THE FACULTY FORUM




VOLUME 11, No. 4                                            DUKE UNIVERSITY                                                    DECEMBER 1999



CONTRIBUTORS:

Vesilind on Administrators

Rojstaczer as Campus Tour Guide

Editorial: New Editor Needed

From the Archives:  Duke Decembers

Ferret's Deconstructions

Parrot's Recitations

Possum (Passim): Readings

Editorial Policy 




 
 

ADVICE TO BUDDING ACADEMIC ADMINISTRATORS
 
 

--by P. Aarne Vesilind

       Civil Engineering

    My father was the best Christian person I ever knew. Although he was an agnostic and went to church only because he loved to sing in the choir, all through his life he lived the Christian principles of love and caring for others. He was born in Estonia and grew up during the 20 years of independence between the wars. When the Russians occupied Estonia in 1939 he was the chief engineer at the largest machine works in Tallinn, and the factory was taken over by the Russian military. When the Germans rolled into Estonia, he continued to work at the factory, but now it was taken over by the German military. We managed to escape from Estonia just days before the Russians returned and landed in a displaced persons camp in Germany. Through good fortune, we were able to come to the United States in 1949. For over 30 years my father worked for a large corporation as a mechanical engineer, and had what anyone would call a distinguished career.

    Except for one incident. There was a guy named Bob Varga, who at one point became his boss. Varga did not like my father for some reason, and decided to make his life miserable. One day he told my father to fire half of the people who worked in his department. When he refused to do so, Varga fired him for insubordination. When my father's colleagues found out about the dismissal, they appealed to the plant manger, and he was reinstated. At his retirement dinner, he began his speech with: "I have worked for Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, and Bob Varga." And that's all he had to say about that. He went on to talk about all the great people he had worked with and who had helped him during his professional career.

    As I prepare to retire from Duke (31 December 1999), I can also remember the great people I worked for and with. I did not, fortunately, have to work for Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler, so in that sense my father's career was different. But I have seen a lot of academic administrators come and go, and as an old dog with almost 30 years of experience at Duke, I cannot leave without giving some advice to my colleagues who might want to become academic administrators.

    In a nutshell, I find that there are two kinds of administrators, and both can be successful. Some people, through sheer skill, talent, and hard work, are able to become respected leaders of the faculty. We have been blessed with a number of such leaders at Duke, including but not limited to Dick White, Terry Sanford, Crawfurd Goodwin, Bill Chafe, George Pearsall, and most notably our president, Nan Keohane. These people have retained our loyalty and respect, and we would run through brick walls for them. Simultaneously (and here is the trick) they have impressed the people who originally hired them.

    If you have the talent to be such an administrator, you can stop reading right now. What I have to say is not of much value to you. I want to address those who do not have the talent to be good leaders, but whose ambition drives them to reach for increasingly higher positions in academia. On the surface, there is nothing wrong with this concept. We are a free society, and one can aspire to whatever one wishes, and being a president of a university is not too shabby an ambition. The trick is to get there in the absence of genuine talent or much hard work. So here are some pointers on how to be a successful academic administrator:

1. Remember who hired you.

There is a lot to be gained by sucking up. Never disagree with your superiors, because these are the people who write the letters recommending you to higher positions. Anticipate what they want you to do and do just that. If they want to have your school or department advance in the U. S. News & World Report rankings, then this is your primary goal. Find out what the equation is that the magazine uses and see what variables in the equation you can change to advance in the rankings. Your career will progress as a function of how many of your bosses you can please.
 

2. Neglect your subordinates.

If you do the sucking up well, then any appeals from the faculty or students to higher-ups will be considered the complaints of disgruntled employees and will be ignored. Remember that in any organization, bad news does not flow up. If you are a dean or a departmental chair, make sure the provost and president believes the world rotates around you. You can then be as mean and cruel and uncaring as you wish without any repercussions.
 

3. Get lots of money.

'Nuff said.
 

4. Destroy your enemies.

If you are unsure of yourself as an administrator, the best way to feel safe is to get rid of anyone who you perceive as a threat. There are several techniques to do this. First, you have to be sure you never hire anyone who can compete for your position. You can safely scuttle any searches for senior personnel by either making their visits so miserable that they would never want to come here, or by appointing search committees that would choose only the people you want. Oppose any promotion of tenured associate professors to full rank regardless of the merits of the case. Full professors are always dangerous and may become your rivals. With younger faculty, you need to establish an atmosphere of fear. There are several ways of doing that, although the best is to scuttle a few careers by not supporting them for tenure. Everyone will then know that the only way to advance is to suck up to you. They will not dare even speak at faculty meetings for fear of reprisals. This has the added advantage of significantly shortening faculty meetings.
 

