Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Academics Don't Get It

I was reading the article "DEAR JOURNALISM STUDENTS: Don't Mean To Intrude, But Your Professor Doesn't Get It

I think he has hit on a problem with academics in general, in particular those holed up in universities. Professors are out of touch with the "real" world, and almost by definition are several years behind the times. 

In thinking about this over the years I have come to the conclusion that there is a good reason for this, but it is still disturbing.  There are two kinds of people, those who feel they know it all, and those who feel that the more they learn, the less they know.  Those in the second category are always innovating because they can see there are other, often better, ways to do things.  They get good jobs because they are respected and keep pushing their respective fields forward.

Those that think they know it all, teach at universities. 

Let me now say that, yes, there are exceptions.  But those exceptions are notable for their rarity.

The problem is that once you think you know it all, what is there to stimulate you?  What keeps you pushing forward?  There is a near compulsion to foist your brand of "what is" upon those coming up in the food chain, yet your grasp of what is going on in your field invariably slips.

A sure sign of "knowing it all" are regular complaints about all those new-fangled things those upstarts are using.  That attitude is a sure way to a world of irrelevance.