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March 17, 2011


envelopeTo the editor:

In a recent interview (March 4) on Charlie Rose’s 11 p.m. PBS show, Nobel Laureate Paul Nurse, president of Rockefeller University, adjured university administrators (e.g. chancellors and presidents, provosts, deans,and directors) not to flaunt or otherwise exert power over professors but, instead, to liberate — repeat: liberate, liberate — them. What a refreshing, challenging, inspiring and progressive idea, liberating the professoriate, thereby reinforcing, strengthening, the professor’s quest for knowledge and his or her capacity to engage in scholarly activities. This is  certainly not to suggest — no way! — that Pitt’s leadership is remiss in this regard, but is, rather, to suggest that the administrator’s quiver of tools to broaden and deepen professorial productivity and excellence should include and underscore the forceful meaning of liberate, of cognitive and intellectual liberation, enabling those of us who schlep our weary though eager carcasses in the classroom and in our labs to be free, uninhibited, unshackled in our pursuit of knowledge, of truth.

What I am saying here is clearly not new; rather, it’s perhaps a new way, thanks to Paul Nurse, of loosening up the reins on professors, urging them to giddyap, giddyap!

Robert Perloff

Distinguished Service Professor

of Business Administration and of Psychology


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