Improve academic writing to increase public profile
- According to a new white paper from the Chronicle of Higher Education, academic writers fall prey to two distinct traps — the need to communicate information in a comprehensive way and the need to ensure that they are viewed as experts on the subject about which they are writing.
- In balancing the field of study with the professional obligations to publish and be recognized as a thought leader, academic writers tend to emphasize "self-presentation" as a way to keep pace with or surpass peers.
- The culture that continues to promote lengthy, convoluted academic writing has made scholarly writing a punch line within pop cultural depictions of the industry.
Complex writing may be usual practice within the academy, but it compromises the ability for professors to gain footing as cross-cultural figures in media. As schools race to make publications, research and faculty intellect a part of institutional branding and marketing, the ability for professors to be notable and quotable becomes a key factor in bringing the academic product to a larger market.
Princeton Professor Emeritus Toni Morrison is a perfect example of how academics and culture meet to generate public interest. The announcement of Morrison's papers being housed in the school's permanent collection earned national academic and cultural coverage — not just because of her standing as an acclaimed author, but also because of her faculty connection to Princeton itself and the interest and clarity in some of her original works.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education Why academic writing stinks...and how to fix it