We live in a world where visibility counts, be it in number of followers on Twitter, Instagram likes, or the reach of our Facebook posts. In this inaugural lecture, Amanda considers the role of the professor in that context, as a visible academic representing her discipline and institution through multiple outputs and high-impact research.
Suggesting something else might be at stake, she turns to Walden, the much-celebrated work by American essayist and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, who famously wrote there were many professors, but few who professed. Professor Fulford draws on Thoreau’s work, exploring what his claim might tell us about being a ‘profess-or’ in a contemporary university, suggesting there’s more to ‘professing’ than public declaration – a professor should stand in and by their subject, she argues, and in Thoreau’s words, pursue their work with simplicity, independence, magnanimity and trust.
Professor Fulford joined Edge Hill University in September 2018 as Head of Professional Learning in the Faculty of Education. Her research is in the philosophy of education, and higher education. She co-wrote Philosophy and Theory in Educational Research: Writing in the Margin, and two upcoming volumes – an international handbook on public philosophy, and an edited monograph on philosophers in the university. She also edits, for the Springer series, Debating Higher Education.