Saturday, September 26, 2009

UK versus US academic culture

Well, I could make quite a few comments here, but let me instead just link to an observation that one other person has made on the blog Lawyers, Guns, and Money. Note that I have not noticed anything similar during my time here, so I have no idea how widespread this is. It's an interest blog entry, and I'll leave it at that except for one thing: The article to which that blog entry links is both disturbing and outrageous. What century are we living in? How can people think that way?

Update (9/27/09): It occurs to me that it's worth commenting that friendships between faculty and students are definitely much more common in Oxford than in any of the institutions where I have been before simply because (due to the College system) there are many more opportunities for social interactions between students and faculty. I suppose it then makes sense that there might similarly be more opportunities for relationships (especially of the 'conflict of interest' variety) to arise. Though that wouldn't explain anything about UK schools that don't have a Collegiate system. My own best friend in Oxford happens to be a graduate student, but I don't see myself being able to similarly become friends with, e.g., somebody in mathematics because of my own reservations based on how I was brought up academically. (And even if I were able to overcome that---and I don't believe that this is something that I should even try to overcome---I would obviously be recusing myself from being an Examiner, etc. just as if I had advised that student.)

(Tip of the cap to Justin.)

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