they don't fail, because they are conservative. Please tell your students about cruel neutrality, then they will know what happened to their grades shall they fail...cruel grade neutrality.

bleeper said...

It is important to know whether the professor is a Trotskyite or leaning more towards Lenin. That's about the entire gamut of the political spectrum in schools these days. Shining Path? Maoism? All good. You get an A.

Skyler said...

I'd say that you can't teach law without acknowleging the impact of political ideology.

It's especially important to call it to the students' attention when the opinion is written in a way to attempt to mask political ideology and the political issues are too remote in time to be easily caught by students today.

In my experience, only one professor has been out of line with her politics, but most of us thought she was not quite stable. She is only teaching at the university because of a court injunction (so the story is told) and recently some students waged a successful campaign to warn the student body not to sign up for her classes.

All the others have had varying political ideologies that are displayed to greater or lesser degrees, but I've never detected from them any bias in grading or treatment.

GOPJuliana said...

I would rather a proffessor make a "brief confession of their viewpoint" than attempt to cling to this idea that it is possible to teach a variety of subjects with no bias. 90% of the professors I had for law/poli sci classes had a detectable political leaning.

I had a women's studies professor give a long talk about how she was "100% neutral" on American politics because she was from Denmark. Never mind that she had lived in the U.S. for 30 years and spent the rest of the semester talking about how Cuba was a governmental utopia...

I don't think expressing political party affiliation is necessary, esp. since many people don't want to be pigeonholed and wont claim a party even if they vote that way most of the time. But it would be nice to see professors expressing their contested opinions as just that-- opinions-- and not treating them as fact. Up-front expression of the proffessor political leanings would help students weed out the "opinion" from the learning material, even when the proffessor cannot or will not.

It's called critical thinking, kids.

Richard Fagin said...

A few of my law professors were open about their political views. It didn't seem to hurt the class any, and I didn't find any particular evidence that the professors' political views affected how they preceived the students' exam answers.

My contracts professor spent an entire class ripping the Fifth Circuit a new one after the Hopwood decision was released. I found his politics repulsive but we were treated to superb, even gifted oratory and we would have missed out on that if professors were required to keep their personal views to themselves.

Personal views are what make people who they are. Living in the real world means sometines (often?) having to persuade people that disagree with you, even vehemently. Get over it. Pat yourself on the back for occasionally making the sale to someone who seems like your worst enemy. Know that plenty of times you won't make the sale, even to those you think are your friends. Keep going.

Triangle Man said...

bleeper, You have forgotten academics like Kevin Barret. Since his brief stint in Madison teaching about the great 9/11 conspiracy, he is now running for Congress as a libertarian.

rightwingprof said...

Students have told me many times that they knew I was a conservative because I never discussed politics with them.

Think about that.

Christy said...

Knowing their passions, I had a couple of teachers I could conveniently divert for the entire class when I hadn't prepared. But that was high school. You elite professors never get diverted, I'm sure.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

College is different than High School and political science classes (including some law courses) are different than core skill classes such as English, Literature, Chemistry, History, Geology, Math etc.

When in a class where the topic of politics comes up it would be expected that the discussion be appropriate. And there are plenty of appropriate times to have political DISCUSSIONS. Not lectures where the teacher is cramming their politics down the student's throats.....discussions.

If the teacher wants to disclose that they are a Republican, Democrat, Green Party fine. HOWEVER, the content of the course should be neutral and balanced.

Having attended college during the Vietnam era, I still recall the uncomfortable situations and the outrage I felt while TRAPPED in an Anthropology course that I needed to take, and being harangued by an anti-war hippie dippy type of teacher. Instead of teaching us the subject matter, which was about the fossils, bones, classifying and typology and other scientific issues. We got spittle flecked diatribes on baby murdering military, how evil our government is and so on. My fiancé was in the service at that time and I had a lot of friends who had been drafted, and I was outraged by the teacher.

