March 9, 2004

Allen a good deal for the U of C

Some say that those who can't do, teach. The sad fact is, some who do teach, especially in the world of academia, couldn't instruct a cat to catch a mouse. Genius and teaching ability often do not easily mix in the same person.

But Danielle Allen is one of those exceptions where a great mind also knows exactly how to successfully educate others. At 32, she's already earned two Ph.D.s in Classics and political theory from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University, respectively, and her MacArthur Fellowship tops a long list of honors and awards she's amassed over the years. If that résumé doesn't make any U of C student green with envy, we're not sure what would.

But the accolades don't end there. In 2001, she was also honored with the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, which is voted on by students in the College. She is not only brilliant, but she is an effective teacher as well—effective enough to inspire time-strapped U of C undergraduates voluntarily to take a moment out of their day and explain exactly why she is so good.

We commend the University's decision to appoint Allen dean of the Humanities Division, an important position through which she will oversee 15 different departments throughout the University. Too often we've seen important scholars leave the U of C for the Ivies, but the administration seems serious about keeping Allen on campus. This policy should be continued in the future.