Should Senior Professors Emphasize More onResearch?
Many college students realize that it is a privilege toattend senior professors’ lectures. Oftentimes,those senior professors are unique in their teachingstyles, have an encyclopedic knowledge in theirdomains, and have acquired an efficient way tocommunicate with their students. However, thosesenior professorsappear to be always obsessed with academic research, social activities andother engagements.
In some universities, authorities have to decree that senior professors should at least giverequired lectures during a semester. Some people hold that senior professors should lay moreemphasis on research, for their achievement will promote the advancement of science andtechnology. But I do not agree.
Firstly, while senior professors concentrate on research, they are likely to spend less timepreparing fora coming lecture. Though senior professors are likely to make more advancementof their research if they can absorb themselves in their study, they are required to take theresponsibility of cultivating talents for our society, which is more important. I still remember lateprofessor Yang Changji’s life pursuit. He said that he would be satisfied if he could cultivate acouple of backbones for China. Some may not clearly list how many books Professor Yang wroteduring his lifetime, but almost all Chinese people remember that he succeeded in cultivating agroup of people represented by Mao Zedong. In this sense, cultivating students of tremendouspromise is more important than carrying out academic research to make a name.
Secondly, while senior professors give fewer lectures to students, young faculties would bedenied the opportunity to learn pedagogy from these senior professors. In the past, youngteachers would start their teaching career as assistants to senior professors. They wererequired to participate in lectures and tutor students so that young teachers would be able toacquire requisite skills, attitudes and other essentials of giving lectures. When occasions arise,senior professors would ask their assistant teachers to give democlasses so that seniors couldevaluate how much progress their assistants had made. However, young faculties find itdifficult to consult with their seniors, for seniors are always otherwise engaged, either inacademic research or in the social activities. As a result, when young faculties have to improvetheir pedagogy by trial and error, college students constitute guinea pigs.
In sum, it is senior professors’ responsibility to cultivate talents for the society and helpimprove young teachers’ pedagogy. Though they can make a name in research, theirpreference to research would be to the detriment of the cultivation of promising students inthe long run.