Dr. J was an outstanding professor. She was pretty, elegant, kind and compassionate. She was devoted to her work and her students. Her life of service was recognized by many awards.
Several months ago, she was diagnosed with a rare kind of cancer. Many of her colleagues, friends and students came to visit her. Her family surrounded her with love and care. A few days ago she passed away. The Facebook account set up in her memory is quickly filling up with condolences. She obviously touched many lives.
Her university is faced with many challenges: pressure to do research and publish; competition for resources to do research; the government gave her university with far less resources for research than some others; obsession with rankings inside and outside of the university; competition for good students; competition for publicity; ... I can’t help but feel that these pressures might have something to do with her health problems.
Sometimes it feels like true scholarship and education has been losing out amid the pressure to compete. It takes very strong faith and convictions to insist on living your life your own way. And not to conform to others’ expectations of you - even those out of good intentions.
There are signs it is changing in the right direction, putting teaching back at the right place in our university. For the sake of the students and their professors, let us pray that the changes continue. In the mean time, we shall remember Dr. J.