Two types of innovators baffle academia

Conceptual and experimental innovators pose difficult problems for educational institutions that seek to catch geniuses at their prime. Setting aside some obvious practical and ethical problems, could a university fill its faculty with conceptual innovators early in their careers, experimental innovations later?

In real life, one tendency is for young geniuses to win tenure on the basis of early breakthroughs, then fade into mediocrity.

Marcy Peek points out a couple of other implications in the “Concurring Opinions” blog:

“while the steady upward-creep in age for new law professors may cause legal academia to miss out on some of our most important conceptual leaps (because the conceptual innovators are plugging along in their two years of clerkships, for example), the myopic focus on hot-new-academics and stars-in-the-field (who were once the hot-new-academics) may cause us to overlook much older academics whose great insights come at a much
later stage in their career — when their work may be overlooked because they are not well known.”


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