Bullying, Metrics, and the Death of Professor Stefan Grimm

On 25 September 2014, Stefan Grimm, professor of toxicology in the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London, was found dead in his home. He was 51. An inquest into his death has been opened and, while no official cause has yet been given, it would appear that he committed suicide. One reason to suspect suicide is that an unusual thing happened on 21 October, nearly four weeks after Grimm’s death. An email with the subject heading ‘How Professors are treated at Imperial College’ was sent from Grimm’s account to about forty internal addresses at the college. It would appear that Grimm had pre-set his account to send this email after his death; nothing has so far suggested that it is anything other than genuine. The email presents a dispiriting and disturbing insight into the state of modern British academia.

Included with Grimm’s message were two emails sent to Grimm by Martin Wilkins, professor of clinical pharmacology and head of the division of experimental medicine at Imperial. All these emails have subsequently been leaked and have now become public knowledge; the Times Higher Education has published them in full alongside an article on Grimm’s death. There has also been extensive commentary in other publications as well as on blogs (notably by David Colquhoun, emeritus professor of pharmacology at University College London).

The essence of the exchange and the circumstances outlined in the emails is as follows. Grimm, an active and successful researcher with over seventy publications to his name, a large number of grant applications and recipient of significant research funding, was informally and humiliatingly told by Wilkins that he would be sacked. Wilkins’ emails to Grimm confirm that steps were being taken that would in all likelihood lead to Grimm’s dismissal. With barely disguised insensitivity, Wilkins explained to Grimm ‘that you are struggling to fulfil the metrics of a Professorial post at Imperial College’, and that, unless Grimm’s performance improved, formal disciplinary procedures would be initiated. It is hard not to share Grimm’s bemusement that none of his various publications or research activity seemed to count in the eyes of the college. The final straw seems to have come when Grimm was informed by Wilkins that he would no longer be able to supervise a PhD student who had been accepted by the college and wished to work under Grimm. As Grimm wrote in his email: ‘He [the prospective PhD student] waited so long to work in our group and I will never be able to tell him that this should not now happen. What these guys [Wilkins and Gavin Screaton, then head of medicine at Imperial] don’t know is that they destroy lives. Well, they certainly destroyed mine.’

Anyone who has worked in academia will understand Grimm’s sentiments. This is not a career one falls into for want of better alternatives; it takes years of study, often combined with straitened financial circumstances and self-sacrifice, to acquire the experience, skills and knowledge necessary to work in academia. Why do this? Because of a passion and dedication about knowledge and furthering that knowledge through research and teaching, because academics care intensely about what they do and about its importance. There are times when research goes spectacularly well, but the nature of research is that there are also fallow periods, times when dead-ends are reached and new approaches need to be taken, times when patient, slow groundwork is being established that takes time to yield results. Part of the point of the university is to provide the institutional setting in which teaching and research can be nurtured—in which the commitment, hard work, and ups and downs of the life dedicated to academia will be understood, appreciated, respected and supported. Increasingly, however, universities regard their academic staff as little more than expendable items on a profit/loss balance sheet. Once that mentality has set in among university management, it does not take long for the type of shabby, undermining and humiliating treatment that appears to have been meted out to Grimm to become the rule rather than the exception.

Much of the comment on Grimm’s death and the circumstances surrounding it has focused on two things: the culture of academic bullying; and the absurdity of metrics. There is no doubt that Wilkins emerges from the exchange as a bully (or perhaps as the bullying henchman of Screaton, possibly ‘only following orders’); his approach to management and interpersonal relations comes across as arrogant, callous and deliberately humiliating. Some of the blogs and online commentary suggest that Wilkins is far from unique, and that a culture of bullying is rife not only at Imperial College but across academia. As Colquhoun notes on his blog, there has been a strikingly high number of university staff taking their employers to employment tribunals, and vastly more who have signed gagging orders preventing them from speaking out about their employers—evidence at the very least of widespread problems in employer-employee relations across academia.

