"Liberal professors are ruining college," reads a recent headline in Boston Magazine. In a conservative state like Louisiana that has one of the worst records on education in the nation and has cut funding to higher education over the past decade more than any other state, it is not uncommon to hear college professors vilified in public narratives. “I’m no ivory tower scholar,” some may say pejoratively. Others may say something like, “College professors are a bunch of out-of-touch liberals who don’t know what it is like to have to work for a living” My purpose in writing this blog is not to debate labels, but I would like to debunk some common myths about life as a professor.
Those who can't do, teach? Think again!
Professors are overpaid? Think again!
Professors have an easy work schedule? Think again!
Professors receive a great pension? Think again!
Professors get the summer off? Think again!
Yes, there are some college professors, albeit a very small minority, who may only have to teach one or two courses and earn a six-figure salary. I have never seen one in person, but I hear they do exist. But even these have a heavy burden of research and an expectation of publishing their research that can be very demanding. And this research in university labs, almost completely funded by grants, is what often leads to innovations and amazing scientific breakthroughs. The value of a professor is not determined merely by course load. The easiest work I do is in the classroom. What I do in the classroom is, however, a relatively small part of my job as a college professor.