Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Celebrity Professors

No, not Greg Mankiw/Mick Jaggar.

The Chronicle of Higher Ed has an article discussing the various benefits and costs of having actual celebrities teach university classes. The example used is Kal Penn (of "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle") teaching a class on the image of Asian Americans in the media for the University of Pennsylvania.

My first thought...if a university wants to experiment to find something that works, let them. They bare the consequences of their decisions.

My second thought...Shit! Everybody in the world thinks they know economics and offer up loud vociferous opinions, especially celebrities. Economic ignoramus extraordinaire Michael Moore and protectionist Lou Dobbs could wind up teaching micro principles under this trend!

I'm on the fence, but leaning towards putting more weight on the first thought.


Matt E. Ryan said...

I'd say the universities do bare some of the cost, but there's a big externality spread on the rest of society when it comes to economics. We certainly don't want a society of people with Michael Moore's understanding of economics-- it would turn the US into one big West Virginia.

danarch said...

Well, we'd hope that the university would have the celebrities teach something they actually know about. Michael Moore would be much more valuable to the school as a film or drama teacher than an econ prof - I don't think universities are stupid enough to pay Kal Penn to teach biology just because he's on House.