Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational Policy Studies and Eval

First Advisor

Dr. Beth Goldstein


Depictions of college professors in American films are common, and while a number of studies have investigated various aspects of college life in motion pictures, few have focused exclusively on the cinematic professoriate. In addition to being an indelible part of history, cinematic depictions of college professors are part of the national discourse on the role and function of the faculty and university. An investigation of how college professors have been represented in American films, and how these representations are read and created by real-life college professors and filmmakers may provide a deeper understanding of the relationship between popular culture images and academia. This project consists of three sections. The first focuses on the trajectories of negative representations of college professors in popular American films from 1970-2016. The second examines interview responses of film professors to on-screen depictions of college faculty. The third presents a case study of professorial depictions by a group of filmmakers who created a feature length film about a college professor. As various public stakeholders are increasingly questioning the role of the college professor and the institution of higher education, this project seeks to examine the influence of popular professor images and cultural influences on the conceptions of two interpretive communities – one that embodies the professoriate and one that creates images surrounding it. Moreover, this project considers these depictions within film marketplace and popular culture contexts.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)