Faculty celebrity causes tension on campus
- A tip sheet, authored by Columbia University Teachers College Derald W. Sue, has created widespread conversation on racialized language and free speech in academic spaces, prompting a discussion about how to handle faculty celebrities on campus.
- Public dissemination of research can be flattering, but some worry that media commentators may misinterpret or misrepresent the initial intent of the publications when leveraging them for political commentary.
- Still, the notoriety extends the research reach beyond the few dozen who may read the peer-reviewed journal in which it was originally published, providing scholars a public platform from which to advance the research topic.
High-profile research and faculty members can be a major draw for a university to attract students and research funding. But it does raise questions about what it takes to keep those faculty members, maintain faculty morale and uphold the campus culture surrounding tenure.
Some faculty members have said publicity as an expert breeds jealousy among peers. Students say that access to celebrity professors is fun for a course, but real learning comes from career instructors. For provosts, deans and department chairs who may be considering adding a well-known person to the teaching ranks, the answer lies in knowing the distinct culture of faculty, their expectations on presence and work with students, and how it will impact the public brand of the university in costs, marketing and recruitment.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education What happens when your research is featured on 'Fox and Friends'