Form and Texture of a Professional Life


  • Patricia A. Plante University of Southern Maine


Higher Education


Since the end of World War II, universities and their faculties have changed in noteworthy ways. Some deplore the present and take pleasure in romantic backward glances. However, nostalgia for the snows of yesteryear will not move higher education forward. The two-part question worth asking now that the changes have taken place is: What should a contemporary metropolitan university expect of its faculty? What should a contemporary faculty expect of its metropolitan university? In creating the form and texture of professional lives, both faculty and administrators should elude three traps designed specifically to ensnare academic climbers and/or those prone to seek in apathy refuge from the hierarchical intellectual world. One, serious scholarship is the exclusive province of research university faculty. Two, the nature of scholarship pursued by faculty in metropolitan universities is less worthy than that pursued by faculty in research universities. And three, metropolitan university faculty should structure and teach courses of study that are of immediate economic usefulness-even to the neglect of those that are of long-term intellectual importance.