In the world of higher academia, the old adage “publish or perish” is a guiding principle (even if somewhat stereotypical and exaggerated). Why the emphasis on publishing?
One could argue, quite easily, that it is the inevitable result of a pragmatic view of education – if the faculty of the university is not “producing,” then they are dead weight. Additionally, if professors are not producing works which are “publicized” then they are not helping to draw in students interested in those respective fields.
But, is there a less sinister, more significant reason for the stress placed upon faculty production? Perhaps. There is at least an important lesson which could and must be drawn, in altered form, from the old adage and applied in classical schools. “Publish or perish” is an attempt at keeping teachers honest. It seeks to keep faculty members from atrophy; intellectual stagnation.
Does it go too far? Most likely. Intellectual growth is not always measurable in the form of CEU certificates, published writings, or graduate credits. The cultivation of wisdom does not always leave a paper trail.
The point, however, should be clear – that in order to teach, one must learn. As another old adage claims, “To cease to learn is to cease to teach.”