The days of collegiality when management might be expected to support their academic staff are fast disappearing. As Grimm notes in his final email, Imperial (although for Imperial almost any university in the UK could be substituted here) ‘is not a university anymore but a business with [a] very few up in the hierarchy… profiteering [while] the rest of us are milked for money’. The culture of university management increasingly sees both academics and students as little more than sources of potential profit. The language used in universities gives it away: academics are expected to think about ‘branding’ and ‘marketization’; business plans and strategies are the new models for how to run an academic department; departments have business managers these days. Universities were originally centres of learning, teaching and research with managerial and bureaucratic structures designed to support that core function; but increasingly learning, teaching and research have assumed the new role of supporting the managerial and bureaucratic corporations that universities have become.

The problem with running universities as corporate businesses is that much of the activity of academics does not fit into a business model. Learning and teaching, for example, are hard to quantify since they do not generate any obvious profits, and thus tend not to be highly valued by management. Student recruitment and retention are seen as important, but not as goods in themselves, rather because high levels of recruitment and retention lead to increased income. Nor does much research sit easily with a business culture. In the older collegial culture it was understood that research needed to be nurtured; researchers often needed time and patience, and they needed support even if their field, however intrinsically important, was not high profile or likely to attract large amounts of funding. Quality, above all, was the key aim. In the current climate productivity and ‘impact’ are the only things that matter. Those academics able to churn out a steady stream of articles are favoured over those whose output is good but may have fallow periods when they need patiently to develop their research without the unremitting and constant pressure of having to publish at regular intervals. Moreover, much research, by its very nature, is an investigation the outcome of which is unclear or uncertain. But modern university managers have little time for this; they want to know even before the research has begun that it will have a significant impact—not on scholarship but on wider society outside. Much valuable research struggles to find a wide audience, yet is important for its long-term contributions to knowledge and understanding; modern university management has minimal interest in such work since it does not fit with their focus on the relentless pursuit of profit. The system favours those researchers who choose obviously high-profile topics, but of such a nature that neither breadth nor depth will get in the way of rapid production. The aim, it would seem, is to turn universities into research factories, academics into research machines. Academics who resist the bleak prospect of becoming nothing other than an efficient, productive research machine are marked for redundancy.

University managers will object by saying that they care greatly about quality of research, that in fact all sorts of measures have been designed to assess quality. These are the metrics, the means (it is supposed) by which the performance of an individual or an organization can be measured. Metrics tend to be highly complex—and absurd. (For those interested in why they are absurd, see Colquhoun’s discussion of them here and here.) It would seem obvious to most people that in order to assess the quality of research it might be a good idea actually to read that research. In the increasingly Kafkaesque world of the modern university, however, judgments are made about research not by reading it but according to baroque and opaque performance indicators. Formulae, spreadsheets and number-crunching have replaced old-fashioned concepts of reading and thinking about something in order to consider whether it is valuable or not. How many citations a piece of research has received, where in a journal a piece of research appears, what numerical rating has been assigned to the ‘impact factor’ of a journal, what numerical value has been assigned to the position a researcher’s name appears in the list of authors of the research—out of all these comes an overall numerical value which rates the quality of the research. It is the brave new world in which managers believe they have discovered the secret of quantifying quality without having to think about or understand what it is they are attempting to quantify. It would be like trying to assess the quality of music not by listening to the music itself but by working out a formula which factors in chart success, size of record label and writing credits to generate a (spuriously) scientific number representing quality.

While hardly bearing comparison with the experience of Stefan Grimm, a former colleague (an academic in the humanities) told me his own dealings with the new university culture. When asked whether he had any research to submit to the recent Research Evaluation Framework (REF) he suggested some articles written over the previous few years. He considered them to be good contributions to scholarship, but of course it was for others to judge; one way they might assess their quality would be to read them. However, his research was immediately dismissed out of hand, without being read, as being unsuitable for the REF: one article because it was co-authored (so much for encouraging collaboration in the humanities!), another because it was an essay in an edited book (that the book was edited by some of the leading scholars in their field meant nothing), a third because it was not in a prestigious enough journal, and a fourth because it was a review article, and again not in a journal with a sufficient international reputation (that the review was intended to make a useful contribution to a broad research area made no difference). Clearly he was a poorly-performing academic by the criteria of the university, notwithstanding the long hours he committed to the job and his extensive and, as was evident from feedback from both students and colleagues, successful teaching and administrative roles. His approach to research and academic work did not fit the REF-model and the current values of university management; thus it was made clear to him that, unless he started complying with the system, he had no realistic future in academia. Despite his dedication and contribution to his university, he has unsurprisingly become disillusioned enough to wonder whether academia is an environment he wants to be in any longer.

