From the Editor: Peripatetic Science Luminaries, and Others

By Paula M. Krebs

As an English professor, I don’t often run into scientists on my professional travels—I’m more likely to bump into etymologists than entomologists.

But some folks in the sciences are just everywhere, and that’s because everyone acknowledges how important their work is and how important it is to hear their perspectives on higher education. Two articles written by giants in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields lead off this issue of Academe. I first published Sue V. Rosser’s work in the late 1980s, when I was a graduate student editing Feminist Teacher, and I’m pleased to be able to publish in these pages an article she co-authored with Mark Zachary Taylor. Just a few weeks ago, I heard Rosser give a lecture at Brown University, and I was thrilled to find that she has as much energy and passion for her work on gender issues in science education today as she had decades ago.

Another STEM luminary whose light reaches beyond his own campus is Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, the president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County. His work to increase minority student access to and success in STEM fields is legendary. The Meyerhoff Scholars Program at UMBC, described by Hrabowski and co-author Kenneth I. Maton, is the envy of many another campus and has inspired much imitation. Hrabowski is often to be found at higher education diversity conferences and, in a spirit of collaboration that determines to lift all boats, he freely shares what he has learned at UMBC.

When I was searching for articles about first-generation college students for the July–August 2008 issue of Academe, I had a hard time rustling up anything about scientists. Where were the first-generation students in the sciences, I wondered? And did they become college professors? One such student who did end up in academe is Randall Hicks, who tells his own, moving story in this issue.

The rest of the issue is packed with fascinating and useful material. Teresa Tam and Daniel Jacoby reveal that, despite data collection that helps us to understand the situation of contingent faculty in the United States, we have no real data on how much part-time instructors are actually paid. Jason Ohler urges us to get literate or get left behind in the digital domain. Jean Mills takes us through the Museum of Modern Art by way of some of that technology, showing us how iPods can help students to enter a world of high culture that might otherwise seem inaccessible.

E. Suzanne Lee discusses her own campus service work but locates it in the larger framework of what she calls scholarly service and the scholarship of service. And Keith Osajima offers one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” articles, sharing with us the ever-so-simple yet powerfully effective technique he uses to help faculty of color feel at home on his campus. It’s really universal design, though—designed for one constituency, his method can make life easier if applied in almost any group.

Finally, Leah Wasburn-Moses tries to make Academe into a supermarket checkout magazine with her tips on how to get back into (research) shape after the birth of a baby. We avoided the temptation of a Pilates photo on the cover.

This issue also features an Association report and great book reviews.

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