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21st-century virtues and vices: collecting stories from the field

How are academics molded by the institutions in which they work? What do teaching and mentoring do with the kind of persons we are? How does competition for money or status affect our mental habits? What kind of conduct do 21st-century universities encourage (e.g., by rewarding it) or discourage? In short, what are typically 21st-century academic virtues and vices?

These are central questions for a series of guest columns on this website. We have two reasons for launching this series. First, we are interested in current perceptions of academic virtues and vices. What do scholars experience as virtuous or vicious in their day-to-day work? And how helpful are the seemingly old-fashioned categories of virtue and vice in this regard? Secondly, it strikes us as important to encourage debate on these issues – if only to increase awareness of how academic life shapes scholars’ mental habits.

We are therefore soliciting contributions from scholars across the academic spectrum. We ask them: What do you perceive as important virtues or dangerous vices in your academic context? What is it that makes these mental habits virtuous of vicious, in your perception?