The modern values of university management are such that a university will abandon plans for a new building to house a Human Rights Centre of worldwide reputation, replacing it instead with a business school; it will attempt to close down the history of art department; it will suggest putting the Latin American collection up for sale; it will not renew the visiting post of a Nobel laureate; and it will lose a renowned writer and chair of the Man Booker International Prize because it is not prepared to accommodate her roles (the prestige and reputation of which clearly mean nothing to the managers) with the rigid and constantly-monitored targets devised by management. All this at the University of Essex (as recounted by Marina Warner in the London Review of Books, volume 36 number 17, 11 September 2014, pp. 42-3).

It is hardly surprising that such a culture fosters bullying on the part of managers, and stress, anxiety and insecurity among academic staff. Some will argue that this is a recipe for ‘success’: Imperial College is ranked, after all, among the top few universities in the world (using, of course, ranking systems based on yet more absurd metrics). Others may wonder whether the price to be paid for this ‘success’ is worth it: the important research that does not get done because it does not fit the current business model; the excellent teachers who are dispensed with because their work does not fit with the performance metrics; the students who are squeezed for every penny, and the unsavoury scramble for international students who bring in the highest fees; the rewards of long and dedicated service in academia coming in the form of intimidation, humiliation and mass sackings; the human suffering of depression, stress and anxiety among academics that comes in the wake of the managerial culture; and, possibly, the death of Stefan Grimm.


A Morality Tale: The Warburg Institute and the University of London

Aby Warburg (1866-1929)

The private researcher dreams of having the limitless resources to create the personal research library. For Aby Warburg (1866-1929) the dream was a reality. A member of the famous family of wealthy German bankers, it was not the world of finance that appealed to Warburg but rather the art of the Renaissance and the manifold ways in which the classical tradition of ancient Greece and Rome had been expressed culturally and intellectually throughout history, influencing and shaping the thought and culture of Europe and beyond. Backed by family money, he built his own impressive collection of books. Warburg’s library gradually attracted like-minded scholars, becoming the hub of a growing circle of researchers. One of these scholars, the art historian Fritz Saxl (1890-1948), was instrumental in turning an essentially private library into a fully-fledged research institute. Initially attached to the University of Hamburg, the rise to power of the Nazis led to the institute’s relocation to London in 1933.

The Warburg Institute emblem

In 1944 the Warburg Institute was incorporated into the University of London with a guarantee that the university would maintain its library and preserve its independent status as a research institute in perpetuity. As a result of this apparently far-sighted decision, the University of London has been associated with one of the world’s great centres of research on cultural and intellectual history. Many important scholars have been associated with the institute—Ernst Cassirer, Erwin Panofsky, Henri Frankfort, Ernst Gombrich, Frances Yates, D.P. Walker and Anthony Grafton to name but a few—and for serious students of the classical tradition the resources of the institute are an essential aid to research. The institute has a thriving postgraduate and postdoctoral research culture, and is particularly noted for its support of young scholars (among which I was once one). The Warburg library is characterized by its unique and brilliant classification system designed to enable interdisciplinary research across art, history, literature, philosophy, theology, and much else besides; it now holds more than 350,000 volumes, over 98% of which are on open access shelves, and among them are a large proportion of rare and otherwise hard-to-find books. In addition, the institute is home to a photographic collection of more than 400,000 images.

Realistic aspirations to be considered among the world’s leading universities would encourage, it may be supposed, the University of London to nurture and support an institute with the excellence and impressive international reputation of the Warburg. Yet for years the university has effectively been undermining the institute. In particular, it has failed to honour the original trust deed between the University and the Warburg, and it has charged exorbitant rates for library space that have left the institute running at a large deficit. Faced with threats to its very existence, it is hardly surprising that relations between the university and the institute have long been strained, nor that occasional rumours circulated about the possible return of the Warburg to Germany. Matters finally came to a head in the High Court this year as the University of London legally challenged the terms of the trust deed—and lost. The judgment of 6 November rules in effect that the university has been in breach of its obligations to the institute for many years. The university has put a brave face on this, claiming that it is ‘pleased’ with the judgment; the fact that it has sought and obtained permission to appeal against the judgment, ready it would seem to spend further huge sums of money in court rather than in constructive discussion, suggests an unusual use of the word ‘pleased’. (On the legal battle and the High Court judgment see the Guardian article from 10 August 2014, the Times Higher Education Supplement report from 6 November, the press release on the Warburg Institute website, and an essay by Charles Hope in the London Review of Books, volume 36 number 23, 4 December 2014, pp. 32-4.)

