Professors across the country
teach in fear, according to a chilling report from Foundation for Individual
Rights and Expression.
No, not fear for their lives. They feel their careers are on the line with everything they say or do — and as a result, student learning is stifled. We need to remove the muzzles from our educators.
Schools of higher education is where ideas are supposed to be openly debated, students challenged, and where opinions get formed. Instead, they are becoming places where truth and knowledge are shuttered.
A recent survey of 1500 professors across universities and colleges in the US shows that teachers are self-censoring in mass numbers for fear of getting fired or suffering a loss of reputation for merely saying something that another may object to.
A third of respondents said they often feel they cannot express their opinions for fear of reprisal. One in nine say they have been disciplined or threatened with such action for what they taught in class.
52% of professors polled said they are “afraid of losing their jobs or reputations because someone misunderstands something they said or did, takes it out of context, or posts something from their past online.”
When professors teach out of fear, what happens? Out of self-preservation, they limit their efforts to teach what they know needs to be discussed and debated. They see everything as risky and controversial and just shut down. As a result, the learning process suffers.
I can only imagine, as a former English major, what this could mean in the classroom. No doubt, this impacts which books will get assigned to be read, how they will be discussed, and how teachers will grade students. It saddens me to see this.
Of course, there may be some positives here. Maybe some teachers were insensitive and said stupid stuff. But the possible correction of a few bad apples is being paid for with the sacrificing of the education of an entire generation.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This award-winning blog has generated over 3.3 million pageviews. With 4,400+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by www.WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: www.linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.