5. Promote your friends.

Promise selected faculty that they will be promoted. You then have them as loyal lackeys until you decide to actually go ahead with the promotion. You can even get some of them to include you in their research as down payment for the promotion. Eventually of course you have to deliver on the promise and this can be dangerous because the full professor might suddenly develop backbone. Even worse, the promoted faculty member might not be sufficiently savvy to recognize the expected quid pro quo and all your efforts would be wasted, so choose carefully who you want to promote.
 

6. Delegate.

Once you have established an atmosphere of fear, you can safely start to delegate all your scud work. A friend of mine at another university was the chair of an engineering department and he managed to appoint three people who represented him at official events. He had a financial person, an academic person, and an administrative person. They were given full powers and none of the faculty dared antagonize them. Their word was law and appeals were useless. My friend came to the university only twice a week for a few hours, spending the rest of his time at home doing scholarly writing. In this way he was able to advance his own reputation and still maintain the title of departmental chair. Neat.
 

7. Ignore students.

Money spent on classrooms or teaching is simply a waste. You can safely allow the instructional facilities to deteriorate while spending all your funds, including tuition dollars specifically earmarked for education, on research labs and in hiring new research professors. It is numbers (such as numbers of faculty and numbers of publications) that determine your success. Students, especially undergraduate students, are overhead. The likelihood that they will hurt your career is minor. After all, they have only one data point to judge the quality of their education, and thus they cannot make comparisons. Deflect all parental concerns to a subordinate. If possible, make sure the students and their parents do not know who you are.
 

8. Minimize your teaching.

Since you are in charge, you can decide if you will do any teaching. If you do choose to teach, don't waste much time on the course. You can safely ignore student evaluations because you are the only one who sees them.
 

9. Use sabbaticals wisely.

The faculty need your approval for sabbaticals and there you have them totally in control. You can often buy submission and loyalty from senior faculty by offering terminal sabbaticals. Most senior faculty will recognize that making waves is just too costly and will gladly make a deal with you.
 

10. Be a self-promoter.

Don't wait for others to say nice things about you. Develop an arrangement with another administrator (of equal or higher standing) for routinely nominating each other for awards. When appropriate academic administrative positions become vacant, have your friend nominate you. This is far cooler than nominating yourself.

    If you follow these guidelines, you will most likely succeed as an academic administrator regardless of your level of talent in administration. There is of course the chance that the word will get out and that other universities will choose to ignore you for higher administrative posts, but you have to be really awful for that to happen. Most likely you will never be in any job long enough for the truth to be known.

    But there still is the danger that you will not attain the next level of academic administration and will have to "go back to teaching and research", that dreaded phrase. This is a dilemma, of course, because now you become just another colleague, with no special powers sort of like a guard at a concentration camp suddenly becoming one of the inmates. But not to worry. It is in such situations where the basic goodness of people is best exemplified. If they can welcome the Bob Vargas back to the fold, they can find room for you.



Editorial

NEW EDITOR NEEDED

    By rights, a new editor should be on the job right now, but because no one answered the call last spring, I agreed to edit the Faculty Forum for one more year. Next year, during my sabbatical, a new editor will have to take charge or the Faculty Forum will have to suspend publication. To avoid this prospect, the Academic Council would like to hear from applicants as early as possible. Applicants may contact the Council at acouncil@acpub.duke.edu or by phone at 684-6447.

    To anyone who might be interested, I would be happy to discuss the editor's work by email at vhs@duke.edu, by phone at 684-3976 (home phone 732-4998, any evening until midnight), or in person. By applying now, the next editor may also benefit, if her or she wishes, from observing in my own practice what needs to be known about layout, specialized word processing, putting each issue on the Internet, and other facets of the editor's craft. In addition, I shall be happy to answer any questions a prospective new editor may have about the professional expense account that the Council gives the editor to recompense the time and work involved. It certainly has been a helpful asset to me by way of defraying the cost of books, of travel to conferences, and of such equipment as computers, printers, a scanner, and a copier. (By way of added support, the Council also provides a subsidy for an editorial assistant.)

