Why Teach?

Writing for The New York TimesPresident Michael S. Roth reviews a new book by University of Virginia Professor Mark Edmundson, called, Why Teach? In Defense of a Real Education. Edumundson is a champion of great teaching, which he says has the power to “make students rethink who they are and whom they might become.” But he bemoan the state of higher education today: “the consumer mentality of students and their families, the efforts of administrators to provide a full spa experience and the rush of faculty to escape from the classroom into esoteric research.”

Roth writes: “Mr. Edmundson worries that too many professors have lost the courage of their own passions, depriving their students of the fire of inspiration. Why teach? Because great professors can ‘crack the shell of convention,’ shining a light on a life’s different prospects. They never aim at conversion, only at what Emerson called ‘aversion’ — bucking conformity so as to discover possibility.”