PROF. GIORDANO: The Changing of the Guard: From Educators to Ideologues

As older professors begin to retire, a new wave of educators is taking charge of the classroom, but these educators are different. It appears many are not properly trained on core educational concepts.

Nicholas Giordano is a professor of Political Science, the host of The P.A.S. Report Podcast, and a fellow at Campus Reform’s Higher Education Fellowship. With 2 decades of teaching experience and over a decade of experience in the emergency management/homeland security arena, Professor Giordano is regularly called on to speak about issues related to government, politics, and international relations.

The infiltration of far-left ideologies in college classrooms is not a unique occurrence. However, the entrance of the Millennial and Gen Z generations into academia is rapidly transforming higher education, as a new wave of ideologues replaces the retiring professors. This generational shift is sparking a dangerous cultural revolution that challenges the glue that holds America together. Consequently, radical ideologies are becoming more prevalent and influential in shaping the minds of the next generation.  

When I attended college, I encountered my share of far-left professors, but there was a profound difference between them and many of the younger professors that replaced them. My professors had command over the material due to the years of knowledge they accumulated in the subject field. They avoided letting their personal biases impact their impartiality. They encouraged debate and welcomed diversity of thought. They urged students to justify their conclusions using critical thinking, evidence, and facts, fostering rigorous analysis and intellectual independence. They demonstrated an appreciation of, and commitment to, education. 

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But as these professors begin to retire, a new wave of educators is taking charge of the classroom, but these educators are different. It appears many are not properly trained on core educational concepts, instead, believing their opinions and sense of self-righteousness are more important than the subject material. 

The millennials and Generation Z are the products of an education system where standards have been routinely lowered, leading to a decrease in the quality of work and a dramatic rise in grade inflation. Millennials also grew up during the self-esteem craze. 

The result? A significant number of them exhibit an inflated ego that renders them incapable of accepting constructive criticism or accept alternative perspectives.

The new generation of professors has spent their entire lives in an academic ecosystem- from undergraduate school and graduate school to teaching in the classroom, providing them with little real-world experience.

This trend stems from their homogenous backgrounds, creating an echo chamber. Researchers from the University of Colorado found that faculty are 25 times more likely to have a parent with a Ph.D., grow up in high-income neighborhoods, and receive extensive parental support during their educational journeys.

Data spanning 40 years incontrovertibly shows the far-left academic community’s fervor in hiring individuals who align with their own ideology. According to a 1984 Carnegie Foundation survey, the Democrat-to-Republican ratio among college faculty was 4.5:1. In a 2018 survey, the ratio stood at 12.7:1, and depending on the subject area, the ratio can be much higher. For example, the ratio in history in 2018 was 17.4:1, sociology 43.8:1, and anthropology 56:0.  In 2022, a Harvard University survey found that only 1.46% of faculty identify as conservative compared to the 82.46% that identify as liberal or very liberal.

As a result, professors that identify as moderate and conservative have become an endangered species. This will worsen as colleges around the country push for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (DEISJ) loyalty oaths in the hiring process. 

Even worse, the ramifications of this go far beyond the classroom. These individuals are responsible for training future leaders in business, industry, government, and policy. If one is wondering why corporations have become so political or why so many denigrate America and our history, look no further than our college campuses. 

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Scientific research and scholarship are also a concern, as higher education has played an indispensable role in shaping our national achievements. Ideology, if allowed to drive the research agenda, can ultimately stifle innovation and limit progress.

There is hope as a rising number of faculty members, including liberal professors, recognize the threat of this trend to higher education. With employers scrapping degree requirements, and parental/student concerns about indoctrination and tuition costs, many colleges face dwindling enrollment, leading academia to rethink higher education. 

The opposition to DEISJ initiatives is also expanding. We may be witnessing the nascent stages of putting an end to this pernicious cycle.

Education, one of the true guardians of liberty, must be fiercely protected from being hijacked by ideologues who threaten to undermine its vital role in shaping a free and open society.

Editorials and op-eds reflect the opinion of the authors and not necessarily that of Campus Reform or the Leadership Institute.