Full episode
402: Save the Day
Act Two

I'd Like To Spank The Academy

For the last 13 years, the University of Montevallo in Alabama has held an event called The Life Raft Debate, where several professors take the stage and each tries to convince the students that his or her discipline—chemistry, say, or communications—is the most essential field of study. But in 2007, a professor named Jon Smith decided that the debate itself needed saving. Producer Nancy Updike tells the story. (14 minutes)