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Professors, Politics, and Purpose

An interesting article in Inside HigherEd reporting on survey data that shed interesting light on what university professors believe and how they conceptualize their role.

Among some of the more interesting findings, there have been huge increases in the number of professors who see their role as encouraging the development of personal values and emotional growth and enhancing self-understanding and that of other racial and ethnic groups.

The article also reported new survey data on the political biases of faculty, broken down by type of institution. The breakdown at private, 4-year, non-religious institutions like Dartmouth is:

Far-left: 10.9%
Liberal: 50.8%
Moderate: 23.4%
Conservative: 14.2%
Far-right: .7%

Dartblog’s own data on Ivy League college faculty and staff donations over the 2008 election cycle, published in the lead up to the election, tends to confirm such an ideological imbalance and suggests that this ideology extends past attitudes to actions.


In terms of political attitudes, the balance is significantly more conservative (or less liberal), relatively but not in absolute terms at public, Catholic, and alternatively religious institutions.

The article and survey also present interesting figures about faculty course loads, research, teaching strategies, and test administration.

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