Irreverent, but possibly the only place I could be without getting the stink eye (and potentially the boot) from the higher-ups. It’s hard to voice an opinion and have it heard when things seem so set in stone. The program appears to be ruled with an iron fist by men older than dinosaurs, who predictably need help with the laptop whenever they decide to brave The PowerPoint.
Don’t get me wrong – these are clever, respected men. Living legends, in fact. They hold monumental titles and countless letters behind their names. They are an inspiration to students and worshipped by all in their field of study. So worshipped, that they still have the largest offices with the plushest chairs after 20 plus years of retirement. They are there for the consultation of current professors, lest their beloved program crumbles without the keen oversight.
So what chance does an incoming, young professor have when these old-timers won’t let go? What roles should these new people play, aside from filling in on menial tasks unwanted by everyone else?
The saying “don’t fix what isn’t broken” has much value. But at the same time, should fresh, potentially more relevant ideas be implemented only after the old ones…die out? I may be exaggerating, but I do think the power differential, and the new faculty’s struggle to establish his or her place in the program, are real. Perhaps more importantly, stubbornly sticking with traditional may set an unwelcoming and exclusionary tone.
The appeal of a small, sleepy college town may be non-existent for many already. Throw in additional hurdles for the incoming, and the program may find itself one step closer to the end of a legacy.