Friday, October 1, 2004 Celebrity Professors Add Value

Georgetown has a lot to offer its students: over 200 years of Jesuit tradition. A charming neighborhood in Washington, D.C. Easy access to fantastic internships. A wide array of extracurriculars here on the Hilltop. But one of the greatest assets of Georgetown is the opportunity to interact with a marquis faculty rivaling that of the nation’s best universities.

So-called celebrity professors, such as former Spanish Prime inister Jose Maria Aznar, contribute more to the campus than a fancy name. These faculty members truly add another dimension to a Georgetown education.

Often, such professors spend little time at Georgetown and do not necessarily teach in a classroom setting. And there can indeed be advantages to offering positions that do not have the same requirements as full-time professor. Many such professors would never be able to come to Georgetown at all if they had to commit to teaching three classes a semester. It is certainly better to have them in their current capacities than for them not to be here at all.

Even when celebrity professors do not have regularly scheduled classes, the opportunity to learn outside of classes greatly enriches the education that students receive. Whether it is interaction with the authors that lend their time to the first-year academic workshop, or performing with Bobby McFerrin in concert, these out-of-classroom experiences often prove to be among the most valuable Georgetown has to offer.

Many professors, particularly in the School of Foreign Service, are still heavily involved in other organizations in D.C., but still take time out of their busy schedules to teach on the Hilltop.

The value of professors who have lived their lives in the “ivory tower” and are the leading academics in their field is immense. But having professors who bring practical worldly experience gives Georgetown students an edge over peers at any other college.

The more the university can bring such interesting and diverse faculty to the Hilltop, and the more interaction students can have with them, the better. Since Georgetown is in D.C., there are probably still hordes of untapped candidates who would love to give a helping hand to the oldest university in the nation’s capital.

Students, faculty and administrators alike should recognize this unique experience and thank these busy professors for their contributions to Georgetown.

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