The Corporate Professor   /   Spring 2012   /    The Corporate Professor

Do College Teachers Have to Be Scholars?

Frank Donoghue

Tadashi Tokieda at the 2018 Mathematics Congress, Brazil; photo by Christhian Rodrigues; flickr.

A fascinating op-ed piece from the March 6, 2009, issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education prompted me to ask my title question: Do college teachers have to be scholars? The editorial, by Douglas Texter, is brashly titled, “No Tenure? No Problem. How to make $100,000 a year as an adjunct English instructor.” To the question “Do college teachers have to be scholars?” Texter emphatically answers “no.” He maps out a job description—his own—in which he renounces any professional identity as a scholar. a Ph.D. in English from the University of Minnesota, he reasons that there are virtually no tenure-track jobs at research universities (where scholarship is prized most highly and thus rewarded), yet there is an abundance of adjunct positions. So rather than feel demoralized by taking on a low-level, likely part-time position while continuing to aspire to the life of a tenured scholar, he embraces the life of the adjunct, committing himself to excellence in teaching and teaching as much as he can—enough, he asserts, to make $100,000 a year.

To read the full article online, please login to your account or subscribe to our digital edition ($25 yearly). Prefer print? Order back issues or subscribe to our print edition ($30 yearly).