In response to Donald Kerr’s letter ("McMaster Policy Revisited," Bulletin, May 2005), I would like to point out that one aspect of the topic has been ignored, namely, that an academic appointment entails between eight and 10 years of education beyond the average school-leaving level. This means an academic is exposed to many more ideas and cultural experiences than is the average citizen. Thus, in addition to contributions to civic discourse based on a narrow field of expertise, an academic can also make valuable contributions based on his or her wider knowledge of politics, the environment or municipal matters, gained because he or she has been trained at the university to seek information in an organized manner. It is this wider and objectively gained education that allows an academic to put forward his or her views over a signature distinguished by the title "Professor."
Retired Professor, Computing & Software McMaster University