Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The ’60s Begin to Fade as Liberal Professors Retire

Sara Goldrick-Rab and Michael Olneck, both at the University of Wisconsin, represent contrasting generations of professors, as younger faculty members tend to be more politically moderate.
As older professors retire, college campuses are becoming more politically moderate:
Baby boomers, hired in large numbers during a huge expansion in higher education that continued into the ’70s, are being replaced by younger professors who many of the nearly 50 academics interviewed by The New York Times believe are different from their predecessors — less ideologically polarized and more politically moderate.

When it comes to those who consider themselves “liberal activists,” 17.2 percent of the 50-64 age group take up the banner compared with only 1.3 percent of professors 35 and younger.

Changes in institutions of higher education themselves are reinforcing the generational shuffle. Health sciences, computer science, engineering and business — fields that have tended to attract a somewhat greater proportion of moderates and conservatives — have grown in importance and size compared with the more liberal social sciences and humanities, where many of the bitterest fights over curriculum and theory occurred.

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