Another course on Mediaeval History. Same thing. All about the war. We learned NOTHING except to keep our mouths shut.

What a colossal waste of time.

A friend, a few years ago, had her 3rd grade daughter come home very upset and repeated what the teacher was saying that Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to be stealing money from the schools and that they would be able to have pencils or paints anymore. Seriously???? In 3rd grade??? Is this what teachers are supposed to be doing? Political campaigning and brainwashing in 3rd grade. Just STFU about your politics and teach the kids how to read and do math.

Keep your political opinions to your self and if the course does require discussions about politics....keep it neutral.

Simon said...

I think that teachers are generally (or should be) intelligent people, and intelligent people have a political viewpoint. But it doesn't follow that every teacher has a political viewpoint that can be reduced to "a brief confession of their viewpoint"; while Prof. Chemerinsky (Dean Chemerinsky now, I suppose) could do exactly that -- "I'm a liberal, across the board. Next question?" -- what would you do with, say, Michael Paulson? Could Prof. Althouse reduce her worldview to a "brief confession of viewpoint" (which, by the way, is a terrific blogname)? To call her a liberal, or a moderate, or a pragmatist, or even an individualist seems hopelessly reductive.

The best solution is for teachers to blog. That way, students who want to can take the time to get to know and understand their teacher's viewpoint, and those who don't can't whine that it's been hidden from them.

Pogo said...

"Professors Found to Keep Political Views Quiet, but Students Detect Them."

Ha ha ha.
Fookin' hilarious.

"Keep political views quiet"??? What do you suppose that means, if anything?

Since 99.9% of university and high school teachers are liberal, it would take a really really stupid student not to know what the teacher's politics were. That is, a student who said they didn't know or couldn't detect it was also liberal.

The only difference is in the brand of leftism, not whether they are left or right. It's not exactly a coin with two sides you're flipping; more like 49 two-headed coins, and one regular one.

David said...

Do they cloak their opinions for pedagogical or political concerns? That is, do they do it because they think it helps their students, or because it helps them steer clear of career-threatening controversy?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

errr. I mean Would NOT be able to have pencils or paints anymore

SteveR said...

As general rule, I'd rather not know anyone's political leanings, "shut up and sing" although in the teaching of law its a bit more difficult to ignore.

As in life, smart students learn to assume certain things and avoid unnecessary confrontations. You have to pick your battles, and a college classroom, for most, is a means to an end.

Trooper York said...

I personally think teachers are overpaid whiners and professors are worst than most. Teachers are really obsolete. All you need is a computer and electrodes attached to the nipples of students who will receive an electric shock if they answer the questions incorrectly. Simple.

knox said...

I had one teacher who blatantly advocated for Clinton, back in '92. I agreed with him at the time, of course, so I had no problem with it. I think he would probably have treated a conservative student fairly, he was a decent guy--though I can't imagine a conservative surviving that class without pulling his hair out: "Modern Social Problems."

In a religion class, we spent a week on "Was Jesus a Marxist?" Naturally.

Then I had a "Contemporary American History" class where my teacher was like a 25-year old from 1970 zapped with a time machine directly into my classroom. I thought hippies were kind of cool back then, but even I thought she was an idiot. All our textbooks were by Todd Gitlin and the like. Oh yeah, she had us read "Generation X" too.

Most of my other profs were pretty neutral.

MadisonMan said...

rightwingprof, can I ask where you teach? Earth & Mineral Sciences? Liberal Arts?

When I was at your institution, I don't think I knew the leanings of any of my professors. That was the beauty of learning science -- politics could be ignored. (Not sure how true that is today).

El Presidente said...

Isn't a global solution to american colonialism more important than learning about animals that have been dead for millions of years?

Imagine if you had a PhD in something trivial while such important events were taking place in the world.

MadisonMan said...

Oh, don't answer that. I'll just guess Smeal.

Trooper York said...

I think there should be term limits for professors just like politicians.

J said...

