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Endorsements for The Professoriate Today – Languishing in Dante’s Purgatory
Robert A. Smith, JD, Managing partner, Smith, Hiatt, and Diaz (retired).
The Hampton book offers a keen insight into the status of professors in colleges and
universities. As the father of a young woman in graduate school, I am familiar with the
stresses of pursuing the doctoral degree. I was less familiar with the fact that the pain
continues as the assistant professor pursues a full-time appointment. I reflected on the
quote about the juvenile sea squirt. When it finds its home for life, it no longer needs to
think. Does it really eat its brain? Is the same true for a professor who gets tenure? I
enjoyed the reflections throughout this book. The portrayal of the journeys by Dante and
the aspiring professor are compelling. I recommend this book to anyone concerned
about the current state of higher education in the United States.
Mary McDonough, Ph.D, Current Professor / Prior Chief Academic Officer,
Organization Development Specialist, and UPS Executive.
Jack Hampton offers a glimpse into the culture of higher education through his vetting of
the university tenure system. His ability to use both humor and stark reality in exploring
this cultural anomaly is an eye-opener for academics and citizens alike. He
demonstrates that, what at times looks like "hazing" robs valuable time and resources
from the heart of the educational process. Although tenure is seen as a badge of honor,
the process is described by Hampton as meaningless and inane given the arbitrary
hoop-jumping required. It is an "all-hands-on-deck" time for higher education, a time to
revisit the University tenure process through a new set of eyes.
Nathan Sambul, Entrepreneur / Investor / Visiting Professor at universities in the
U.S.A. and Europe.
You’ve decided you want to be a college professor. Stop. Before you spend the next 610 years getting your doctorate, read Hampton’s informative, thought providing, startling
and often amusing assessment of this prestigious profession. Hampton will guide you
through the dissertation process, help you keep your sanity while getting tenure, and
highlight the characteristics you need to become a superstar professor. Keep a pen
handy because you’ll want to check off many of the gems in this book as you become
the great professor you’ve always wanted to be.
Linda Hermansen McNeely, Ph.D, Visiting Instructor of Marketing, University of
This book is a courageously unvarnished look at the implications of academia as a
career choice. Its rules are starkly different from those of practitioners, and its objectives
often lack alignment with those of students, parents and the industries in need of an
educated labor force. Using questions and answers, stories, studies and personal
observation, John Hampton takes readers through the maze of processes, contexts and
attitudes that are invisible to outsiders. It is a clear wake-up call that academic
preparation via the Ph.D. and post-doctoral career progress toward tenure are not
designed to produce optimal student outcomes. Hampton’s work provides a valuable
basis for focus on student interests and the role of universities as facilitators and
enablers of student success.
George Schafer, middle and secondary school teacher, assistant principal and
principal (retired).
Hampton’s book captures a lesson for so many natural-born teachers. Maybe higher
education as currently formulated is not the path for them. I saw this in a science
teacher who could not make it at the doctoral level in Oceanography. As a sixth-grade
teacher, he shared wonderful lessons with students, encouraged them to careers in
science, and fulfilled many of his expectations. Sure, he felt disappointment but at least
he got out. Other struggling professors should read Hampton’s book to help them make
the right choices.