    With the caveat that the editor should be a tenured faculty member--both to ensure academic freedom and to avoid using up time that a colleague should be investing in the tenure chase--I urge colleagues across the campus to consider applying for the position of Faculty Forum editor. Although it can sometimes--depending on the editor's approach to the job--be seriously time-consuming, I have found it a greatly interesting and rewarding experience. And if the next editor happens to know how to cruise the Internet or handle graphics software (beyond my own poor capacities), the FF could become a truly creative enterprise. Here's hoping my successor shows up sooner rather than later, with creative ideas in mind.



EdNote: As space permits, we plan to present excerpts from Gone for Good: Tales of University Life After the Golden Age, by
Stuart Rojstaczer, copyright 1999 by Oxford University Press. Published by arrangement with Oxford University Press, New
York.

A PARENTAL TOUR GUIDE
 
 

--by Stuart Rojstacer

Department of Geology

    It's a Sunday summer day, and at about two o'clock I decide to take a break. I leave my office and sit on the steps of my building to eat some yogurt.

    I'm looking out onto the verdant, manicured Duke University quadrangle, elegantly designed by a black architect from Philadelphia in the 1920s who (as the story goes) never visited the campus because he didn't want any part of the Jim Crow life of the South. A threesome is walking along the sidewalk. They are getting closer to me and I quickly recognize them as a prospective student and his parents. The young man, a rising senior in high school no doubt, is tall compared to his parents--about six feet two with pale skin. He must be a musician or a computer type, I think. It's August after all. His blond curly hair is short and his posture is poor with shoulders slumped. His head is sagging as if he is trying not to stand out in relation to his parents.

    We never participated in the "posture photos" of the Ivy League--a bizarre activity where photos of new college students without clothes were taken over a period of a few decades--but our students tend to stand erect and proud. So, at face value, I don't give this young man much chance of being accepted. The short parents--the father, rotund with a full head of blonde hair, and the mother, a brunette with a short perm who looks tired--are in their late forties to early fifties. They stand on either side of their son as if to buoy him.

    The father walks up to me and asks me the name of the building in front of him. Most of the buildings at my university lack signs indicating their names. Perhaps this is a weak attempt to keep out the unwanted by making it hard for them to get around on campus. "Old Chemistry," I say. "You can tell from the lime stone carvings of the test tubes and scales at the entrance." I turn toward the carvings and point to them. "They were carved by an Italian immigrant family who did all of the masonry. The Pellegrinis or something like that. It used to be called just Chemistry, but the Chemistry Department had a new building built for them in the sixties. Hence the name Old Chemistry."

    The father looks at me quizzically. I have told him more than he wants to know. I'm still holding the yogurt container in my hand. "You're a professor here, right?" he asks. I nod. "Well it's summer and you don't have anything to do. Why don't you give us a tour of this place?"

    I look at him. He's presuming that because classes aren't in session I must be twiddling my thumbs all day long. I'm not upset about this, though. Many people seem to have this view and I'm used to it. They assume that the sole "real" job of a professor is to teach or prepare to teach. They assume this because we have never made any real attempt to show the public what it is we do when we don't teach. They think that we spend our nonteaching hours and our summers accumulating more knowledge for teaching by reading books--if we're industrious. They also tend to think that we are lazy and unaccountable, and that many of us pretend that we are accumulating more knowledge for teaching and instead are just loafing around.

    Should I give them a personal tour of the university as requested? On some level I am aware that if their son chooses to come here, I will benefit from the $100,000 they will spend for their son's education.

    But I don't really care about their $100,000. Far more people are willing to spend this kind of money on their children's education than we can possibly admit. The fact is we produce a product, though much maligned by the popular press, which is in great demand. (The popular press seems to view university education in the same way it views the software maker Microsoft Corporation. They sometimes dislike our product, even though it's a product that many need and use.) So if I choose, I can just be arrogant (believe me, the American university isn't the only institution where arrogance is in far too ample supply) and politely or impolitely decline. I am just about done with my yogurt. If I want to get tenure, I need to keep plugging away on my research.

    But being haughty with people I've never met before is just not my thing. They've probably come a long way and it is a Sunday after all. I also admire anyone who can be so direct (directness is not a common quantity in a university), so I say, "Sure, I'll give you a tour," and get up, leaving my yogurt behind a limestone pillar. While I show them the main quadrangle, they tell me part of their life story. The young man is the man's stepson, a child from the mother's first marriage. He's their only child so I feel some affinity with them as the parent of an only child. They're from upstate New York, where the father works as an electrical engineer.

    "I'm a Purdue man," the father says.

    "Purdue. That's a strong engineering school," I say with the modicum of knowledge I've gleaned from teaching engineering students and taking engineering classes when I was a student.

