"Historians value integrity, David; you should too if you truly are one of us." So wrote a senior professor, a named chair at a regional public university on the West Coast, chiding me in an email. My sin: calling myself a "senior academic adviser to the history department at the University of Minnesota" in an opinion essay I wrote recently for CNN.
This professor decided I was falsely claiming to be some kind of senior adviser to the faculty, rather than merely an academic adviser, senior in rank, assigned to work with undergraduates in the history department. By suggesting that history departments need senior advisers, he wrote, "you make us look like incompetent fools." He added: "Good for you that you have this public profile. But please don’t advance it by trivializing what tenured and tenure-track history faculty, including those at your own university, do." As for my job title, he insisted that "no such positions formally exist at universities, those that still have
standards, at least."