Monday, April 30, 2007

Grafton on Cambridge

In today's Daily Princetonian, professor of history Anthony Grafton checks in from Cambridge University, where he's spending the year. Read the whole column, but here are a few highlights:

- "I'm working hard again, on what I hope will be described in much the same way as Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, legendarily said to the historian of the Roman Empire, 'Another damned thick book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh, Mr. Gibbon?' Every day I spend long hours in the Rare Book Room of the Cambridge University Library, reading books so obscure that even Firestone doesn't have them."

- "
Faculty, not professional deans, handle admissions. They then work with their students they let in, one on one, sometimes following them from admissions to the Ph.D. Hearing them talk about they way they prepare students for the all-important exams is like listening to the trainers at the Kentucky Derby. They are professionals, and the task engages them deeply."

Some worthwhile insights into the way things work across the Pond.