A few days ago outrage took place in the usually more quiet world of academics. We don’t complain much (well, we do, just nobody hears or cares about it) and just ‘do our thing’. That ‘academics stuff’ that nobody really understands anyways. This past week however something happened to connect the world of academics with world of entertainment. Angelina Jolie was appointed visiting professor at LSE, the London School of Economics and reactions where divided, to say the least.
Professor Angelina Jolie
Lots of articles have been written about why academics think that’s not a good move by LSE stating that academics all over the world work hard (and long, and are underpaid) to get a shot at a somewhat prestigious institution like LSE certainly is while Angelina Jolie simply gets it handed. Moreover she doesn’t have any essential background in the field of academics and while she obviously did a lot of good work representing different causes this is far off what ‘real’ academics have to do.
It is, however, a nice marketing opportunity for LSE of course and if Ms. Jolie really has relevant information to share it would be a shame not to use the connections that lead to his appointment. The question however is wouldn’t it be enough to simply have her as guest lecturer once in a while? Does it need to be a professor appointment signaling that you don’t necessarily need to have essential credentials in order to become a professor at LSE?
Academics = snobs
The other side of the table now takes about how cool it is to see Jolie being appointed to LSE. It means they are trying something new, disrupting the process and are not afraid to make bold steps. The academics that are complaining are just old, greedy guys that want to keep the academic elite for themselves. They act snobbish in discrediting Jolie and, if they really are ‘better’ academics, they shouldn’t be afraid of a strong woman pushing into field.
Personally I’m somewhere caught in between. Slight tendencies towards the first point of view though. However I do think that it’s ‘cool’ that LSE tries something new and makes bold moves. However I still believe that a position as guest lecturer or something similar would have made more sense and just ‘handing’ her the position of visiting professor is somehow insulting towards ‘real’ academics who bust their asses in order to get such a chance once in a lifetime.
That’s my personal opinion though. What are yours?
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