"Should I bump up the grade based on my intuition that the student knows more than the student can translate?"

No, you should configure the test to accurately measure the student's knowledge.

"I had a women's studies professor give a long talk about how she was "100% neutral" on American politics because she was from Denmark"

This is the problem with having a professor "confess" their political slant. It's entirely possible that your FS professor sincerely believes she is neutral on American politics and is merely wrong, not dishonest.

" her 3rd grade daughter come home very upset and repeated what the teacher was saying that Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to be stealing money from the schools"

This is an entirely different matter from college professors. When your child is legally compelled to be present in the classroom, the teacher in that classroom has absolutely no free speech rights whatsoever, and shouldn't be discussing anything not pertinent to the curriculum.

Trooper York said...

They should have to get a real job in the real world for a while. You know run a business. Or maybe be a carpenter or lay carpet or dare I say it, be a plumber.

Then what they have to say might be worth listening too instead of the ludicrous pap they smear on unsuspecting undergraduates.

Pogo said...

Geez Louise, don't they teach basic math or stats anymore?.

Test questions
#25 Given:
* that 99.5% of teachers are liberal
* that outside of engineering or computer science, 100% of teachers are liberal
* there are 550 teachers in your University;
What is the likelihood your Humanities teacher is a liberal?

a) 100%
b) 99%
c) 50%
d) I haven't any idea.

Answer: a)

Answer d) results in immediate failure.

Henry said...

I studied art at a conservative undergraduate institution, then at a typical east-coast graduate institution.

In both places my professors were not explicitely political. My professors in graduate school were far more liberal than those at my undergraduate, but the liberalism of the latter stood out in contrast with the overall conservatism of the school. Their liberalism actually mattered.

Perhaps the reason my graduate experience did not seem politically charged was because of the era. This was in the late 80s/early 90s. The culture war was still politically inchoate. Act Up, for example, seemed outraged by ALL politicians -- the entire establishment. Unlike today's Moveon or Kos, they hadn't transformed their agitation into a permanent political campaign.

So, while transgressive art was a big deal, there were few students or professors creative enough to turn Joel Peter Witkin's photographs or the writings of Georges Bataille in a party statement.

AJ Lynch said...

GOPJuliana said:

"I had a women's studies professor give a long talk about how she was "100% neutral" on American politics because she was from Denmark. Never mind that she had lived in the U.S. for 30 years and spent the rest of the semester talking about how Cuba was a governmental utopia... "

Too funny thanks for the laugh!

And so far, Pogo and Trooper have the best ideas on the thread.

Go Phils - Beat Terry Francona and The Red Sox!

Kirby Olson said...

I teach the liberal arts in a college but I have gone conservative, mostly as a reaction to the bizarre Marxism of so many of my colleagues. Even the very notion of private property seems abhorrent to so many of them at least in principle. But I'm in a small college, where diversity of ideas is still more apparent. In our faculty of 8 there are two conservatives, and six liberals.

We're outnumbered, but all of us get along fairly well.

The business department has a majority of conservatives.

The local police force is solidly Republican.

Some people like Michael Berube have argued that "liberal arts" means that you have to be a liberal to teach it.

That's so crazy.

Wordsworth wasn't liberal, at least not in the sense that Berube meant.

Conservatives continue to exist in the liberal arts in academia but they are largely sidelined by the very vocal and angry Marxists.

But I'm not sure what effect it has on students. Most of them are formed by their families and by their faiths. They come in, do what it takes to get through, and move on. If anything, they are annoyed by the liberals grandstanding on topics.

I tell them I used to be a liberal, but am not any longer.

Or rather, I'm a classical liberal, after Locke.

Some of them hate me but no one drops the class. It makes for livelier discussions. I assume that most young people will be very liberal.

They don't have any experience of life yet and are full of idealism.

That's fine, and normal.

My job isn't to change anybody's viewpoint, but just to show the variety of viewpoints and to teach the conflicts, at least as I see it. This prepares them to take part in the greater conversation, which is what school should do.

