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About Time

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The most enduringly popular image of the college professor is that of the lovable, tweedy goofball. Comedic and familiar, that icon of 1978’s Animal House doesn’t do the same kind of political work as the contrasting image of the sleezy, radicalized elitist, barely working six hours a week and utterly contemptuous of students. It used to be said that egghead professors couldn’t operate a toaster, but no one ever asks me to demonstrate my mad skills with the four-slice bad boy on my kitchen counter.

Instead, most people wonder if I work at all. State legislators are agitating for higher teaching loads. Apostate faculty and armchair sociologists insist that we care more about writing than teaching, that we have oodles of free time, that we are a waste of taxpayers dollars, that we dole out “easy As” to ensure student happiness, so that we can get on with whatever else…

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