Monday, July 07, 2008

It's about Time

Good news from the New York Times: "The ’60s Begin to Fade as Liberal Professors Retire" (via Ann Althouse):

Baby boomers, hired in large numbers during a huge expansion in higher education that continued into the ’70s, are being replaced by younger professors who many of the nearly 50 academics interviewed by The New York Times believe are different from their predecessors — less ideologically polarized and more politically moderate.

Here's hoping Indoctrinate U will be a thing of the past.


Blogger DADvocate said...

That is good news. Just in time for my two youngest who will be going to college 3 and 5 years from now.

4:24 PM, July 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think engineering, business, and medical faculties (i.e., the ones that count) have always been pretty conservative. Unfortunately, the easier majors attracted the less capable applicants for teaching, becuse it's easier to think about ideas, man, than to do differential equations. Unfortunately, the easy nature of these subjects also means they attract lots of students. The Wheel of American Ignorance perpetuates itself.

Stop the wheel! Tell kids to either take challenging majors or go into skilled trades.

4:33 PM, July 07, 2008  
Blogger HMT said...

If there's a leftward slant in education then replacing a portion of the bias with new blood is good. I graduated in 1990 and didn't notice a lean one way or the other, but I was working on engineering. Not a lot of national or international politics in engineering education :)

I just hope we don't see a large backlash and suddenly end up with a strong right bias. Education, ideally, would be ideologically neutral (good luck!) and challenge the students preconceptions.

4:56 PM, July 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe social engineering, socialism, and communism's hopes for a good foothold in the U.S. have been dashed upon the rocks after all.

Let's hope it permeates all the way down to pre-schoool.

5:05 PM, July 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmt - what's wrong with a strong right bias?

5:06 PM, July 07, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


I doubt we'll end up with a big right leaning backlash but it would be great to have more ideas in the classroom that are open to discussion, not cut off because students are afraid to come forward or speak up because the professor or administration leans too far one way or another.

5:07 PM, July 07, 2008  
Blogger HMT said...

br549 - "What's wrong with a strong right bias?"

I stated in my comment my ideal education environment would be neutral. Strong right leaning is not neutral so: bad. Strong left leaning, also bad. I could live with a little left or right, nothing is perfect (engineering education, you see).

5:39 PM, July 07, 2008  
Blogger Danny said...

I saw the article too,and I will believe it when i see it.
For example; the faculty at, say, the Univ of Michigan, tend to select new faculty that believe like them- hence, I find it difficult to believe that they would choose less-radical leftist people to replace their retiring colleagues.
I will wait and see, becasue I dont really trust the article writted by Patricia Cohen in the NYT.

7:50 PM, July 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the article, and the only evidence that the new profs are more moderate are THEIR SELF REPORTIING.

Are we sure they have any idea what "politically moderate" means? Maybe it just means they aren't as shrill because they already all agree with one another.

Anecdotally, when I was a grad student in engineering at UC Berkeley, at one point I explained to a professor in my dept. that I was a conservative in politics. He said "you mean a moderate." "No, a conservative." "you mean that you're conservative compared to this place." "No, I'm a conservative. You know, central planning is the road to Serfdom, no rent control, no national health insurance, anti-abortion, lower taxes, less regulation, voted for GWB, etc." He looked at me like I was from Mars. He told me he didn't believe me.

10:33 PM, July 07, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


Good point, it's like when many liberals say there is no left leaning bias in the media. They are so far left that anything not as radical as they are seems neutral to biased in the other direction.

5:54 AM, July 08, 2008  
Blogger Alex Verneuil said...


The sort of know-nothing stuff you spout is really annoying. If everything other than engineering, business and medical school is so fluffy and easy, how come in your opinion so many people in those other disciplines get it so wrong? As to the brilliance of engineers: historically they've shown to be attracted to socialism and rationalistic planning. Hmm. Why would that be, you think?

How about this: medical school is a lot of learning by heart (John Derbyshire, fwiw, once described medical students as the dumbest on campus). Engineering has a slightly steep entry point, because of the math, but then it's applying the same stuff (take it from my father, who is an engineer). In contrast, the 'fluffier' disciplines have an easier point of entry, but are far more difficult to do well. Very few people can make an argument, i.e. know how to put sentences together and in sequence without violating logic.

People have an awe for mathematics because somehow they realize it when they don't understand what is going on. But most of the same people have no idea they do not understand what is going on when they read a book written in ordinary language. This is a strange and unfortunate aspect of human nature.

6:28 AM, July 08, 2008  
Blogger Mike said...

Stop the wheel! Tell kids to either take challenging majors or go into skilled trades.

Even easier still. Push your state legislature to defund the easiest majors in the state university system altogether. When I started JMU, it had several hundred Political Science majors. It may have been a rumor, but I recall hearing that it was actually nearly 10% of the university at its peak, and JMU has about 15,000 undergrads. The university's solution, to make more students take a challenging degree and make the PoliSci degree less useless? A two pronged assault on PoliSci:

-Only about 100 students could be PoliSci majors after that group graduated
-You had to declare PoliSci your freshman year of college to get into it.

The university also encourage every major worth a damn to put up high entrance criteria like you have to have a 3.0 major GPA to stay in the major after your freshman year. Computer Science automatically failed you out if you got a C on either of your first classes, even if the other one was an A. Worked like a charm.

7:04 AM, July 08, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "answer" doesn't seem to lie on the battlefield itself.

I suppose a centrist point of view, now being shouted by many leftists, is supposed to be some sort of compromise. Obama is moving to the center rather quickly, it appears. It is my opinion he is doing so only to gather votes necessary to secure the Presidency. I do not believe he buys into it.

Just as Jimmy Carter's true colors have been washed in oxy clean since he became President and blew huge holes in our economy, I expect Obama to experience the same. Should he win, he will be a one term President. Centrists and appeasers need only read the book about giving a mouse a cookie.

7:11 AM, July 08, 2008  
Blogger Joe said...

The real answer is to stop the brainwashing bullshit that college is actually worth what you pay for it. It isn't. In general it's a giant waste of money. Even medical and law programs are stupid--why require four years undergraduate work?

Universities are a cartel dominated by people who can't. Seriously, the biggest eye opening experience at college was realizing I was much smarter than most of my teachers. The exception being almost exclusively in the technical/science/engineering fields.

4:01 PM, July 08, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Scottish penned: "I think engineering, business, and medical faculties (i.e., the ones that count) have always been pretty conservative."

I agree, but a funny thing happened today. I was filling out a safety survey from my daughter at her pediatrician. As part of the surveyit asked if hers was a "gun free house." I filled in the NO response and added "and it never will be."

This caused the nurse practioner a little distress, but she recovered.


7:47 PM, July 08, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


Good for you!

5:39 AM, July 09, 2008  
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6:12 AM, May 20, 2009  
Blogger Serket said...

I am hopeful that as fewer people remember the radical views of the 1960s, that we will become more practical.

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11:32 PM, August 04, 2009  

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