Crossposted From Under the Fig Tree
By now, I don’t suppose there are many people in the world who would liken the groves of academe to an earthly paradise. Too much has been written of late about tensions between faculty and university administrators, student ennui and diminishing resources, to hold up the academic enterprise as a paragon of civility.
The steady advance of hybrid courses and of MOOCs (massive online open courses) has compounded matters even more. From coast to coast, discussions about their integration into the curriculum have become increasingly heated, throwing just about everyone — their advocates, their detractors and those in the middle — into a tizzy. You need only pick up an issue — any issue — of The Chronicle of Higher Education or, for that matter, The New York Times, to see the extent to which tempers have frayed.
Fear of change and the prospect of an uncertain future fuel much of this. But so, too, does the very nature of academic life where, all too often, petty politics rules the roost and decidedly uncollegial behavior is the coin of the realm.