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Culture, Intricacies, and Obsessions in Academia

Why Colleges and Universities are Struggling to Deliver the Goods

John J. Hampton

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Unfortunate obsessions dominate the culture of colleges and universities and shortchange students and everyone else. Professors have become an obstacle to learning. They are not interested in or rewarded for teaching. They scramble to survive in a surreal world of nonsense scholarship and obscure publication. They conduct meaningless research and treat teaching with disdain. Learning takes place because students make it happen in spite of the foolishness that surrounds them. Professors don’t explain, listen, or give feedback. Many don’t speak understandable English. This book throws open the door of the faculty lounge and tells the dramatic and even embarrassing story. It recommends major changes in the professoriate to restore confidence in higher education. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 210Size: 6 1/4 x 9 3/8
978-1-4758-3270-9 • Hardback • March 2017 • $50.00 • (£32.95)
978-1-4758-3271-6 • Paperback • March 2017 • $25.00 • (£15.95)
978-1-4758-3272-3 • eBook • March 2017 • $24.99 • (£15.95)
John J. Hampton is a Professor of Business at St. Peter’s University in New Jersey and a principal in the Princeton Consulting Group. He was dean of the schools of business at Seton Hall and Connecticut State universities, and provost of the College of Insurance and SUNY Maritime College in New York City.
Foreword
Part 1. Welcome to the AcademyChapter 1. Do We Hear the Tolling of the Bell for Higher Education?
Subtitle: “Are we Talking about Graves, Worms, and Epitaphs?
Chapter 2. What’s All the Commotion About Culture, Professors, And Tenure?
Subtitle: If We Change the System, Do We Change the World?
Chapter 3. Would Anyone Care About my Own Stumbling Path into the Academy?
Subtitle: Is my Truth Everybody’s Truth?
Chapter 4. What Do Professors Believe and Why Do They Obsess About It?
Subtitle: Who Says there’s a Difference Between my Beliefs and Madness?
Chapter 5. Why does Controversy Swirl Around the Traditional Lecture?
Subtitle: Can We Restore Confidence in an Old Fashioned Classroom?
Chapter 6. What is your Problem with Students Sleeping in Class?
Subtitle: Would it bother you if a Student asked you to Keep it Down?
Part 2. The Professoriate.Chapter 7. What Is the Failure of Academic Formation?
Subtitle: Did You Learn the Right Skills or Waste Your Time?
Chapter 8. Why Do We Allow Intelligence Quotient to Crush Emotional Quotient?
Subtitle: If We’re So Smart, Why do We Have To Be Nice?
Chapter 9. Why Do Colleges and Universities Pay Professors?
Subtitle: Do They Pay Me What I’m Worth?
Chapter 10. Professor, Can you ever be Wrong?
Subtitle: Do you Understand what Happens if you don’t Agree with me?
Chapter 11. Who do you want in front of the Classroom?
Subtitle: Are Professors Perfect In Every Way?
Chapter 12. Why do Students Fail to Learn what I Fail to Teach?
Subtitle: Why did Nobody Tell me Nothing about Teaching?
Chapter 13. Why Would Anyone Agree To Be Department Chair?
Subtitle: Does Agony, Stress, Conflict, and a Small Stipend Create Happiness?