    "Yes, it is," he says. "I'd like George to go there, too. He can get a good education for a lot less money. But he likes this place."

    "Well, we do have a very selective engineering school here, sir. And your son would receive a very personal touch. The class sizes are small. It's a very productive way to achieve a high quality education." I don't know why I'm laying it on so thick. I'm usually not a salesman in the least. I also feel that the chance is virtually nil, regardless of his high school record, that his son will come to my university. He's a Purdue man, I think. His son will be a Purdue man, plain and simple.

    "That may be," he says. "But I received an excellent education at Purdue." He is none too happy with my attempt to sell him my university.

    "I am sure you did. Wasn't there an astronaut who was an engineering alum of Purdue," I say, remembering an advertisement I saw during the NCAA basketball tournament on television.

    "There were several, but Neil Armstrong's the one you're probably thinking of," he says. "I was too young to overlap with him in school. A fine man."

    "He was the first man to walk on the moon, right?"

    "Apollo 11 was the mission he was on," he says, and I've returned them back to our starting place. We shake hands and say good-bye. I remind him of the quality education his son would receive at Duke.

    The new students and their parents, the prospective students and their parents, I will meet them often. Their assumption about what I do and the workings of a university are generally so far off the mark that it's almost frightening that they are willing to spend so much money on something they know so little about.

EdNote: Stuart Rojstaczer, the Director of the Center for Hydrologic Science and an Associate Professor of Hydrology, can be reached by email at  http://www.duke.edu/~stuart or at stuart@duke.edu



FROM THE ARCHIVES: Duke in December

EdNote: The FF thanks Tom Harkins, Associate University Archivist, for the following items:

1. DECEMBER 1903:

The trustees of Trinity College--the predecessor of Duke University--voted whether to fire History professor John Spencer Bassett for having called Booker T.Washington the greatest man in recent Southern history next to Robert E. Lee, as the Raleigh News and Observer (among others) demanded. After the trustees voted 18-7 in Bassett's favor, the story became big news across the country. President Theodore Roosevelt, addressing a crowd of 15,000 near East Campus, said: "You stand for Academic Freedom, for the right of [a scholar] . . . to tell the truth as he sees it, . . . and to give others the largest liberty in seeking after truth."
 

2. DECEMBER 1924:

On December 24, Duke University formally came into existence via a legal document that set up the charitable trust of James Buchanan Duke. The final paragraph of that document notes "three distinct stages" in this Institution's development: "It began, in 1838, as Union Institute; in1851 it became Normal College; and since 1859 it has been Trinity College. . . . But through all this outward change it has kept one soul. . . . Now it changes again to meet new responsibilities and to rise to new opportunities."

Earlier that December, on the eleventh, Mr. Duke had established the Duke Endowment, which based approximately 40% of its income on stock (some 122,000 shares) held in the Duke Power Company, with the remainder mostly coming from 100,000 shares of American Tobacco stock and 75,000 shares of R. J. Reynolds Tobacco. Another 20,000 shares in cotton mills rounded out the Endowment.
 

3. DECEMBER 1970:

Terry Sanford was formally appointed the President of the University. As a former governor of North Carolina and future U. S. Senator, he brought a markedly efficacious political finesse to bear upon a scene of massive student upheaval on campuses across the country.
 

4. DECEMBER 1993:

Wellesley College President Nannerl O. Keohane was introduced on campus as the successor to Keith Brodie in the Duke President's office. Not least among her reputed attributes is an extraordinary talent for fund-raising. In a mere six years, she was already moving well into the second billion of fund-raising for Duke University while attending as well to the considerable other duties of that office.
 

5. DECEMBER 1999:

The name of Duke author-teacher Reynolds Price appears on the cover of the December 6 TIME magazine, along with a picture of Jesus. To celebrate the 2000th year of the Christian era, Price's original version of the Gospels is the feature story in the magazine, which also describes Price as a "great novelist." Perhaps the publicity will draw belated attention to his equally great and substantial oeuvre in poetry. (See Price's Collected Poems.)



FERRET:  Transgressive Deconstructions

"I find Paul appealing and Peale appalling."

                                    --Adlai Stevenson, after hearing a sermon by the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale on Saint Paul

EdNote: One of our readers corrected this information as follows:  Stevenson's quip occurred after the Reverend Peale signed a statement by Protestant ministers (citing Saint Paul) that opposed John F. Kennedy's election because of his Catholic faith



PARROT: Recitations

Adventures in Noble Thinking
 
 

Two Views on Marriage

by (thrice-married) John Milton





                    1. BEFORE THE FALL:
 
 

                        Hail, wedded love! That drove adulterous lust

                        Out among the herds to range.
 
