Author’s Note: Those wishing to follow this column should note that the subject of the controversy, a course syllabus, can be accessed here (http://www.uncw.edu/soccrm/documents/proceduresyllabus.pdf).
Last Friday I was sitting in my office with a couple of students. We were going over an exam and talking about the schedule for the rest of the semester. While we were talking, I got an unexpected email from another professor. I shared it with my students. After reading it, they begged me to respond and to share my response with others.
Because I am a faithful public servant, I decided to honor their request. Professor Richard’s letter is reprinted below, along with my response. Of course, I got his permission to share his letter with the general public. Richard’s privacy is important to me. And so is his approval.
Dear Professor (Adams),
I was perusing the web for an example of a good syllabus and came across your own for Criminal Procedure. We here too at Elmhurst College originally had a single course called, Criminal Law and Procedure and like you divided it into two classes now being taught by an attorney in Chicago.
I had never heard of Elmhurst College when I received your letter but I kept on reading anyway. I’m not an elitist. Just so you’ll know, Richard, I finished in the bottom 1 percent of my class in high school and subsequently got all of my degrees from Mississippi State. So who am I to judge? In fact, I’m so humble my next book is tentatively titled “Ten Steps to Humility: And How I Made It in Seven.”
I took the liberty of reading your "Who is Davidson Meyers" story and it was certainly most unique and frankly in over 23 years of teaching at such institutions as State University of New York, California State University and Loyola Chicago, never saw anything like it. First, I was concerned you were violating the privacy of students but you adequately explained that you received the permission of the student. I just have a few questions for you.
Richard, I have been around academia long enough to realize that when a professor starts listing his credentials it means he’s about to scold you and you’d better listen. I was scared when I read this paragraph. But I kept on reading anyway. I’m open to criticism, even from Richards I don’t know.
Did you receive the permission of the Paula Tyndall? If not, how were you able to use her name?