„What’s the Point of a Professor?“

The New York Times online pubished an opinion piece by Mark Bauerlein, Professor of English Literature at Emory University in Atlanta, on May 9, 2015, entitled „What’s the Point of a Professor?“

In it Bauerlein – clearly an American of German descent – writes: „In 1960, only 15 percent of grades were in the A range, but now the rate is 43 percent, making A the most common grade by far.“

The auther further states that faculty members’ attitudes are kindly, too. In one national survey, 61 percent of students said that professors frequently treated them „like a colleague/peer,“ while only 8 percent heard frequent „negative feedback about their academic work.“ 

According to the survey more than half leave the graduation ceremony believing that they are „well prepared“ in speaking, writing, critical thinking and decision-making.“

„You can’t become a moral authority“, writes Bauerlein, „if you rarely challenge students in class and engage them beyond it. If we professors do not do that, the course is not an induction of eager minds into an enlarging vision. When it comes to students, we shall have only one authority: the grades we give. We become not a fearsome mind or a moral light, a role model or inspiration. We become accreditors.“