 

                    2. AFTER THE FALL:
 
 

                        For either

                        He never shall find out fit mate, but such

                        As some misfortune brings him, or mistake;

                        Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain,

                        Through her perverseness, but shall see her gained

                        By a far worse, or, if she love, withheld

                        By parents; or his happiest choice too late

                        Shall meet, already linked and wedlock-bound

                            . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 
 

                                                From Paradise Lost, Book X


POSSUM (Passim)

Random Readings &Culture Studies


EXPERT WITNESS

". . . the narrative [the Washington media] agreed upon. . . worked at every point to obscure, in some cases by omission and in other cases through dismissal as 'White House spin,' what we now know to have been going on. It would have been possible to read the reports from Washington in four or five daily newspapers and still not know, until it was detailed by Renata Adler in the Los Angeles Times Book Review on March 14, 1999, that by the time Linda Tripp surfaced on the national screen as Monica Lewinsky's confidante she had already testified in four previous Office of the Independent Counsel's investigations: Filegate, Travelgate, the Vince Foster suicide, and Whitewater."

                                                    --Joan Didion, The New York Review of Books (6/24/99, 78)


TIME OUT OF MIND

". . . time moves faster for some of us than for others. Old people are being rushed forward into the future at a cruelly rapid clip. For little children, however, time seems to go quite slowly. . . . One psychologist has estimated that, subjectively, by the age of eight you have lived two-thirds of your life. . . . Scientists have recently learned. . . that our conscious now?also known as the 'specious present'?spans about three seconds, because that is the interval over which our brains knit up arriving sense data into a unified experience."

                                                    -?Jim Holt, Lingua Franca (8/99, 68)


HEAVY TRAFFIC

"Although cars are becoming cleaner and more efficient, the gains are being offset by the rapid growth in the total number of vehicles, especially in Asian markets. In 1996 some 634 million vehicles were on the road worldwide, an increase of almost 30 percent from the figure a decade earlier; collectively, they emitted some 3.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide, according to the International Energy Agency."

                                                    -?A. John Appleby, Scientific American (7/99, 74)


THE FIRED EDITOR'S AGENDA:

[EdNote: The following commentary concerns the firing of Dr. George D. Lundberg last January after seventeen years as editor of the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association.]

"The decision of E. Ratcliffe Anderson, Jr., chief executive officer of the American Medical Association (AMA), to dismiss Lundberg on January 15 brought protests from around the world. . . . At the time of Lundberg's departure from the journal, he was planning to 'once again go big time into caring for the uninsured.'

Furthermore, Lundberg was writing an editorial that was to have called for a 'millennial constitutional convention' to reorganize American medicine. The structure of organized medicine has served society well for most of the 20th century, he maintains, but it does so no longer. The AMA now represents only about two fifths of U.S. physicians?down from a peak of 84 percent in 1960. Many doctors are joining more specialized societies, . . . and the AMA has lost ground among academic physicians in particular. Lundberg's plan was to reestablish 'a big tent' for all types of doctors that would have as its central ethic universal access to basic medical care. He still hopes to advance the idea."

                                                    -?Tim Beardsley, Scientific American (5/99, 32-33)


SCIENCE FOR LAYPERSONS

BACKWARD PROGRESS:

"The progress of physical science looks like evolution running backward [toward the Big Bang]. Just as humans and other mammal species can trace their origins back to some kind of furry creature hiding from the dinosaurs in the Cretaceous period, and [thence to]. . . 'a protoplasmal primordial atomic globule,' in the same way we have seen. . . electrodynamics and the theories of other forces in nature merge into the modern Standard Model of elementary particles. We hope that in the next great step forward in physics we shall see the theory of gravitation and all the the different branches of elementary particle physics flow together into a single unified theory. . . . And when we have discovered this theory, it will be part of a true description of reality."

                                                    --Steven Weinberg, The New York Review of Books (10/8/98, 52)


THE SNOWBALL EARTH HYPOTHESIS

    "Glaciers that came as far south as New York and Wisconsin were not the problem. No, the whole earth?including the oceans?froze over. . . between 550 million and 750 million years ago. . . . During the great freezing. . . the earth's temperature fell to around 58 degrees below zero, and the ice covered everything?ocean and land alike. . . . Once the earth iced over, carbon dioxide brought up by volcanoes could no longer be removed from the atmosphere: there were no rivers, no rain or snow and no weathering. For millions of years, carbon dioxide levels climbed, eventually rising to about 300 times what they are today. At this point, the greenhouse effect took off with a vengeance and the ice melted back, dropping the glacial rocks onto the ocean floor. . . . These are the layers we see today in places like Namibia. . . .

