Dr. Dendershea’s face was more thoughtful than usual as the young men and women filed into his classroom. He leaned against his desk with one eye on the clock and the other on the students. Presently, the room grew silent.

“Can anyone tell me what year Charlemagne came to power?” he asked.

After a pause, a girl in a yellow sundress raised her hand. “768 AD, sir?”

“Ah, thank you, Miss Cambridge.” The professor stroked his chin. “And may I ask how you know that?”

The girl flustered. “W-We’ve been studying the Carolingians in my World Civ class.”

“I see. With Professor Platt, correct?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And how do you suppose the good professor Platt knows what year Charlemagne came to power?”

“She’s… um… a profes—”

“Was she there?

“No. But she has a degree in Western Hist—”

“Let me tell you something. Let me tell you all something.” The professor stood up straight. “Never take someone’s ‘word for it.’ Question everything. A degree is merely a piece of paper. Today we will learn how to think.

View this story's 3 comments.