Phi Beta Cons

Another Harmful Fad — Mandatory Community Engagement

Leftists simply can’t leave people alone. They’re always coming up with new ways of telling others how to run their lives. More and more, high school students, for example, must spend time on “community service” if they want to go to college, thanks to the busybodies who dominate the admissions offices.

Something similar is sprouting up for college faculty — making “community engagement” a crucial element in tenure. That’s the subject of my latest SeeThru piece.

It’s based on a Chronicle interview with the chancellor at SUNY Albany, who argued that aspiring professors should have to demonstrate their community engagement if they want to be considered for tenure. I think the idea is ridiculous since it would divert time and energy from the work professors are (or should be, at least) good at. Instead, they’d have to devote time to community engagement efforts, and wonder if they had done “enough” in comparison with others.

Many high school students fake their community service and if the notion that professors won’t get tenure unless they put in enough community engagement time takes hold, we will see the same thing there. And then the zealous engagement advocates will want to hire more bureaucrats to monitor and crack down on faking. Pure waste.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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