Simon said...

J said...
"[T]he problem with having a professor 'confess' their political slant [is that it assumes the professor knows they're slanted]. It's entirely possible that your FS professor sincerely believes she is neutral on American politics and is merely wrong, not dishonest."

That calls to mind Clive Crook's recent article. He was talking specifically about the media, but I think it's still true as a general proposition that whereas conservatives know they are conservatives, many liberals believe that they are neutral - that they are independents who just look dispassionately at events and candidates and reach a sensible, practical, pragmatic result.

A telltale sign - this isn't guaranteed by any means - of someone who doesn't know enough to know that their worldview is a worldview, that they have political views, is that they talk about everything in terms of the sainted "common sense." Common sense is a construct; it rests on assumptions that seem too obvious to be challenged or (even worse) have never been articulated by the person. A common sense intuition is fine when the only assumptions included are genuinely widely-held in a society at a broad level of abstraction (for example, it's "common sense" that martial law is bad because in America the presumption in favor of liberty and democratic control of government is almost universally shared in a general sense). It becomes problematic when a person isn't aware of the assumptions that underlie what they're saying, and so a few conservatives and a vast number of liberals, people who have never seriously examined what they believe, really (and utterly falsely) believe that their views are just "common sense."

MadisonMan said...

They should have to get a real job in the real world for a while.

The tech college where I teach has that requirement for part-timers. You have to have a job in the field you are teaching. That might not be a job in the real world -- it wasn't for me, I don't think -- but it is a different, non-teaching job.

MadisonMan said...

pogo, any humanities professor that I've ever met -- well, almost all of them -- wouldn't be able to do the statistics in your question, and they'd all answer (d).

Palladian said...

"Now, there's an article I'd love to talk about, on one of my favorite subjects, but it's in The Chronicle of Higher Education, and you need to pay to see it. How tedious of them not to make it available! How annoyingly irrelevant they've made themselves! If they care about education so much, let us read the articles."

They're not The Chronicle of Education, they're The Chronicle of Higher Education and, as we all know, Higher Education is only for those who can afford to pay the price.

Freder Frederson said...

that outside of engineering or computer science, 100% of teachers are liberal

Even the business and economics departments are full of liberals? How about medical school faculties?

And from a survey of legal bloggers, I would say that law school faculty has a good number of conservatives hiding in plain view (and yes I consider libertarians conservative).

Of course you probably consider Ann liberal.

Freder Frederson said...

In my undergraduate university (a public one in Illinois) the poli-sci department was decidedly conservative while the history department had a reputation (well-earned) for being outrageously Marxist.

Pogo said...

"the poli-sci department was decidedly conservative "

This means they were not Marxists but democratic socialists, right?

Trooper York said...

"The tech college where I teach has that requirement for part-timers. You have to have a job in the field you are teaching. That might not be a job in the real world -- it wasn't for me, I don't think -- but it is a different, non-teaching job."

That's exactly right. You know I would have less of a problem with an ultra-liberal Legal aide type guy teaching the law because is actually in the trenches doing it than some academic puke. And not someone from a white shoe firm. Get people who write contracts and go to real estate closings and chase ambulances. Otherwise how will these slimy snakes learn how to slither?

Roman said...

Things are mixed at Tennessee Law. With only a few exceptions, most of the faculty doesn't directly express a political view. I had to find out from the Federalist Society staff who the conservative/libertarian professors are (we have three-one of whom is a registered Republican). And everyone in school knows the couple of overtly liberal professors.
Interesting things can happen, though. I had a class with a liberal professor who is heavily involved in researching Estes Kefauver. However, when he picked up on my conservative leanings, he actually recommended to me a property rights book about which to write my book report. I got 100%. On the other hand, on my Con Law final, one of the questions asked us to step into the shoes of a Supreme Court Justice. I chose Scalia; got a 3.1 (roughly .2 below the mean).
Basically, I don't think it matters what a professor's policital leanings are or if they broadcast them to the entire school. What matters is how they support their students. Liberal or conservative, my favorite teachers have always been those who took stock in me.

