The fastest growing populations at Canadian Universities today is the early retired. The professor emeritus claims his sweetened retirement package, cleans out his office, says farewell to envious colleagues, and goes off to ruminate on how his days "in this dark world and wide" were spent. Two years ago, after 26 years of university teaching, I, too, took early retirement.
...Often I find myself thinking about my colleagues still teaching. Many are cynical and dispirited, their morale at rock bottom. But how could it be otherwise? They have watched the university sell its intellectual birthright for a mess of pottage, government and corporate. They have watched, and have been compelled to participate in, rampant grade inflation and the almost total abandonment of academic standards. In "The Professor's Lament," a recent Commentary article, Carol Iannone wrote of "grade inflation of Weimar-like proportions." The essential function of the professor in the modern university, she asserts, is no longer to educate but "to divert, entertain, and interest."
...When I enrolled at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1966, the dean, "Caesar" Wright, assembled all the first year class in the moot courtroom and said, "Gentlemen [can you imagine that?], look to your left. Now look to your right. One of you will not be here after Christmas." And so it was.
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