BYU Professor Now "Former" Professor....

I would have to say that the writing was on the wall here... Announced this morning, BYU Philosophy professor Jeffrey Nielson has been informed that his teaching contract will not be renewed for September. This is in response to an Op/Ed piece that was published in the Salt Lake Tribune. I noted it here for its clear exposition of the problems with the LDS Church's POLITICAL position it took with regard to the proposed Constitutional amendment regarding gay marriage. There was some speculation on the web that the tribune piece was a "bait" piece, set out to attract BYU signatori, in hopes of flushing more holders of this opinion from the bushes among the staff at BYU.

It was not always this way for Nielson... he has been in good stead with the University, and has even received awards for work he authored regarding organizational leadership. His book "The Myth Of Leadership" garnered praise from his colleages as well as natinal critics.

Colleagues call him a good inquirer; he says the love of wisdom manifests itself in asking questions.

Now asking questions of leadership norms is giving Professor Jeffrey Nielsen a chance at two national book awards.

The BYU philosophy professor’s book, “The Myth of Leadership: Creating Leaderless Organizations,” has been nominated for the Independent Publisher’s Book Award and the Foreword Magazine Book Award. The awards will be presented Friday at a trade show in New York City.

The book states that modern leadership is rank-based, that is, focused on position in a hierarchy. This system wastes human potential and supports corruption and secrecy, Nielsen said.

“It’s that rank-based context that lead us to surrender our intelligence, our freedom and wisdom to the select few that make all the decisions,” he said. “Not only does it lead to more inefficient organizations, it also leads to less meaningful ones.”

BYU NewsNet ("Let There Be Light") [but not too much] - June 3, 2005

I have stated many times over several years, and here as well, that the Church has no business in the pursuit of offering a so-called rounded educational experience at BYU. That is not what that is. It's a private college, and that is great, it is what it is, but it is not a well-rounded education, and they should not be touting it as such. They also have no business in the NCAA, but that's another rant for another day.

For their efforts, BYU gets my weekly "Golden WTF Holy Grail Award", a new distinction that is implimented starting this week.

Incidentally, this Nielson is the guest on Radio West today on KUER at 11 AM.


for what it's worth said...

I love that one is allowed to have an opinion as long as it's the same opinion as; the church, the school, the government, your job or popular media. ( Sadly for our kind Professor, he ticked of 4 out of the listed 5 in one fell swoop)
The second that you get a thought of your own, you are drowned in policies before you even get to express it. So much for freedom of speech.
Oh, and I guess he did get sent to the Principal's office. And I was right, they even took away his pencil for thinking outside the box.
Sounds like his leaving will be noticed. It's hard to get good post-secondary professors who are interested in teaching, not solely publishing and establishing tenure. Sounds like he might have been that kind of man.

Reach Upward said...

I have pretty much felt since I was a kid that the BYU experience is great for what it is, but that it is not what the world would call a well-rounded educational experience. On the other hand, many of our secular universities that do offer a 'well-rounded education' are at least as close-minded as BYU. Question the established orthodoxy at your own risk. What happened to Nielson at the Y happens all the time to non-tenured professors at secular universities. In fact, it happens so often that it rarely becomes news.

My main problem with BYU is the strongly manifested superiority complex that is rampant among a certain segment of the faculty and student body. I have been to BYU many times and have appreciated the offerings in which I have participated there, but I chose to attend and obtain my degrees from low-life universities instead. BYU is fine for what it is, but it wasn't the place for me.

That One Guy said...

"My main problem with BYU is the strongly manifested superiority complex that is rampant among a certain segment of the faculty and student body."

Reach: you have a knack for understatement.


Magic Valley Mormon said...


The Washington Post reports that a man is fired for publicly expressing his view opposing gay marriage.

The knife cuts both ways...

That One Guy said...

Indeed political knives have two sides. He wasn't fired for his stand opposing gay marriage, but he was fired for calling gays "sexual deviants" on a cable TV show. He was fired from employment with Maryland State's Metro Transit Authority. Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr maintains an administrative policy of "commitment to inclusiveness, tolerance and opportunity," as stated in the article.

Why can't we all just be happy to get along and like people just for being good people?


Thanks for the link.