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The Key To Academic Bliss Can Be Found In Large Or Small Departments

INDIVIDUALITY: James Perley has found that a small department enables a researcher to be "your own person." When biologist James Perley first began teaching at Ohio's Wooster College in 1967, he wasn't sure he'd like it. Wooster is a small place. Perley, however, had studied and worked in big schools, including the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. In a small department, would he feel content-or claustrophobic? Content, as it turns out. Nearly 20 years later, Perley is still

Kathryn Brown


INDIVIDUALITY: James Perley has found that a small department enables a researcher to be "your own person."
When biologist James Perley first began teaching at Ohio's Wooster College in 1967, he wasn't sure he'd like it. Wooster is a small place. Perley, however, had studied and worked in big schools, including the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. In a small department, would he feel content-or claustrophobic?

Content, as it turns out. Nearly 20 years later, Perley is still at Wooster, in a department with seven other faculty members. "I've found that in a small department, you're really an individual, your own person," says Perley, who also is president of the Washington, D.C.-based American Association of University Professors. "You may be the only one responsible for your professional area." As the lone teacher and researcher of a given subject, a professor must creatively cover a lot of territory....

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