A Long Way to Go: Conversations about Race by African American Faculty and Graduate Students

By Darrell Cleveland | Go to book overview

7

SO GROWS THE TREE: SOME
ASSUMPTIONS UNDERLYING THE
COLLEGE PROFESSORATE AND
THEIR REPERCUSSIONS ON
HIGHER EDUCATION

Paul F. Bitting

Playing with metaphors can evoke new perspectives on a problem. One strategy for
exploiting metaphors is to identify some features from the research domain that are
discernible in another domain—perhaps another discipline or area of activity.
Attention is shifted to the new area (the metaphor), which is then closely examined.
From this examination, the researcher may discover some variables, relationships, or
patterns that can usefully be translated back to the research problem.

A. W. WICKER, 1985, p. — — —

The human tendency to think recurring thoughts limits our theories and research. I would like to make an analogy between the experience of beginning law students and that of those entering the college or university professorate, so that our perspectives of the former might contribute to better understanding of the latter. Although there is abundant research in psychology, educational psychology, sociology, philosophy, and adult education on numerous facets of learning, law, and mental health, there have been only minimal attempts to integrate findings across boundaries of these disciplines or fields to shed any light on the “professorial experience.”

Consideration of the effectiveness of transitioning young professors into American higher education involves many issues: motivation and learning theory; evaluation of the methods and systems used to provide for the transition, especially in their effects when used during the most intense first-year period; examinations of the kinds of people who self-select for the professorate, their survival and

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