Part 3. Obstacles Litter the Pathway.Chapter 14. What Is the Conundrum of the Doctoral Dissertation?
Subtitle: Even If You Get It Right, do You Get It Wrong?
Chapter 15. Is It Worth All the Grief To Complete a Doctoral Dissertation?
Subtitle: What Is The Link Between Dissertation Value And Degree Value?
Chapter 16. Would Anyone Respect a Tripartite Dissertation?
Subtitle: Can we Change Seven Centuries of Tradition?
Chapter 17. Should You Do Whatever It Takes To Get Tenure?
Subtitle: Should You Tell the Dentist Not to Use Novocain?
Part 4. Help is on the Way.Chapter 18. Should We Bring in The Jesuits?
Subtitle: What Do We Think About this Suggestion?
Chapter 19. Is It Wartime or Peacetime for Colleges and Universities?
Subtitle: Should We Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition?
Chapter 20. Ph.D, Superstar, Do You Think You’re What You Say You Are?
Subtitle: Is There Anything you Can’t do??
Chapter 21. Why Don’t We Just Reform the Professoriate?
Subtitle: “Couldn’t We Get So Much More Done if we didn’t have to Bother With Students?
Chapter 22. Why does Reform Depend upon Liberals and Conservatives in the Academy?
Subtitle: Conservatives don’t like Liberals but who Does?
John Hampton’s book perceptively identifies key issues that interfere with the ability of colleges to achieve their mission, maximize faculty effectiveness, and make student learning their priority. The author examines and critiques the conventional way faculty are trained, selected, and evaluated in departmental structures that are often dysfunctional. The book uses a question, analysis, and suggestion format that turns negative impressions toward positive solutions. Especially satisfying is the concluding section that illustrates how a “5 star” college could and should operate. Hampton’s book is filled with numerous stories from his own experience and insights drawn from sources not usually consulted when writing about education. The stories and insights make one laugh and think, a remarkable combination.
Rich Ognibene, Emeritus Professor of Education and former dean at the College of St. Rose and Seton Hall University, and Siena College


Millennial, the largest and most educated generation, is also the most indebted, largely due to huge student loans. It is no surprise that Americans are questioning the value of today’s college education. Is our education system, known for being a laggard to change, late to the game? Are we adequately preparing students to be successful in today’s business and social environments? Hampton tackles these questions, taking the reader behind the scenes, encouraging us all to question the way teaching has been done for years, and challenging us to demand a better approach to higher education.
Kelly Makant Barton, Chief Marketing Officer, Mount Paran Christian School


As a father or three college graduates, a holder of an MBA and more continuing education than a sane person should pursue, it was a pleasure to finally see someone taking on the status quo of higher ed. I have long questioned whether the gargantuan sum I spent on the education of myself and my children was worth it. Did it even have a positive return? Could I have charted as successful a course in business without it? Will my children be better off because of it? There are no simple answers, but after reading this book, I now have a clearer view into the higher ed paradox, albeit no obvious or easy solution to the future version of the “academy” that will fully enable our future successes.
Chris Mandel, Director, the Sedgwick Institute, and former President, Risk and insurance Management Society (RIMS), and Risk Manager of the Year (2004)


This book tells the unspoken truth about the relationships between faculty, administrators and students in academic settings, and challenges the reader to consider different approaches to higher education in America. It offers real stories from an insider on the academic traditions and attitudes that create obstacles instead of pathways for students, while stifling creativity for faculty in terms of teaching. By presenting scenarios and questioning outcomes, the book opens a door for the reader to question the status quo and provides evidence that changes must be made in order for universities to remain relevant in today’s world.
Elizabeth Kane, Dean of the School of Professional and Continuing Studies, Saint Peter’s University


Culture, Intricacies, and Obsessions in Academia, is a thought provoking view of the Academic World. It provides a look behind the curtain of the current state of higher education. The business community continuously encourages colleges and universities to provide new highly skilled employees to staff and develop their companies. These individuals are part of evolution necessary for effective competition, so the success or failure of academia to provide this essential pipeline can have major impacts on the growth of organizations across the nation.
Joseph Gilkey, former Senior Vice President and Chief Consumer Officer, New York Daily News


John Hampton’s book challenges the current patterns of thought regarding academia and higher education in the United States. The book deserves several readings since it analyzes the many dimensions of colleges and universities, ranging from the admissions processes to dissertation work. Relevant to those in academia and the private sector, the book is a product of the work experiences of the author, ranging from university course instruction, academic administration, and private business. John Hampton’s views are worthy of consideration for anyone interested in the present status and future of higher education in the United States.
Joseph A. Bongiorno, JD, LLM, PhD – St. John’s University (NY) – Department of History


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