BOOKS AND TENURE

The Mail

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

The recent disclosure that a University Assistant Professor would not receive a permanent appointment comes as a great surprise to his students and former pupils who consider him one of the University's most capable teachers. While it is perhaps unfair to both the professor and the Administration to discuss the particulars of this case, it is apparent to many that his option was not renewed because he violated a cardinal academic rule of the University--he concentrated on his teaching and did not publish enough. Whether this was the real reason for the decision not to renew this particular appointment is immaterial. The fact is, the failure of an assistant professor to publish numerous tomes during his three years tenure has cost numerous brilliant young professors their jobs and lost for the College and graduate schools the services of men whose teaching ability surpasses in many cases the Big Names of their fields.

While an undergraduate, I saw several of my top instructors forced to leave Harvard because they had not spread the name of Harvard across the pages of academic treatises and the New York Times Magazine. This policy might be laudatory if the professors with literary reputations were all good teachers, but in many instances the reverse is true. Term after term I took courses in the College under Big Men whose actual teaching ability in terms of clarity and intellectual stimulation was poorer than many of my instructors in secondary school. (name withheld by request)