Liberals would have you believe that bias in academia is just some bogeyman, lurking in the fetid swamps of the conservative’s tiny, incompletely-formed brains. David Firester shares his experience with the faculty at Queens College in New York, where liberal bias is firmly entrenched, and the faculty are not exactly friendly to opposing viewpoints.
It has often been said that there is no cure for stupid, while ignorance is easily treated through education. What happens when educators willfully steer their ships in an ignorant direction? It seems that many academic ships are sailing in this direction. I happened to board one myself recently.
I began teaching “Introduction to Political Science” PoliSci 101 at Queens College as a Graduate Teaching Fellow this semester. As I am new, I was given a “mentor” whose syllabus I essentially mirrored. After a brief review of the content I got a sense of what textbooks are being used in the practice of college-level teaching. I researched syllabi elsewhere to get some more ideas. It seems that what is being assigned at Queens College is not all that different from what professors assign elsewhere.
When I looked a little deeper into the material I was assigning I began to notice what I could only say is institutionalized liberal bias. As a Ph.D. student who has sat through some of the most virulent professorial liberal rants, I knew it was quite common. In the past I had attended numerous schools, mostly in New York; they include State University of New York Orange, the City University of New York that included study at Brooklyn College, Hunter College, City College and the Graduate Center. I swore that my pedagogical style would be centered on the presentation of opposing viewpoints and not descend into the sort of demagoguery that thrives on sycophant head bobbing.
In reviewing some of the chapters of the “textbook” I was requiring students to read I saw a clear socialist trend. When I think of a textbook a few adjectives come to mind. It should be a technical guide on concepts. It should be dispassionate and devoid of fiery ideology. Well, that isn’t quite how it works.
The “textbook” pushed the agenda of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, denigrated any conservative viewpoints, assaulted libertarianism, and promoted only Democratic presidents and liberal/progressive interests. I decided that since the ship was listing to the left I would give it a shove toward the center by assigning two chapters of Mark R. Levin’s book, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto.
That didn’t go over too well. The department chair called for a submission of all syllabi, which I promptly complied with. I guess this is the first time they were seeing some conservative heresy being assigned. I found it odd that shortly thereafter I was informed by my “mentor” that I would be observed in the classroom. Routine observations do occur. However, I was informed that they don’t generally take the form that mine had. It was quite interesting that he chose the specific day that I would be reviewing Levin’s material with the students.
Following the observation, I had a brief discussion with my reviewer/mentor. He seemed to make some useful critical remarks, which I immediately recognized as helpful. Then he spoke about Levin’s book (I had sent him two chapters in advance of the observation). He didn’t like that I used a “polemical radio personality” to teach. I told him that Levin is an accomplished constitutional attorney and former Chief of Staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese. He sort of nodded and the conversation ended.
A few days later I got the written version of my observation report. The same matters discussed were now on paper. I was told that the observation process requires that I must seek a full-time professor to be a rapporteur. That person’s job is to simply note my comments in a neutral fashion and convey them to the chairperson.
The rapporteur turned out to be not neutral, and said the viewpoints expressed in Levin’s book were “not legitimate,” as they do not support the accepted liberal agenda. It makes you wonder how many other colleges (and high schools) this sort of thing goes on in, and whether there are many (or any) insurgents like Firester who at least try to balance things out.
Read the rest: Liberal Academia and My Struggle for Survival | FrontPage Magazine.