[lit-ideas] Re: It's gone quiet

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2008 19:18:22 -0700

We're apparently finished with the tough subject of ordering drinks. While everyone is mulling over what to say about Auerbach, I'm going to step into the on-deck circle with this question: are those of us who are employed in academia abdicating a responsibility when we allow admissions people to characterize what we do? I've just returned from a tour of Eastern colleges. In search of the right academic fit for my second daughter we visited Georgetown, American U., Princeton, Williams, Amherst, Smith, Wellsley, Brown, Brandeis and Harvard. The trouble with these visits is that you get to see much that is not important and little that is. It's like how I imagine buying a car through the internet might be--surface views only. We saw lots of buildings, were told in each place that the professors are "rock stars" or "superstars," or some such nonsense, that professors are available nearly all the time, that students love [name of college here], that there is an excellent study abroad program (pay full tuition plus room and board, live in, say, Senegal), that employers are lining up to provide work for graduates. Do we as professors owe parents some sort of duty to disclose, or can it be assumed that, since most of them have been to college, they will take all this with a pinch of salt?

Any suggestions about where my daughter should study will be taken under advisement.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon
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