Voices in the Wilderness

A forum for discussion of all things Dartmouth.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A Rational Voice Speaks Out

There is an excellent and thought provoking op-ed in the Daily D today (link here) by Professor of Economics Meir Kohn. Kohn takes on the notion that teaching and research are mutually exclusive, and argues that at Dartmouth not merely is it possible to be both an excellent researcher and teacher, but that those who are leading researchers are necessarily better teachers. He then goes on to describe how good teaching can be encouraged through the recruitment of good researchers.

The article is also striking in its strident criticism of the liberal intellectual echo chamber that exists at Dartmouth, and he directly challenges the worth of the college's new "Center for the Advancement of Learning" (which, frankly, sounds to us like an indoctrination oxygen tent instead of something that would foster critical thinking). All in all, the piece is so refreshingly honest, open and willing to challenge the conventional wisdom on campus that one wonders about the looks Professor Kohn is getting around the coffee counter this morning.

We also do not think it is a stretch in the least to say that Kohn's coming forward at this time is linked to the results of the trustee election. We should point out that Kohn has never been shy in taking on controversial topics, in July he wrote an article which came strongly criticized Dartmouth's selection of guest speakers, particularly those speaking on Isreal and Jewish topics, for being too leftward biased. However, the topics he takes on in the article today are so central, and the problems so pervasive, that he must feel he finally has support and cover. We would ask, who will be the next to come forward?