Actually, I don’t know what percentage of faculty teach at Ivies or near-Ivies. But I was struck by a couple of conversations, at the same dinner at Kalamazoo, that revealed certain . . . shall we say, distinctions between gentlemen and gentlemen’s daughters.

A: “Oh, I don’t believe in spending time on campus. All my books are at home. I hold office hours in the library cafe, and I teach my graduate classes in my home . . . .”

B: “How does the medical school getting grants help the humanities departments?”
B: “I never heard of that.”

#1: For this to work, you have to live close to campus, in a domicile large enough to hold class (or you’re in a department that will let grad classes run with half a dozen students, and you never actually have to find seats for 15), and you have no qualms about letting students know where you live and how you live. None of this is true of me.

#2: B is considerably older than I am, and has always worked at an Ivy. They must lead very sheltered lives there (lack of committee work outside of the department?). Or else the humanities are actually well-enough funded that there is no cheese-paring from other people’s grants.

4 thoughts on “How the other 1% lives

  1. The idea that there are places where "I don't believe in spending time on campus" would work, where classes could be held at home, and where money was no object–as you said, it's another world.

  2. RL: especially where I teach! But maybe at Ivies and Near-Ivies there's a feeling that students are well-screened. I attended one class in grad school that met at the prof's house, and knew of another one who often held grad classes in his home. I benefitted from the generosity of these professors, and perhaps in a similar situation I would emulate it. But at a LRU? Nope.

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