Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here’s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.


 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate

Subscribe!
Subscribe





On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.
___________

Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Picking the fruit of knowledge from a rock garden

By Walt Brasch - posted Thursday, 8 March 2012


A college isn’t a good place to find ideas. It’s a good place to find facts - What year was the Franco-Prussian War? What is the current gross national product? What importance did Horace Greeley have in the development of American journalism?

A college is a good place to find parties and experience the social milieu - “No, two kegs probably won’t be enough; let’s order three.” A college is even a good place to learn of intrigue--“I can’t believe—I just can’t be-LIEVE-that Larry is screwing that slut in Geography, just because she’s chair of the tenure committee.” Yes, a college is a good place to find a lot of things, but it’s definitely not a place to find ideas.

When I decided to enter academics, this time as a professor, I thought I’d walk into the Ivy halls and pick ideas out of the air, as a fruit picker picks oranges and lemons. The ideas would be waiting for me to reach up and grab, to inspect, to roll around in my fingers, to analyze. Little did I know I’d be getting the lowest hanging fruit.

Advertisement

In graduate school, during the early ’70s, ideas, though not as prevalent as facts, were still available, deliberately put in my path by advisors who were forever testing me, and for whom I was constantly testing. Why is it different now? Is it the place? Or is it the time?

It seems as though everyone, student and professor, comes to class, does the work with varying degrees of interest and competence, and then goes home or to committee meetings where they can play academic games which are what now stimulates their minds.

For the moment, I am in the game. This one is called the Faculty Senate. It’s the college’s version of a duly elected, properly-sworn-in house of representatives. Twice a month for nine months I have attended these meetings. My sentence is over in one more year.

“Next on our agenda is the key policy.” The senate chair is a scholar of the first order from the Department of Biological Science. He also shouldn’t chair anything more complex than a four-chair poker game.

“Mr. Chairman!”

“Jack.”

Advertisement

“I believe that after reading all the arguments in favor of this policy, and since it was requested by the vice-president for administration, that we should implement it immediately.”

“Bob.”

“I don’t think so. I don’t think I understand it. I’m not sure. Does it say that we have to give up our keys if we go on leave or on a sabbatical?”

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. All

Except for a couple of identifications, all facts in this memoir are, unfortunately, accurate. Walter M. Brasch, Ph.D., spent 30 years in academia as professor of mass communications and program director for journalism. Before, during, and after his academic career, he was and is a journalist and columnist. His latest book is Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution, a look at the US counterculture from 1964 to 1991.



Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

4 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with del.icio.us Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Walter Brasch is professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University. He is an award-winning syndicated columnist, and author of 16 books. Dr. Brasch's current books are Unacceptable: The Federal Government’s Response to Hurricane Katrina; Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture; and Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush (Nov. 2007) You may contact him at brasch@bloomu.edu.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Walt Brasch

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 4 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend
Advertisement

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy