Here is a listing of new faculty. Highlights:

1) Too many visitors. Williams should have fewer visitors and more permanent faculty. Of course, having visitors is very convenient for current faculty (which is why there is so much of it). First, it allows current faculty to provide a nice benefit to a friend and/or bring someone they like to campus for a year. Second, it is much easier to hire a visitor than it is to cajole/coerce current faculty to adjust their leave schedules to ensure that all required courses are taught with enough frequency to take care of majors.

How might Adam Falk fix this? Simple: Approve fewer visitors! Or, more subtly, convene a College committee to study the issue. Such a committee (if staffed appropriately) would easily discover the truth: that visitors do a (much?) worse job teaching than Williams faculty. This applies to both their regular course evaluations (which is their fault) but also to their inability (which is not really their fault) to form long-term relationships with Williams students.

2) Glad to see some new Ephs hires.

Charles Doret ’02
Brent Yorgey ’04
Seulghee Lee ‘07

I bet that they are much more likely to work out well than non-Eph professors.

3) Joseph Ellis is back. According to Wikipedia:

In June 2001 the Boston Globe revealed that Ellis had lied to his students in lectures and to the media about his role in American culture and the Vietnam War years. He claimed to have been a combat platoon leader in Vietnam, to have been active in civil rights campaigns in the south, and to have been an anti-war leader at Yale. His actual military record consisted of obtaining a graduate student deferral of service until 1969 and then teaching history at West Point until 1972. Ellis issued a public apology in August 2001 after the truth was exposed. In the ensuing controversy, Mount Holyoke suspended him without pay for a year, indefinitely suspended his status as an endowed chair, and removed him from teaching during the 2001-2002 academic year.

What lesson should Williams students learn about the importance of honesty by the College’s decision to bring Ellis to teach?

The correct lesson: Honesty is less important than having friends in the right places . . .

My views haven’t changed from 11 (!) years ago:

[M]y main concern is that Williams, by the very act of inviting Ellis to speak, honors him. The money is a secondary concern. By honoring Ellis, Williams implies that lying to undergraduates — or perhaps lying in general — is no big deal. I think that this is not a good message to send to either undergraduates or to the larger community.

Surely there was an honest and responsible scholar who could have lectured in Ellis’s place . . .

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