Seven Machos said...

I still don't really know the politics of my favorite professor. I think that's mostly because of depth. Really good professors think about their subjects at a level far, far beyond ephemeral politics.

That said, the best professors who cannot reach that standard are always the one who will play devil's advocate no matter what you say. The point is to get you to think well, not believe right.

Lorelei Leigh said...

I was at an undergraduate university and in a program where none of the professors were shy about their political beliefs, and all of them were of the left. Mostly, it didn't bother me, though after 9/11 that changed a bit. Some of the things that were said in some of my classes made my blood boil, all the more so because they were completely irrelevant to the subject being discussed.

Actually, my first class back after 9/11 (I went to school in NYC) wasn't bad at all. We had a good discussion about it and the prof didn't try to inject her personal beliefs into it too much, though you could certainly tell how she felt.

Law school was a bit better, actually. One of my favorite profs was of conservative persuasion. We all heard horror stories about how awful his bias was, but I actually found his classroom presentation to be balanced. And lest you think I'm partial because I lean to the right, my quite liberal friend felt exactly the same way about him.

Lorelei Leigh said...

One thing to add to my previous comment...

My law school was a Catholic school, which certainly helped the political persuasions of the professors to be more evenly distributed.

Also, I don't think I could pinpoint the political beliefs of most of my professors, either because it never came up or their views were so complex as to defy categorization.

CarmelaMotto said...

Sometimes it's not what they say, but the course materials.

I had a history class on warfare and we had to read a lot of Barbara Ehrenreich! Barbara thinks the average soldier is either a dupe, or Timothy McVeigh.

Of course, you may not know their politics, but you meet themg in the professor's office and he has a NADER for PRESIDENT sign on his wall.

My favorite biased book used as the foundation of a class at my school? Jihad vs. McWorld. I wasn't wasting my money on that class, but it was popular.

Those that didn't go off on their ideas for a better world, showed bias in their coursework.

Seven Machos said...

A very good point about the texts. In my experience, these crazy leftist professors justify making you read Franz Fanon and Orientalism and Marx and Engels by saying that their class itself offers corrective balance. But every other professor feels the same way. So, where's the balance?

Donn said...

Sometimes it's not what they say, but the course materials.

Exactly, I had a English Prof who was openly lesbian, and she assigned lots of pro-gay material. I liked her as a teacher, and took two classes from her, but I knew it was best to keep some of my ideas to myself.

I have seen Instructors at a local Community College that are openly hostile to Christians, however. One, is a Poli Sci teacher.

Once, my oldest daughter was talking to her former Philosophy Instructor at this same college. The teacher is/was very well known in the "deep ecology" movement. While they were talking, a Biology Instructor walked up and joined the conversation. The Philosophy prof introduced my daughter as "the most interesting Christian he had ever met." The Biology dude said, "George, if she is still a Christian after taking your class, you failed to do your job."

Bissage said...

Nearly all of my law professors talked every now and then about the ulterior motives beneath the surface of the law. Politics was one among others.

Only one of my professors spoke candidly in terms of “liberal” and “conservative.” I had her for first year Con Law. She also taught a “Women and the Law” course and a “Family Law” seminar. She volunteered to the class that her academic credentials were not up to snuff but that she got tenure because she was a woman and because the school wanted her husband that badly.

(Personally, I liked her, although I didn’t want to hear any of that political stuff. I was there paying my life savings so I could learn a trade like carpentry or plumbing or something).

I was constantly amazed by how much open hostility she got from a hand full of . . . wait for it . . . male students.

And they didn’t hate her because she talked politics. They hated her because of the substance of her politics. (Okay, sure, she was on the “left”).

I dismissed those excitable young men as spoiled, disrespectful kooks destined to succeed in life far more than me.