The saga is a dispiriting reflection of modern academia. Universities, colleges and many departments are increasingly run in ways that resemble the world of corporate business; senior management, as well as many heads of department, focus on budgets, assets, profit and loss. Business models and strategies rather than scholarly and intellectual culture are the new order within the university and many of its departments. The research and scholarly value of the Warburg Institute, obvious to those of us who work on cultural and intellectual history but almost impossible to quantify on the accountant’s spreadsheet, counts for little alongside the narrow but ‘measurable’ productivity and outputs so beloved of current policymakers and university management. The University of London, it would appear, regards the Warburg Institute as a potential asset, but not in ways that demonstrate an understanding and fostering of the research culture that has been, and still is, at the heart of the institute’s international reputation.

There was a time, and not that long ago, when the university was an institution that protected and valued research and scholarship; it understood that academic work could not be reduced simply to figures on a balance sheet. The change in university culture over the last two or three decades is illustrated by another story involving the University of London. In 1956 a set of the earliest folios of Shakespeare was bequeathed to the university library, with the condition that they would be housed there permanently. The value of such a bequest would have been understood not only by literary scholars, but also by university management, for its contribution to the research culture and reputation of the university. How does modern university management value this bequest? At £3-5 million and an asset to be auctioned off. Due to a public outcry from scholars, the University of London abandoned its plans to sell the folios (see the Guardian, 5 September 2013), so for now at least the folios, like the Warburg Institute, are safe—but precariously so given the mindset of modern university management.

Who would confidently place faith in the university to nurture research and scholarship in the humanities today? Aby Warburg was fortunate enough not to have to rely on institutions to support his research. It would hardly be surprising if, alongside the respect and admiration in which he is widely held by scholars, there is also a fair degree of envy.

Like a Strange Marriage

I have not always been a good friend to Gale, which is a pity since, among other things, he has written a book on the importance of friendship. Too often I have found him to be burdensome, and there is no doubt that he can be a bore. The urge to abandon and forget him has filled me many times. Yet it is like a strange marriage: for better or for worse I am dutifully bound to him for life.

We first met in a library many years ago. I’d already heard a little about him; not much, but enough to suspect that I might find him interesting. Our initial encounter confirmed my suspicion: his knowledge of philosophy, theology, history and literature was impressive and enviable, and he brought to it a clear, if unorthodox, intelligence. Above all, it was Gale’s ideas that drew me to him, not that I agreed with many of them. Some of his thinking seemed wild and bizarre, the result of a rather obsessive commitment to the philosophy of Plato and a predilection for understanding history according to the Bible. But there was never any hint of madness; rather, I considered him simply wrongheaded and misguided, but attractively so for his assured and calm conviction that he was in pursuit of the truth. Over time, it is true, my enthusiasm paled as I sensed that he embodied a wasted brilliance; intellectually I grew to realize that for all his vast erudition, he was trapped in a dead end. His ceaseless, learned harping on his favourite themes could become tiresome and frustrating, and almost pathetic: I have come to think of him as akin to Edward Casaubon in George Eliot’s Middlemarch, desiccated, pedantic and increasingly hard to like. It’s a marvel, therefore, that I have continued to find time for him—but then I have always been oddly attracted to heroic futility, and Gale’s whole life seems to be the epitome of that.

As I got to know him better I learnt that he was originally from Devon, that he had had an aborted academic career at Oxford, and that after Oxford he spent a year living in France before moving to London to write and privately tutor. It seemed he wasn’t particularly good at the latter; there were stories of certain tutorial disasters, about which Gale has consistently remained reticent. Indeed, he is not forthcoming about much of his life. I have never been able to ascertain any interest in romance or relationships, and of his sexuality I have come to the conclusion that he has consciously chosen celibacy and may very well be asexual. He dislikes alcohol and considers smoking to be loathsome, only adding to the wonder that I consider myself under an obligation of loyalty to him. It is a loyalty arising from the fact that I liked and admired him once, and, every so often, find myself liking and admiring him still.

