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Professors 'too good' to teach undergrads

(Shanghai Daily)

15:34, April 26, 2012

A recent circular from the Ministry of Education states that "giving lessons to undergraduates should be made a prerequisite for hiring professors," People's Daily reported on Monday.

In other words, those scholars who deem it beneath their dignity to give instructions to undergraduates should no longer be credited with professorships.

There are many reasons why a professor should teach undergraduates.

A face-to-face encounter with an established scholar could benefit the students professionally.

A professor's scholarship and his or her in-depth understanding of a field of study could enormously facilitate a student's initiation into an academic field.

More important, a true master's personality, integrity and moral attributes could have a kind of spiritual influence on students, something that is invisible yet decisively far-reaching.

The essence of education is to bring up, to inspire, and to lead.

In recent years, under the influence of a virtually superstitious belief in the importance academic papers and research projects, colleges and universities are giving various incentives to research, almost certainly at the expense of basic teaching, which is the primary role of university.

This tendency is aggravated by the fact that teaching undergraduates, while time-consuming and physically demanding, is generally under paid, which makes it doubly unappealing to professors. The adverse effects of this practice will tell soon enough, since it helps create more scholarly bubbles and contributes to philistinism in universities.

As more PhD holders prostrate themselves before the false gods of academic papers and research projects, the very meaning of being a teacher and professor becomes distorted.


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