OFFICE HOURS: One Academic Life By H.N. Hirsch, PhD Explores the Crisis in Higher Education

Industry: Books

OFFICE HOURS: One Academic Life is a thought-provoking reflection on academia during a time when the crisis in higher education has never been more acute

United States (PRUnderground) December 12th, 2016

OFFICE HOURS: One Academic Life By H.N. Hirsch, PhD

In his view, the government has increasingly forsaken its obligation to students, while universities have metamorphosed into unaffordable and irresponsible institutions predicated on the undercompensated work of adjuncts…His fluid prose varies to fit the subject at hand…the author’s voice is so cozy and sincere that the reader happily follows him through his recollections, wherever they may lead…A well-crafted, wistful memoir of life in higher education.

—Kirkus Reviews

Anyone stepping onto a university campus today can feel the tension H.N. Hirsch describes in his work Office Hours: One Academic Life…His kind yet no-nonsense approach makes this a book that should be standard reading for those of us already teaching in higher education as well as in first year introduction to teaching classes so that those entering the profession do so with open eyes.

—San Francisco Book Review

“This is the story of a serious scholar finding his vocation, his students and his gratifications, amidst the near-impossibility of such discoveries in higher education today. The writing is beautiful and the accounts of times, places and institutions are alternatively moving, penetrating and provocative.”

—Wendy Brown, PhD
Professor of Political Science
University of California, Berkeley

HirschFrontCover_highest res_001 EDITED.jpgProfessor H.N. Hirsch of Oberlin College’s passionate and insightful memoir, OFFICE HOURS: One Academic Life (Quid Pro Books, LLC; February 2015; hardcover $29.99; paperback $19.99; ebook $8.99), is a thought-provoking reflection on academia during a time when the crisis in higher education has never been more acute.

Hirsch should know: A career university educator and administrator, he has taught at Harvard, the University of California, and is currently Professor of Politics (and a former dean) at Oberlin College. His first-hand observations and trenchant criticisms of today’s university culture are sure to compel the attention and respect of those in as well as outside of academia.

Even a cursory glance at today’s headlines reveals that higher education is in crisis. Tuition outpaces inflation. States slash budgets. Graduation rates decline. Technology threatens to replace everything. Universities continue to grind out PhDs, poorly paid adjunct instructors who will do most of the teaching yet rarely advance to tenured positions. Those who do get tenure find themselves mired in the publish-or-perish rat race, having to publish more and more.

Although thousands of students apply all over the world to attend American’s most prestigious colleges and pay top dollar to do so, the truth is that most of them are herded into increasingly large lecture halls and rarely have the opportunity to interact with professors, much less be mentored by them.

What are colleges really like? What does academia do wrong and what does it do right? What is it really like to be a professor and administrator at one of America’s prestigious educational institutions? How can the modern university system be reformed and reinvigorate its prestige and reputation?

In OFFICE HOURS: One Academic Life, Professor Hirsch, drawing upon decades of first-hand experience as a professor and university administrator can give your readers answers to these troublesome questions.

Among the many issues Professor Hirsch discusses include:

  • How President-Elect Donald Trump will affect higher education and the LGBTIA movement in America
  • Why contemporary public support for higher education is lukewarm at best and that criticism of its performance from all quarters is rapidly increasing.
  • The sacrifices and compromises academics must make to ensure their economic survival—often at the expense of their own real talents and their students.
  • How the disdain for the importance of teaching has a huge impact on how academics spend their time and on the quality of what transpires in the classroom as a result.
  • The absurdity of the publish-or-perish syndrome that militates against the best interests of scholars and can even ruin their careers.
  • Why the present definition as to what counts as scholarship needs to be seriously reconsidered.
  • Why the modern university’s commodification of knowledge corrupts higher learning and fails to advance the cause of genuine scholarship.
  • The ongoing discrimination within academia against the LGBT community. Too often, a university’s commitment to LGBT issues is little more than lip service.

Students, parents, educators as well as citizens concerned about education in America will find Professor Hirsch’s OFFICE HOURS: One Academic Life to be an unflinchingly honest memoir, an eye-opening yet rewarding experience that will enlighten and even entertain.

Book reviewers and other media professionals wishing to review the book or interview the author should contact, Gilbert K. Zachary at ProBookMarketing. Phone: 845-493-0468 E-mail:

Title: Office Hours: One Academic Life
Author: H.N. Hirsch
Publisher: Quid Pro Books
Pub Date: February 2016
ISBN: 9781610273336 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781610273381 (cloth)
ISBN: 9781610273374 (e-book)

About H.N. Hirsch, PhD

H.N. Hirsch was born in Chicago and educated at the University of Michigan and at Princeton University. He has been on the faculties of Harvard, the University of California (San Diego), Macalester College, and Oberlin where he has served as the Dean of the Faculty and is currently Professor of Politics. He is the author of The Enigma of Felix Frankfurter and A Theory of Liberty: The Constitution and Minorities as well as the edited volume of The Future of Gay Rights in America. In addition, he is the author of numerous scholarly articles on constitutional law, gay and gender politics, and American political thought.

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