Professors shouldn’t be allowed to pad their pockets by assigning their own books

Photo: Kim Wiens

Professors shouldn’t be allowed to assign their own work because it’s a huge conflict of interest. Professors receive money from each textbook sold, and even if it is a small amount of money, it gives off the impression that they’re only in it for the money.

There are very few topics out there that don’t have enough scholarly articles available to create a course pack from, so there’s no need for a prof to assign their latest works.

Professors tell students to find a minimum number of sources for an essay, but can’t be bothered to find any more resources for a class than their own work. While a large amount of research does go into the creation of a textbook, and sources are published at the end of the book, students should have the opportunity to read conclusions reached by different people than the ones teaching them.

Forcing professors to assign alternative sources from their own also ensures that other ideas are being taught opinions besides those of the professor. Some profs like to see a student’s work reflect their own opinions and ideas rather than works that incorporate alternate views. Integrating works from different sources into the readings would alleviate the conflict of interest, and force professors to mark based on quality rather than conformity to their own ideals.


Trust professors to pick the best book—because we trust them with a lot more

It’s unreasonable to dispute a professor’s right to select the textbook to be used in their course. Without a doubt, some professors choose a book because they wrote it, or because it falls more in line with their views than other options.

Sometimes the professor will decide to assign a hideously expensive book. Yet none of these scenarios mean we need to take away the right of a professor to select the text for their course.

The job of a professor is to mould the young and eager into scholars. It’s a great task, privilege, and challenge. Only the most proficient scholars in each field can hope to achieve this position.

If we can’t trust these individuals to select an appropriate textbook, how can we trust them with our minds? If you agree that it’s the professor’s job to enlighten their students, but don’t trust their choice of book, then the problem is with the university’s ability to select capable professors.

If instead, you don’t think it’s the professor’s duty to teach their students, or you think that university is outdated, or are more interested in achieving technical know-how and a certificate, then the professor may not be capable of selecting a good book for you.

Those problems have less to do with the professor and more to do with an individual’s personal opinions of what a university should be teaching. Students can’t gain knowledge without a certain degree of trust given to our educators and the expertise that educator has in their field. If we can’t trust the professor to choose a book, it sets us up to lose respect for our professor and also the knowledge we gain from them while at university.