Above all, I once vowed to stand by him, no matter how wayward his ideas, how annoying his intellectual faults, and how sparse his friendships. I met him at a critical point in my life, and without doubt I owe to him an important meaning and direction that I found at a difficult time, however much I have moved on since then. So I am still happy to give him my attention, even to raise a glass to him. And I am still resolved to make a pilgrimage to his headstone, lying somewhere deep within Bunhill Fields cemetery, on which there is the simple engraving: ‘Theophilus Gale M.A., Born 1628, Died 1678.’

Possibly my feelings are similar to those of many PhD students: we cast around to find a suitably interesting subject, frequently lighting upon some neglected figure from the past who then becomes the focus of our energies and devotions for several years. Such was my discovery of the nonconformist theologian and philosopher, Theophilus Gale, the author of several lengthy tomes hard to surpass for their scholarship or for their ultimate intellectual failure. I could never make a convincing case that he is someone really worth reading, apart from by a few dedicated specialists of certain early modern currents of thought. But nor could I ever say that he deserves to be neglected and forgotten.

I often reflect on my relationship with him: the reasons why I chose to work on him in the first place; the sense that he might have been pleased that at last, after several centuries of little more than cursory attention, someone was prepared to read the several thousand pages of his writings; and the almost mystical notion that in finding him and giving him something of life again, that this may also happen to me (or to any one of us) at some point far in the future when I am long gone and almost completely forgotten. Perhaps this explains the emotional bond I feel towards Gale: it crystallizes that need for the living to love and to cherish the significance of the past and the memory of the dead.

Quiet in the Classroom

One of the most rewarding experiences of teaching undergraduate students is the lively, engaged seminar group. When ideas and views and vigorous discussion are flying around the classroom, when the group are interacting enthusiastically and brightly, then I sense that clear progress is being made. Conversely, few things are more dispiriting than the seminar group in which stony silence is the default mode of the students. When it is a struggle to elicit even brief comments, when before me are averted, nervous and embarrassed expressions from which issue not a word, then I begin to wonder what they are doing in the class—and, indeed, what I am doing there.

Increasingly teachers are guided by buzzwords such as interactive and active learning, student participation and group work. We are encouraged to assess students according to their abilities in these areas, and to devise tasks and learning resources to encourage them—force them even—actively to participate in the classroom. But are we right to focus so heavily on these things, such that those students who resist interaction and are reluctant to be vocal are flagged up as needing support and intervention on the grounds that they are in danger of falling short of the learning outcomes and objectives of their studies?

I started reflecting on this question as a result of an unusual teaching experience. I was convening a first-year undergraduate history module, comprising weekly lectures over two terms. Following the lecture the students divided into six seminar groups, each numbering about twenty members. I was responsible for teaching two of these groups, running back-to-back seminars. The first group ranked among the liveliest, most enjoyable classes I have ever taught. Participation levels were remarkably high: most students contributed to the weekly discussion topics, and no student sat through the entire course without speaking. Contributions were consistently engaging, interesting and lively; strong but good-natured debates were frequent.

But the uplifting feeling I had as I wrapped up this class was always clouded by the prospect of the next seminar. Week after week, no matter what I tried, the second group of students sat through the class in near total silence. Two or three of them, perhaps unable to resist the uncomfortable absence of contributions, would venture their thoughts, but even they developed a reluctance to speak. Over half the students uttered not a single word in front of the whole class at any stage of the course. Even when divided into smaller groups of three or four, in the hope that this would prompt greater interaction, it was striking how quiet they were. Like the proverbial blood from a stone, drawing out any sort of discussion seemed impossible; only the knowledge that relief from this teaching torture would, however slowly the clock advanced, eventually come.

Aside from the quiet seminar group being the least enjoyable class I have ever taught, I had understandable concerns about the students: whereas the lively group were breezing along, more than meeting expectations of student engagement and progress, the quiet bunch appeared to be advancing hardly at all. But I worried unnecessarily. For when it came to their academic progress, the quiet group collectively outperformed all the other seminar groups, exhibiting in their work a bright intelligence and enthusiastic engagement barely detectable in the classroom. In fact, they outperformed the rest of the year by some margin: although they were only one group out of six on the course, they accounted for just over half of all the First class grades. The lively group, on the other hand, returned mediocre results: no Firsts, and several notably weak performances. Moreover, the two or three most vocal members of the quiet group performed less well than those students who invariably said little or nothing during seminars.

