Today's recording concludes the eight-week series of readings from Mens et Mania: The MIT Nobody Knows by Samuel Jay Keyser. To top off the series, we are excited to offer a 15 percent discount on Mens et Mania to our blog readers (when purchased through The MIT Press website). Follow this link, which will automatically apply the discount, to access the complete set of recordings and to get your copy of the book just in time for the holidays. *In the (unlikely) event that the discount doesn't appear when you click the link, have no fear--simply manually enter the discount code "keyserblog11" in the shopping cart to get the discount.*.
Last week, Samuel Jay Keyser discussed MIT's hacking culture. In this final recording, Jay reads a bit more from Chapter 8: Hacking and answers questions about the power of judgment at MIT.
Did you ever see ways that this faculty judgment existed within the faculty as well, putting similar pressure on faculty members to constantly be the best of the best?
I think that excellence is the driving force at MIT. Its faculty feels guilty if it is not moving intellectual mountains. Look at me. I am 76 years old. I’ve been officially retired since 1998 and I have an article coming out in a professional journal this fall. Why do I bother with that? Why don’t I just say, “Enough is enough?” I think the reason is that I feel compelled to continue to command the respect of my colleagues as long as I possibly can.
Do you think it makes the faculty’s job more difficult or easier, knowing that they have this vital power of judgment?
I don’t think it is a question of difficult or easy. It is what you are supposed to do as a faculty member. You have to teach and then assess each student on how well that student has managed to learn. Not to do that is not doing your job.