After decades of observing people in academia, I’ve come to a few conclusions. Two of these conclusions are: professors are smart people, and the gap is very narrow between smart people and those who aren’t.
Plenty of professors have smart phones. So, shouldn’t professors (especially accounting professors) be smart about smart phones? No, not really.
Laurie Essig is an associate professor of sociology and women’s and gender studies at Middlebury College. She notes an interesting professorial practice in “Profs Fail iEtiquette 101,” (in Chronicle of Higher Education, may require daily subscription to read).
[H]alf of those academics I heard from admitted they sometimes use the devices during meetings. When asked why, they said they used them to read materials related to the meeting, but they also checked e-mail and Facebook, texted, tweeted, and read Web sites unrelated to the meeting. …
The academics surveyed said they multitask only when the meeting is big enough that no one notices, only when it’s a mindless task like deleting e-mails, only when the agenda item doesn’t relate to them, only when the meeting is stupid and pointless, only when they need to check on kids, and only when they really “needed to.”
We who rely on people listening to us no longer believe we have to listen when someone else is speaking.
Yeah, so what else is new. Twenty some years ago at my first department faculty meeting, I was surprised when two of my colleagues brought a stack of papers to grade during the meeting. Over the years, I’ve seen faculty members read newspapers, journal articles, knit, sleep and snore. Bringing a laptop, tablet or smartphone on which to do work now seems to be accepted practice. I’ve done it myself.
On the other hand, professors seem incensed when students use smart phones in class. I’ve been monitoring a LinkedIn discussion (on The Teaching Professor) about cell phone policies. Some professors claim to have confiscated phones, kicked students out of class, and lowered a student’s grade, all for a student caught texting during class.
It seems that smart phones and professors are two terms that don’t fit together, an oxymoron of sorts. Professors have dysfunctional emotional outbursts when catching someone texting during class, yet routinely break the same rules when in someone else’s meeting. At least in this matter, professors aren’t so smart after all.
Debit and credit – – David Albrecht