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rob 
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Re: “Fighting the leftist lean

Gosh,
As the main subject of the piece I find quite a number of interesting comments, so let me just make a few points. First, I would urge people to look at data rather than stereotypes. I've noticed that Republicans typically stereotype Democrats; Democrats typically stereotype the GOP, etc. That is why it is healthy to have a variety of views. Interestingly, the small number of Republicans who do teach at universities tend to have a range of views, while Democrats and Marxists have much more fidelity to the left. That makes sense, since academic Republicans are forced by colleagues to defend their views and may even change their minds, while those on the left do not feel the same pressures---at least not within universities.

Second, we have pretty good data showing that conservative faculty need to publish more books and article to get the same jobs. Academia is a merit system based on publication (alas, not teaching), but it is a merit system that seems to work better for some than others. That is not surprising. The job market for social science and humanities PhDs has been horrid since about 1975, and when hiring committees are faced with several dozen good candidates, they will typically pick people just like themselves. That doesn't mean that professors are evil---merely that they are human. As someone who was once the "diversity official" for my office when I was in government in the Clinton years, I know that women and ethnic minorities often face similar issues in organizations.

Third, I am always amused by the charge that people are "bought." I know that various left wing foundations, think tanks, and universities seem to pay quite a lot more than those on the right. (When was the last time McArthur, Rockefeller, or Ford funded anything right of Nancy Pelosi?) Off the record, I can give some very amusing examples of speakers making $20,000 for a single speech denouncing "profit making." I know two of the leading opponents of market based education. One has a second home in Spain; the other has a lovely second home in Colorado. Turns out that being anti-profit pays really well. I usually speak for free, since I already get a pretty good salary. (Or maybe you get what you pay for.)

Finally, I think Doug Smith did a pretty good job, but one big thing he did get wrong. Proposing to have regular debates on campus is not "shockingly mild." Right now professors on the right are terrified of debating for fear it could harm their standing with colleagues, who might then interfere with their grants, make them spend the next five years teaching freshman at 8:00 a.m., etc. (A conservative I know decided not to hold a debate on the Iraq war, after his department chair warned that it would endanger his tenure decision. That sort of thing is never reported, but it is more common than you may think.) And of course, one may also be denounced as racist, sexist, etc.
Folks on the left, at least the far left, are terrified that after a campus debate they might be denounced as un-American, and have to deal with hundreds of nasty e-mails and criticism from students and legislators, followed by subtle pressure from administrators to stop "making trouble." This is simply not a good situation for either the right or the left, and colleges and universities need to do something about it.
Bob
Robert Anthony Maranto
‎21st Century Chair in Leadership‎
Department of Education Reform
University of Arkansas
‎201 Graduate Education Building
College of Education and Health Professions
Fayetteville, AR 72701‎
‎479-575-3225 (Fax: 3196) or 610-299-3683 (cell); rmaranto@uark.edu
http://www.uaedreform.org/People/maranto.p…

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by rob on 08/26/2010 at 3:00 PM

 

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