A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education reported on a survey of more than 22,500 U.S. professors which asked, among other things, what the professors’ goals were in terms of classroom instruction. The survey was conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA.
The survey contains reams of data, but the Chronicle article focussed on the percentage of professors who thought it was important to teach undergraduates “the classic works of Western Civilization” as compared to the percentage who thought it was important to teach them “to become agents of social change.”
I am purposefully avoiding indicating which of these two options received more support by the professors, because I’d like our readers to chime in free of external bias (see the poll below). I realize these two options are neither dichotomous – in the sense of being opposites – nor mutually exclusive, but your responses will be interesting nevertheless.
The Chronicle article pondered whether how a person responded is indicative of his or her political leanings – is a proclivity towards the “classics” a more conservative posture compared to the liberal-tinged position of supporting social change?
In the article, Sylvia Hurtado, a professor of education at UCLA, had this to say: “The notion of a liberal education as a set of essential intellectual skills is in transition. … It’s also about social and personal responsibility, thinking about one’s role in society, and creating change.”
Here’s the poll. I encourage you to vote, and to share your thoughts.