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November 16, 1966 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1966-11-16

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Role of US Professor Changes

By The Associated Press
EDITOR'S NOTE. The wails of
academe have tumbled. Today, there
are more professors than plumb-
ers, and the classroom is the world.
Here ;a' distinguished writer and
teacher, Morton professor of Amer-
ican history at the University of
Chicago, illumines the meaning of
the revolution on campus.
More and more frequently now-
adays we read of a professor who
supports the Viet Cong, of a pro-
fessor who urges students to try
LSD, of a professor who is not op-
possed to pre-marital sexual rela-
Every week we read or hear on
the air of some professor an-
nouncing an unpopular or out-
landish view. What is the explana-
tion? Are our professors today
more courageous than they used
to be? Or simply more dis-
Something new and important
has been happening to our profes-
sors and to their connections with
the community. But it is not what
most people think. Those who say
this proves an increasing antagon-
ism of professors to the communi-
ty are quite wrong. The increas-
ingly audible voices of our pro-
fessors are symptoms of other;
9 wider and deeper trends in Ameri-
can life.
Vast Constituency
The spectacular new fact, which
few have noticed, is that in the
United States today the academic
profession has become a vast con-
stituency. Our President, especially
% sensitive to the political and vocal
facts of life,, has tacitly acknow-
ledged this by creating a new
assistant to deal with his relations
to this constituency.
In the United States today there'
are far more professors than ever
In 1964, the last year for which
figures are available, the faculty
members of our institutions of
higher education numbered 494,-
514. That is roughly equal to the
national total of plumbers and
steamfitters and barbers.
When we talk, then about "pro-
fessors" in the U.S.A., we are not
talking about some tiny, esoteric
fraternity, but about a half mil-,
lion people. The magnitude of this
figure is so great, and so much
larger in proportion to our popu-
lation than the comparable figure
of other advanced nations, that we
have been slow to grasp its sig-
In fact, the faculty members of
American institutions of higher
education are about as numerous
as the total student enrollment in

all institutions of higher educa-
tion in Great Britain and France
Widest Variety
Common sense tells us that in
this large profesorial population
we must expect the widest variety
of opinions, attitudes, and preju-
It would be astonishing if, with-
in our academic half million, we
did not find some members of the
Birch Society, some racists of all
varieties, some crackpots and fad-
dists in economics, religion, and
the arts, and even some partisans
of the Viet Cong--along with hun-
dreds of thousands of moderate
citizens of all shades and descrip-
In this perspective, the wide
range of opinions we now hear
from our professors, is -evidence
less of any decline in academic
sanity than of. the encouraging
growth of higher education, of the
simple fact that professors have
now themselves become a vast
The great crises in American life
earlier in this century -- World
War I, and then the Great Depres-
sion - offered the first pressing
needs and the first great oppor-
tunities to apply the new social
sciences, which had been rapidly
developing in our universities in
the half century after the Civil
Unprecedented Use
The unprecedented use of pro-
fessors and other intellectuals in
the political revolution of the New
Deal and then in the total war of
1939-45, reminded university fac-
ulties that their work was acutely
relevant to the daily conduct of
public affairs.
Especially since World War II,
the professor's research itself has
become more intimately and more
obviously related to matters of
public concern.
A voluminous report, the Ameri-
can Dilemma, directed by the
Swedish professor, Gunnar Myr-
dal, and prepared by scores of
faculty members of American
universities, was cited by the Su-
preme Court as a substantial sup-
port to its integration decision in
Scientific opinion-polling-which1
began only in the 1930s as an aid
to market research and which has
had its heyday only since World
War II-had, by the time of the
Kennedy-Nixon presidential con-
test of 1960, become essential to
political strategy.
For the most part the people

