Jack Trammell: A Professor Only on Paper?

Headlines have claimed that Dave Brat and Jack Trammell, who will face each other in the fall to represent Virginia’s 7th District, are both professors at Randolph-Macon College (R-MC) in Ashland, Virginia. Brat is certainly a professor there, affiliated with a specific department (economics) with explicit and documented course responsibilities, as would be expected of a college professor. I have found no evidence that Trammell is a professor in the same sense at R-MC.

According to an article in the June 11, 2014 Washington Post by Mike Debonis, Jack Trammell “… has directed [Randolph-Macon College’s] disability support services department and its honors program and serves [note present tense] as an associate professor of sociology, specializing in disability issues in higher education.” These claims are misleading to say the least.

The web page of the RM-C Sociology Department does not list Jack Trammell as a faculty member. We can’t tell from the department’s course offerings which ones are related to “disability issues in higher education.” Finally, sociology department course descriptions do not provide clear evidence that Trammell teaches courses in the department. (AT readers may wish to have a look at these course descriptions for entertainment purposes.)

According to information dated 8/12/13 on the RM-C website, Trammell was a “Director of Disability Support Services” at the college. The website of RM-C’s Higgins Academic Center  confirms this information but not, as Debonis claimed, that R-MC has a “support services department.” The Higgins blurb on Trammell lists his title as “Director of Disability Support Services and Assistant Professor of Sociology” and says that he “provides consultation and support to students with physical, psychological, and learning differences and disabilities. He works closely with students to identify reasonable accommodations and with faculty and College staff to ensure that all Randolph-Macon College students have access to a barrier-free education.” Fine and dandy but this sort of thing used to be done by a high-school counselor in my day.

The MSM will be scrambling in the weeks and months ahead to play up Trammell and drag down Brat. Nobody should believe that the academic credentials of the two men are equivalent. It’s not even close.

Headlines have claimed that Dave Brat and Jack Trammell, who will face each other in the fall to represent Virginia’s 7th District, are both professors at Randolph-Macon College (R-MC) in Ashland, Virginia. Brat is certainly a professor there, affiliated with a specific department (economics) with explicit and documented course responsibilities, as would be expected of a college professor. I have found no evidence that Trammell is a professor in the same sense at R-MC.

According to an article in the June 11, 2014 Washington Post by Mike Debonis, Jack Trammell “… has directed [Randolph-Macon College’s] disability support services department and its honors program and serves [note present tense] as an associate professor of sociology, specializing in disability issues in higher education.” These claims are misleading to say the least.

The web page of the RM-C Sociology Department does not list Jack Trammell as a faculty member. We can’t tell from the department’s course offerings which ones are related to “disability issues in higher education.” Finally, sociology department course descriptions do not provide clear evidence that Trammell teaches courses in the department. (AT readers may wish to have a look at these course descriptions for entertainment purposes.)

According to information dated 8/12/13 on the RM-C website, Trammell was a “Director of Disability Support Services” at the college. The website of RM-C’s Higgins Academic Center  confirms this information but not, as Debonis claimed, that R-MC has a “support services department.” The Higgins blurb on Trammell lists his title as “Director of Disability Support Services and Assistant Professor of Sociology” and says that he “provides consultation and support to students with physical, psychological, and learning differences and disabilities. He works closely with students to identify reasonable accommodations and with faculty and College staff to ensure that all Randolph-Macon College students have access to a barrier-free education.” Fine and dandy but this sort of thing used to be done by a high-school counselor in my day.

The MSM will be scrambling in the weeks and months ahead to play up Trammell and drag down Brat. Nobody should believe that the academic credentials of the two men are equivalent. It’s not even close.