On The Decline Author: Neeraja Sankaran

The time-honored tradition of visiting professorships -- invitations extended to faculty taking sabbaticals from their own institutions to teach and do research here -- will once again be in evidence as schools reopen in the fall.

As throngs of students return to their classrooms and laboratories, they may find that certain familiar faces are missing or replaced by new ones, or that there are new names and courses listed in the fall directories.

The practice of university faculty members' taking extended leave to go here "is an important part of the academic culture," comments Robert Birgeneau, a professor of physics and dean of the School of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As Alan Teramura, dean of the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, points out, many universities make provisions in their schedules for the absence of full-time faculty members...

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