Beyond the Yard

Professors fit high profile and often high paying activities into just one day a week

A law school professor surrounded by media blitz is played by Ron Silver in a movie. A professor of education and social policy serves as special master in a school desegregation case and testifies in civil rights cases on housing discrimination and testing discrepancies. A Kennedy School of Government (KSG) professor travels to the White House and Camp David to discuss political ideas with the President.

Harvard professors often spot each other at airports only to find out that they work for the same institution and are flying to different ends of the country, if not the world.

And these people still have time to teach your classes?


Rules of the Game

Faculty absenteeism is one of the most common complaints leveled by critics of today's university system. The pages of the Chronicle of Higher Education--and more mainstream publications--resound with accusations of greed and egoism directed towards professors who flee the classroom for high-paying consulting jobs and the media spotlight.

The current Harvard University policy states that "no more than 20 [percent] of one's total professional effort may be directed to outside work," according to a faculty handbook on research and professional activities.

In fact, Harvard's policy is not geared towards discouraging outside professional ventures, since promotion to tenure is often linked to professional achievements outside of the University.

In addition, the University benefits from the professional successes of their faculty members.

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