By bringing their activism into the classroom, Ithaca College professors are giving students more than a basic education. They are offering a real-world take on issues that students may otherwise only understand through text and guest lecturers.
The personal experience professors like Beth Harris, Fred Wilcox and Patricia Rodriguez bring to the classroom gives students an opportunity to make connections beyond the campus bubble. For those interested in holding up the activist torch professionally, having a well-connected and truly knowledgeable professor is a major career benefit. For others, knowing someone within the activist circle is a rare opportunity to see inside a specific political or social movement.
While openly activist professors can use their experiences to engage their students, they also have a responsibility to leave intellectual bias out of both classroom discourse and their grade books.
Faculty leaders should ensure professors with a history of activism have different political ideologies. By offering students the opportunity to take courses with professors of various mindsets, the college will better prepare its students for life after graduation.