Trooper York said...

And that's why you are wonderful dude.

Simon said...

Bissage said...
"Nearly all of my law professors talked every now and then about the ulterior motives beneath the surface of the law. Politics was one among others."

And quite aside from the content of the politics, just saying that means that nearly all of your law professors took a position in the legal realist - legal process - formalist continuum. And isn't that a political act, too? The claim that raw politics underlies legal decisionmaking is itself a political position, albeit a common one (in that sense we're all realists now, because it became a self-fulfilling prophecy: the realists claimed that judicial decisionmaking was political, we put realist liberals on the courts, they made judicial decisions based on politics, so now we can't possibly claim that judicial decisionmaking - at least by many judges - isn't based on politics! It's a very neat circle).

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Professors Found to Keep Political Views Quiet, but Students Detect Them

Just like those nasty stinky silent farts?

Chip Ahoy said...

You can tell sort of, a little bit, perhaps, possibly tell a scōōch by their choice of text. a Political Science class text opens with a chapter on Marx. A philosophy text opens with a chapter on Marx. A psychology text opens with a chapter on Marx. An English comp text opens with a chapter on Marx. A Spanish class text opens with a chapter on Marx. A biology text opens with chapter on Marx. An algebra class text opens with a chapter on Marx. Then at last, always so quick on the uptake, the student begins to form an incipient idea that they're starting to recognize a pattern.

Seven Machos said...

Chip -- Don't forget Engels. He shows up in a lot of engineering coursework because of his wonderful treatise on Marxist bridge construction.

Freder Frederson said...

This means they were not Marxists but democratic socialists, right?

No, mostly real-politick republicans in the mold of Kissinger. Hard-core Republican cold warriors. They would team teach multi-disciplinary courses with the history profs where they practically reenacted the cold war.

lwillis said...

My son reported that at his first day of Ceramics class at the U of MN, the prof asked for a show of hands of McCain supporters.

Not sure how that applied to Ceramics.

MadisonMan said...

Just like those nasty stinky silent farts?

There is really no worse a feeling while teaching than a feeling of gastrointestinal distress. That's probably true of many vocations however.

So I have to watch my diet on days I teach.

madawaskan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oligonicella said...

madisonman -

If you were referring to me at 9:05, you missed the word not.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

There is really no worse a feeling while teaching than a feeling of gastrointestinal distress. That's probably true of many vocations however.


LOL MM. Truly....Just like trying to explain the mechanics of the bond market and the inverse relationship on the client's bond prices with the direction of the interest rate markets and the difference of that effect on long versus short bonds......when suddenly... onset of that feeling of gastrointestinal distress.

Titusbackandforgetmypassword said...

If I was a teacher I would be very apolitical. I wouldn't want them to know which way I bend. And don't say bend over bitches.

I would want it to be very mysterious and exotic.

I would want them all to want to fuck me not know my political stripes.

Simon said...

lwillis said...
"My son reported that at his first day of Ceramics class at the U of MN, the prof asked for a show of hands of McCain supporters. Not sure how that applied to Ceramics."

How can he mark them down if he doesn't know which ones deserve to be?

madawaskan said...

Titus-

Here's a question for you:

What subject would get you the most comers?

Would up your odds?

reader_iam said...

iWillis: I'm curious. How old and in what year is your son? And did he challenge the professor? ("Challenge" doesn't have to be hostile, of course.)

Titusbackandforgetmypassword said...

I have been in business most of my life and that is probably what I know most about so I guess some kind of business class.

HR/Business. Something like organizational development, industrial psychology, acquisitions/mergers.

I was a Psyh undergrad.

madawaskan said...

Mergers?

I bet you are creative at that...

I'm thinking the psych classes would be a more target rich environment.

Titusbackandforgetmypassword said...

Business people are usually hotter than Psych people.

Hot trumps everything.

