In obituaries of historians, teaching accomplishments are undervalued: Opinion

In an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Peter Burkholder (Fairleigh Dickinson University) and Lendol G Calder (Augustana College) reveal that obituaries of historians recurringly undervalue teaching accomplishments. After conducting an analysis of 150 obituaries published in Perspectives on History between 1996 and 2021, the scholars found that the obituary-column space dedicated to research achievements dwarfed that of teaching, even though many academics devote more time to teaching than any other professional activity. According to Burkholder and Calder, these obituaries highlight how research is viewed as a more significant achievement than teaching and create a “warped impression of who historians are.” The authors conclude by calling on the academic community to start commemorating teaching accomplishments more alongside other aspects of academic careers that have previously gone unappreciated.

The Chronicle of Higher Education