who supervised the gathering. in-
terpreting and diffusing of public
opinions on every subject from the
watusi to draft policy and tax re-
duction, were men of academic
Opinion studies became the full-
time academic work of psycholo-
gists, sociologists, and political sci-
entists, usually associated with
Large corporations of all sorts,
and-many new government agen-
cies, have at the same time be-
come more academic in their in-
terests, their executives, and their
personnel. Industrial research lab-
oratories, market research proj-
ects, and problems of labor rela-
tions are increasingly ,directed by
men with academic backgrounds,
who have been professors, or who
will one day become professors.
When Dr. Lawrence Kimpton
resigned as chancellor of the Uni-
versity of Chicago, he became a
vice president of Standard Oil of
Indiana; the president of the
American Stock. Exchange recent-
ly announced his resignation to
become president of Wesleyan
From Experience
These days, when professors
talk about advertising, urban re-
newal, pollution,. civil rights, or
foreign policy, they are likely to
be speaking from some experience
in the world of decision.
Nicholas Iatzenbach went to his
post as attorney general from a
post as professor of law.
This is a far cry from the mid-
19th century college world when a
profeta or was likely to be a half
retired clergyman using his class-
room for his pulpit. In the 20
years since World War II, the walls
of the university have come tum-
bling down, and the boundaries
between university activities and
those outside are vaguer than
ever before.
Seller's Market
All this has created a seller's
market for the professor. He is no
longer a man who takes tips. In-
stead of feeling lucky to start as
an instructor for about $2,000 a
year, he is now unhappy if-even
without a completed Ph.D. - he
cannot command at least $8,000
a year, and have a choice among
several jobs.
The salary of a competent full
professor in a good institution to-
day is from $15,000 to $30,000.
Opportunities for outside earn-
ings multiply. Competition for the
professor's services increases his
fringe benefits, in the form of free

tuition for his children, pensions,
and insurance, not to mention
more time for his own research,
subsidized stenographic assistance,
and personal laboratories.
If he has energy and imagina-
tion he can secure a foundation
grant to support his work, and a
commission with a sizable cash ad-
vance and substantial royalties
from some publisher to write a
textbook or to prepare teaching
materials. He can expect to take
his family abroad comfortably on
a Fulbright or lecturing assign-
Enlarged Classroom
The American professor's class-
room has been enlarged to include
the world. He has become a man
of the world. No longer the bum-
bling Mr. Chips or the amiable
clergyman-moralizer of the last
century he has become a heroic
quester who collects and retails
explosive secrets of the social and
physical universe.
For all these reasons, the voices
we hear from our universities -?
whether of dissent or of assent -
do not mean quite what they used
to mean.
In the old days, when there
were so few professors, a few dissi-
dents of whatever persuasion
spoke for a larger proportion of
the higher learning. Today the
professor is only one of a half
million, whatever he says.
It requires a good deal less
courage than it once did for an
American professor to protest
againstprevailing views. For rep-
utable institutions are now doubly
cautious lest they underestimate
the professional competence of dis-
senters; not infrequently they lean
over backwards to avoid the shad-
ow of intolerance.
Easy Dissent
As dissent becomes easy and an-
onymous, as the price of dissent
becomes less, or as it even begins
to have its own special rewards,
wh'en publicity builds academic
careers and institutions compete
for newsworthy professors - we
may come to undervalue dissent.
The dissenting voice is lost in
the newly vast academic wilder-
ness. Or' the dissenting voice be-
comes simply another public re-
lations gimmick in the competi -
tion for attention-getting images.
The danger then, is not that we
may have too much dissent, but
rather that the voice of dissent
may be unheard, or may cease to
be valued for what it really is-the
free enterprise of the mind.

We set out to ruin
some ball bearings and
failed successfully

The Bell System has many small, automatic
telephone offices around the
country.The equipment in them'
could operate unattended for
ten years or so, but for a problem.'
The many electric motors in those offices
needed lubrication at least once a year. Heat
from the motors dried up the bearing oils,
thus entailing costly annual maintenance,
To stamp out this problem, many tests
were conducted at Bell Telephone
Laboratories. Lubricant engi-
neer George H. Kitchen decided
to do a basic experiment that
would provide a motor with the
worst possible conditions. He deliberately set

out to ruin some ball bearings
by smearing them with an
Icky guck called molybdenum
disulfide (MoS2).
Swock! This solid lubricant, used a certain
way, actually increased the life expectancy
of the ball bearings by a factor
of ten! Now the motors can run
for at least a decade without
We've learned from our
"failures." Our aim: investigate
The only experiment that can
really be said to "fail" is the
one that is never tried.

Bell System
&American Telephone & Telegraph
and Associated Companies

The University of Michigan
endorses the following Candidates
for SGC

Naval Ship Systems Command needs








for research, development, design and project
management on our current programs: Communications
Satellites, Submarine Rescue Vehicles, Deep Ocean
Search Vehicles, Aircraft Carriers, Hydrofoils

Control Systems

Warship Design
Deep Submersibles
Small Craft

Hull Structures
Deep Diving Pressure

Hydraulic Power
Life Support Systems
Environmental Control
Weapons Handling

Neill Hollenshead

Mike Koeneke

Mr. Byrne will be oncampus on November 18
to discuss positions in the above fields with you.
See your placement office to schedule an appointment.
-------------- -- - ------------ --.-------------------------------------

Cut along dotted line and mail to:
CODE 20325

I would like additional information on
I am majoring in
and will be available for permanent employment

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