Yes, most of them are probably straight but you know the old saying...The difference between a straight guy and a gay guy is a 6 pack of beer..ba da ba.

madawaskan said...

Business guys are hotter?

What is it the sashay?

Anways I think in French Canada it'll cost you a case of twenty four-just because their tolerance is higher....

for alcohol that is.

madawaskan said...

So Americans guys are cheaper-you're probably right about that.

lwillis said...

reader_iam said...

lWillis: I'm curious. How old and in what year is your son? And did he challenge the professor?


He is a freshman, in his first semester,18 at the time, and indicated he was "undecided."

blake said...

Or we may think it is the way...the human mind works.

If it is the way the human mind works, there is no chance of a fair grade.

There is only the possibility of fooling the teacher (unless you exactly agree with that teacher) and the teacher seeing through the deception.

One would think there are materials to be taught and histories to be drawn on, and if it's necessary to assume a particular political stance, it should be done so with awareness.

The problem with some is that they are fully and completely indoctrinated to the point where objective reality has no meaning except to enforce that point of view.

That should be detected and eliminated.

Anthony said...

My B.S. was in Civil Engineering, from U.C. Berkeley, but I took a lot of humanities courses.

The most egregiously political profs were one physics prof who always had some dumb lefty thing to say vaguely related to physics, and a "Legal Studies" prof who graded people who agreed with him a little better than those who disagreed with him; he was also a lefty. ("Legal Studies" was undergrad-level legal philosophy stuff.)

The other "Legal Studies" prof was John Noonan, who was not only on the 9th Circuit, but was mentioned as a possible candidate for Reagan to appoint to the Supreme Court while I was in his class. (Reagan ended up appointing Scalia instead.) It was fairly obvious he was conservative, but not blatantly so; as I recall, his grading was more on whether you understood the cases he discussed.

One Civil Engineering professor was (is) an old-fashioned non-leftist liberal, but I found that out because the student newspaper found him a handy source for quotations. In class, he was all about mechanics of solids. Another two would occasionally mention that the government should spend more on infrastructure, but didn't express other political opinions in class. (One of those two was also a non-leftist liberal, as I found out talking to him after the semester. He also didn't think much of Jane Jacobs.)

Martin Jay is a Marxist, and it was pretty obvious from his class lecture. But his grading was, as far as I could tell, pretty fair. He graded everyone harshly, whether they agreed with him or not.

blake said...

I should add, I suppose, that middle C is middle C, not someone thinks middle C should be. (Though we can get into historical discussions of where it's been, that don't make the band sound good.)

GOPJuliana said...

"Some people like Michael Berube have argued that "liberal arts" means that you have to be a liberal to teach it."

My dad recently interviewed for an administrator position at a small private college and was asked how someone with his conservative beliefs (gleaned from his resume) could work at a "Liberal Arts" institution.

On the whole, law profs seem to be a little better at keeping politics under wraps. I did have one law prof. who covered her clotheswith liberal political buttons. She once informed us that she would not be in class the next week because she was picking her boyfriend up from Leavenworth. Apparently he had been arrested while protesting/breaking into a National Guard Armoury.

Needless to say, I was not too worried about her biases because they were:

1: Out in the open
2. She was obviously crrraaaazzzzyyy :)

Seven Machos said...

Not surprising that engineers and architects don't like Jane Jacobs. They don't give a shit whether you can take a walk. or enjoy the neighborhood, or get a loaf of bread in an enjoyable way. Steel and glass, baby. Steel and glass.

AJ Lynch said...

I was pretty good in econ in college and let a high school buddy look over my shoulder when we had exams.

He also played pickup b-ball games with the professor. I got a B and my buddy got an A. Go figure.

James said...

I'm pretty proud of the fact that as a professor, my students know a lot about me - life story, favorite football team, what TV shows I watch, that my sister liked unicorns when we were kids, etc, but that I know that none of them could say with even the slightest bit of confidence what my political proclivities are. (Although "political proclivities" is fun to say.)