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A very interesting period of The College with a very interesting dean

85bears4685bears46 615 replies35 threads Member
I don't want to constantly link Chicago Maroon articles but this one catches my attention. It describes a time at U of C College when Hanna Grey was trying to hold the university together.

https://www.chicagomaroon.com/article/2018/3/23/jonathan-z-smith-dean-of-college-university-of-chicago/

I was at GSB then and so I was not aware of the issues at The College. Perhaps @ThankYouforHelp and @exlibris97 can give us more perspective?
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Replies to: A very interesting period of The College with a very interesting dean

  • kaukaunakaukauna 1179 replies16 threads Senior Member
    Thanks for posting the article. I believe that through it’s discussion of the former college dean and beloved professor I have a better understanding of what you alumni are talking about. Compliments to the author too. It is an impressive job in any context but especially in a student newspaper.
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  • uocparentuocparent 359 replies12 threads Member
    Really great article about an interesting time in an interesting university. Kudos to the faculty in academia, as I've heard it's fraught with politics (all schools in general.) Started to watch some of JZ Smith's interviews, and trying to find some of his articles and books, but not many in ebook format. (UChicago, start putting stuff in electronic format, we need to preserve the content in these artifacts!)
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  • ihs76ihs76 1769 replies97 threads Senior Member
    My 4 years in The College was entirely during his deanship. There were many somewhat eccentric professors on the campus at the time. Also, there were no non-tenure track teaching faculty (and certainly no grad student taught classes) so many of the courses, even the introductory ones, were taught by these colorful characters. I would say he was somewhere between 1 and 2 SD out from the norm in terms of eccentricity. We did like his unusual middle initial and commonly referred to him, the few times that we even thought of him, as "Jonathan Z." Most of the time, we didn't think of him and I had forgotten all about him until I saw this.
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  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying 7036 replies24 threads Senior Member
    "Also, there were no non-tenure track teaching faculty (and certainly no grad student taught classes) so many of the courses, even the introductory ones, were taught by these colorful characters."

    By the mid-80's, grad students were teaching undergrad econ. courses.
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  • exlibris97exlibris97 1032 replies7 threads Senior Member
    @JBStillFlying That's big change from the late 70s and early 80s, though I must admit some of the tenured faculty were deathly boring. One was called the "Human Quualude". Still, this represents a major change in UC policy. They used to brag that unlike the Ivies, they didn't use grad students or adjunct faculty as lecturers.
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  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying 7036 replies24 threads Senior Member
    edited March 2018
    @exlibris97 - just a guess but it might have had to do with a small(er) number of available faculty and lack of sufficient funding for their top PhDs. It's different now, but once upon a time the grad program was famous for admitting large numbers of hopefuls, then finding ways to fund (or fund better) those who passed their exams in a timely fashion. 198-199 didn't exist back then so undergrads started with micro and macro theory. At least some of those sections were taught by grad students, although the ones I knew could see the light at the end of the tunnel so were fairly advanced in their program. That's still very different from many other uni's where a grad student might be given a course right away. A faculty member who is fresh out of PhD-school is technically neither a grad student nor an adjunct; however, his/her teaching experience is going to be similar to the former as opposed to the latter. As you are hired to tenure-track just for the quality of your research, I'd take the adjunct over "The Human Quaalude" any day.
    edited March 2018
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