Kids Today: A Response to Mark Bauerlein (from “Dean Dad”)

Mark Bauerlein’s essay “What’s the Point of a Professor?” muses on how the professional pressure on professors affects their availablity to students, especially when those students come to college mostly for job training (rather than a character-building exposure to a world of ideas). In his response, “Dean Dad” points out the impact of higher education’s growing reliance on an army of part-time adjunct instructors (who are hired on a class-by-class basis). It is very hard for students to bond with their instructors — or instructors to bond with their institutions — if the instructor has gets no job security, no benefits, no office, and no respect.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 2.19.54 PMTolstoy once claimed that there are really only two stories, and we keep telling each of them over and over again: a stranger comes to town, and a hero goes on a quest.  In higher education, we live those two stories continuously.  Every semester, a new crop of strangers come to town.  And every semester, we set a new group of heroes off on their respective quests. That’s our job.  It’s what we do.  It’s about the students. It’s not about the faculty. —  “Dean Dad,” — Confessions of a Community College Dean