Monday, August 26, 2013

"American Professor" Spoke out on Academia Issues

Dr. Kaibin Xu, an assistant professor of Temple University, wrote in Chinese media regarding academia issues in the US, illustrated with his own experience.

Dr. Xu was not a stranger to be seen making public comments regarding testy issues in China when they were in-need. A few years back, when a Chinese professor was disciplined after student informants tipped the authority, the country was shocked on using students to spy on their professors. Dr. Xu published an article in Chinese media, self-described as an 'American Professor", defended the authority by testifying the same would have happened in a US classroom.

Recently, amid outcries on tightened control in universities across China, Dr. Xu spoke on academia life in the US. Again, his article was full of inaccurate information, in some places, incorrect information.

On racial tension:


I was shocked upon arrival at the LAX. Not even a single occasion did I witness a black and a white talking to each other.

Dr. Xu described a segregated airport terminal at LAX, where no single black spoke to white and vice versa, upon his arrival to the US around year 2000. Admittedly there are still large room for improvement, however you would not observe a busy terminal full of passengers where people of different skin colors did not mingle in the 21 century, not in Los Angeles.

About left-liberals:


Mainstream scholars in Humanities are left-liberals, who bear deeply rooted discrimination against Blacks.

I bet most 'left-liberals' would reject this serious accusation.

On public v. private:


From K-12, public schools suffered from poor quality. Students attending public schools had great difficulties to get in good universities.

The great majority of American youth went to public schools, many with excellent quality. The great majority of students enrolled by top-tier universities graduated from public schools.

On the social hierarchy in a department:


Three years ago, when I made a few suggestions regarding Master level education, several professors at the scene were startled for my candidness. They have been used to kissing up to the administration. How come a new comer like me dare to offer suggestions?

Anyone familiar with US academia would know this could not be true, unless the Temple University was not in the US.

Regarding academia freedom:


"Faculty runs the school" became an void statement

Having gone through the US education system, and having been a faculty at a decent university, Dr. Xu should have known better. Faculty does not run the school, the administration does. On the other hand, professors controls the academic side, for example the curriculum.

Overall, Dr. Xu's Chinese publications painted a gloomy snapshot of the US academic world, which in every way smells like communist propaganda. A curious reader would wonder whether Dr. Xu truly believes in what he wrote, or were those words simply quick ways to make up for a poorly paid job. Dr. Xu's infomercial pieces might appear deceptive to many Chinese who have not set foot in the US, regretfully.

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