I was recently talking with an Ivy League humanities professor who does a lot of writing and speaking in public (non-academic) venues. I asked the professor what his/her department chair thought about all of this public activity. “My chair doesn’t like it,” the professor said. “My department chair thinks I should be writing scholarly articles and ‘producing knowledge.’ I get no credit for the public work that I do.” (This professor, of course, has written important scholarly works in addition to writing and speaking for the public).
This is a shame, but it continues to be reality in the academy.
With this in mind, I agree with just about everything that David Leonard of Washington State University says in this article on public writing. Here are some excerpts:
…But instead of being unnecessary or antithetical to academic work, I would argue that public writing is — at its core — what we do as teachers, intellectuals, and scholars. It’s another form of teaching, a public pedagogy that engages “students” outside the classroom, and inside, too….
John Aubry says
This argument of Scholarly vs Public sounds similar to the argument in your book “The Way of Improvement Leads Home” where the Old Side Presbyterians and New Side Presbyterians argued over whether preachers should be itinerant or college educated. The Old Side (Scholarly) argument was concerned with control and power. The New Side (Public) was concerned with saving souls or in this case getting worthwhile information to the public.
The Internet may not be Scholarship but it sure can be a terrific guide to finding it.
Tom Van Dyke says
respected outlets like Huffington Post)