Professors’ Liberal Ideals Influence Students’ Learning
Published: Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 09:03
The Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) released a recent report entitled "The Shaping of the American Mind: The Diverging Influences of College Degree & Civic Learning on American Beliefs" which measured the ability of colleges and universities to teach graduates basic principals in history, government, politics and economics.
According to the report, less than 60 percent of college graduates can effectively identify the three branches of government or decipher the difference between passages from the Gettysburg Address and the Declaration of Independence on a multiple choice examination. The report also indicated that most college graduates cannot recall basic information concerning the Revolutionary, Civil and Vietnam wars, or even the free enterprise capitalist system practiced in America.
This begs the question: who is to blame for this disparity amongst college graduates? A survey conducted by the North American Academic Study Survey (NAASS) in 1999 blames the overwhelming disproportionate amount of liberal faculty in humanities and social science fields. The study concluded that the lack of ideological balance within the humanities, social sciences and English subjects are negatively affecting students at universities across the nation. In the humanities for example, 77 percent of faculty were liberal with eight percent conservative; social sciences had 66 percent and eight percent breakdown; the English faculty exhibited an astounding 85 percent and three percent respectively.
College is meant to be a period when students explore new methods of thought, mature and begin to solidify their identity, but can they truly achieve this in an objective manner when their professors are disproportionately liberal?
Some believe that it is possible. Mamadou M'Baye, a junior sports medicine major who has faith in the integrity of Howard University's faculty stated, "The professors here have maintained a professional standard of abstract education. Although most of my curriculum consists of subjects irrelevant to politics, the faculty has been successful in masking their personal political feelings in the classroom."
Professors are vessels used to communicate knowledge in a way that is conducive to their students in the most objective way possible. While some believe one's standing on the political line cannot be blamed on indoctrination, others disagree.
Tyler Dragon, a junior political science major said, "My professors do not influence my personal choices. However, I do believe if an individual is easily influenced there are plenty of universities that will turn them into a more liberal thinker," he said. "Being a transfer from UCLA which was slightly liberal, and in some cases moderate, it is evident that Howard is leftist all the way."
The NAASS study did pinpoint that there were more liberal faculty in universities across the nation, but if the professors were conservative little would change.
Brittany Frazier, a sophomore political science major has a slightly different point of view of liberal indoctrination. "I have friends who go to schools in conservative areas and their professors do the same thing with conservative ideas. I do think a lot of the professors have a problem teaching without a little of political bias, but it depends on the campus."
Next time you find yourself regurgitating information from a lecture you heard earlier in class, or identifying with the left-winged viewpoint of a political analyst on Anderson Copper, consider that your liberal professor may be to blame.