    It's possible that photosynthetic algae could have survived in localized warm refuges (around undersea volcanoes, for example. . . . Life can survive in these sorts of environments in today's Antarctica. But which of the escape routes life actually took. . . is a question for future research. . . . Multicelled life on earth developed soon after the last snowball ended [there might have been four such episodes], and there is some evidence that it tried to start up between snowballs, only to be wiped out each time. It may be, in other words, that only single-celled life can survive such total freezes and that the development of complex life-forms had to wait until they no longer occurred."

                                                    -?James Trefil, Smithsonian (12/99, 28-30)


THE IONS HAVE IT:

    "Replenished by the thousands of thunderstorms that constantly pummel our planet, the earth's electric charge produces an electric field that is typically around 100 volts per meter when a thundercloud rolls overhead. . . . We would all be electrocuted instantly were it not for the fact that the atmosphere contains very little free charge (ions and unattached electrons), and so these large fields simply cannot generate dangerous currents. . . . Every fraction of a second, cosmic rays strip electrons from some of the normally neutral molecules in our atmosphere. . . . These processes leave some air molecules positively charged while simultaneously creating a diffuse mist of electrons, some of which are picked up by other atoms. The atmosphere thus contains both positively and negatively charged ions. . . .  These particles are extremely rare. Of the 2.5 x 1019 molecules that reside in each cubic meter of air inside your home, only a scant 200 carry an excess negative charge, whereas 250 are positively charged. (The concentrations are often higher outside.)"

                                                    -?Shawn Carlson, Scientific American 9/99 (96)


LIGHT YEARS:

"After a photon is born at the sun's core, it is absorbed. . . through more than 400,000 miles of plasma, taking about 30,000 years to make it to the sun's surface and then eight minutes to get to Earth."

                                                           -?Discover 6/99 (26)


MONEY MATTERS

"In Illusions of Prosperity: America's Working Families in an Age of Economic Insecurity (Oxford University Press), Joel Blau of the State University of New York at Stony Brook reports:

Between 1979 and 1994, 97 percent of the nation's increase in total household income went to the top fifth.

The richest 10 percent of Americans own 88 percent of all stocks and 90 percent of all bonds.

The richest 1 percent of Americans possesses 39 percent of the net national wealth.

In 1973-1975 the CEOs of 10 typically large companies earned 41 times the wages of their average factory worker. By 1996, this ratio had risen to 209.

Taxed corporate profits equaled 8.3 percent of the nation's gross national product in 1967 and only 2.3 percent of GNP in 1996.

The rest of us? Some live comfortably, some don't. And far too many max out their credit cards to keep up with the Gateses. It was no surprise to learn last week that the national savings rate hit an all-time low in May.

We live, of course, in an information economy. And when the news is fat with the rich and famous but bereft of average Americans, we see ourselves as a nation of fat cats. Fed a steady diet of illusion, it seems like reality."

                                        --From a column by Peter Zane, Raleigh News & Observer (7/4/99, 4G)



EDITORIAL POLICY:

         The Faculty Forum is published monthly by the Academic Council of Duke University.
  Editor: Victor Strandberg (English).  Editorial Advisory Board: Matt Cartmill (Biological Anthropology & Anatomy),  Howard Clark (Biomedical Engineering), Buford Jones (English), Seymour Mauskopf (History--on leave), and Kathy Rudy (Women's Studies).
 
    The purpose of the Faculty Forum is to provide an opportunity for faculty members to discuss topics of common interest. The FF therefore welcomes, and indeed depends on, contributions by faculty members. Contributions may be published anonymously, but the editor will need to know the identity of all  contributors so as to authenticate the contribution and permit appropriate editing procedures. We welcome fact, opinion, and creative whimsy from across the wide range of Arts & Sciences and Professional Schools--book reviews (new or  reprinted), short essays, serendipitous items from random reading, and voices from the eternal kulturkampf.
 
      Contributions of every kind should be sent, in both print and (if lengthy) computer  disk, to the editor,Victor Strandberg, in 315 Allen Building.  Voicemail is 684-3976; no objection to calls at home, 732-4998. E-mail is vhs@duke.edu   FAX (English department) is 919-684-4871.  The deadline for submissions is about the 25th of each month.