My teaching experience qualifies, of course, only as anecdotal evidence. Nevertheless I have observed that especially vocal students very rarely performed at the highest academic level, and that many of them ended up with weak grades; in contrast, academically the highest achieving students I have taught were those who were relatively quiet in the classroom. (Note that I am not saying quiet students always do well academically, only that those who do well tend to be quiet; some of the weakest students have also been quiet.)

None of this is likely to be surprising to anyone who has read Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (2012). Although I have reservations about categorizing people according to the somewhat schematic introversion-extroversion spectrum, Cain presents a vigorous and important defence of the need to value the quiet personality—and our social and cultural failure to do so. As she notes, western culture does not make life easy for such personalities:

We live with a value system that I call the Extrovert Ideal—the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight. The archetypal extrovert prefers action to contemplation, risk-taking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt. He favors quick decisions, even at the risk of being wrong. She works well in teams and socializes in groups. (p. 4)

In Cain’s view, introversion, which she suggests accounts for as much as half the American population, ‘is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology’. The Extrovert Ideal, its roots in works such as Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936) and the celebration of the successful salesperson as a heroic type, can be seen all around us, most obviously in the plethora of reality television programmes in which putting oneself forward, making oneself heard, embracing attention and celebrity, engaging fully in, and preferably leading, team activities are extolled as unchallenged virtues. Not to speak up, not to participate fully in the group, is regarded as a sign of weakness and a personal deficiency. That many people tend towards quiet reflection and creativity may be accepted; but increasingly there is a shrinking social and cultural place for the quiet personality.

This way of thinking has influenced how university students are taught. The quiet student is in fact no longer quiet to the tutor; instead we are prompted to hear alarm bells warning us that the student is not developing in the right way. We are urged to promote active learning and to move away from so-called passive methods—the student who listens and takes notes, reflects and thinks, reads and writes, but says little in class, is labelled a passive learner and hence in need of pedagogic approaches designed to draw him or her to a more active learning style. So tutors are encouraged to utilize more group-work assignments and assessment based on class participation (one former colleague would mark a student as present only if they contributed to the class discussion). In this respect education is simply mirroring our present cultural state of the unquestioned virtue of the active individual and the assumed deficiency of the passive individual.

One of the functions of a university education is, of course, to help students prepare for the world outside education. It is understandable and right that an attempt is made to equip students with the experience and skills necessary to survive in a society biased towards an Extrovert Ideal. At the same time universities need not mimic this society, particularly when, by doing so, they risk creating a learning environment uncomfortable to a large proportion of students. Encouraging the quiet, passive student to experiment with more active approaches is one thing; building a pedagogic approach on the premise that active is right and passive is wrong is something else. It would be better to take note of a comment made by Cain in relation to school education but relevant also to university teaching:

There’s a lot of attention in education paid to difference in learning style, and I think not enough understanding of differences of temperament and how that shapes who children are and how they learn and socialize. (‘How to Teach a Young Introvert’; Susan Cain in conversation with Kate Torgovnick May, February 2014)

When I reflect on my lively and quiet seminar groups it occurs to me that my worries were misplaced. The quiet students were, for the most part, doing fine; hopefully they benefited from the attempts to give them experience of group work and class participation, but these things could be developed over time and at a pace suitable to their personality. Above all, academically they were performing at a good level. But perhaps I should have distributed my concerns more to the lively group. They may have benefited from being steered in the direction of passive and reflective approaches, reining in a little their extrovert qualities.

In an academic discipline such as history, where the foundation of doing well lies in occupying oneself with a great deal of the essentially solitary tasks of reading, thinking and writing—generally the sort of activities extroverts find under-stimulating—a teaching approach that blindly subscribes to the mantra of active learning may be letting students down in two ways: first, by undervaluing the qualities and progress of the introvert student and overlooking how stressful they may find a focus on active learning in class and in assignments; and secondly—and ironically—by excessively encouraging in extrovert students skills and traits they already possess at the expense of helping them foster other necessary qualities that do not come easily to them.