The Associated Press reports that University of Alabama - Huntsville students had banded together to let university administrators know something "wasn't quite right" about Professor Amy Bishop. "She taught by reading straight out of the textbook, never made eye contact and liked to remind people constantly that she went to Harvard." Here's the link. Of course this kind of incompetent, obnoxious behavior characterizes many professors -- and to Alabama's credit, it may help to explain why Bishop was denied tenure. What is sad is that she lasted long enough to be eligible for tenure -- why wasn't she weeded out during her first year, if her teaching was as pathological as these students have claimed? Of course it's now widely known that Bishop had killed her teenage brother in Massachusetts, and had been a suspect in a pipe-bombing attempted murder at Harvard. I've come to think that background checks are appropriate for every tenure-track hire. I can see tort cases arising from "negligent hiring" of dangerous faculty.
- February 18, 2010