For the bored professor with a roving eye, the striving student with a secret, the all-powerful president and the humble gardener, campus life is a daily drama full of twisted relationships, pleasure, passion and pain. And sometimes, lessons learned. Set at the fictional Smithfield University in California, the new novel “Academic Affairs: A Love Story” weaves a narrative both tender and turbulent, examining all variations of relationships in this loosely bound academic family: sociology professor Bill Massy’s clandestine affair with the brilliant and powerful provost; President Roger Turner’s strange partnership with the eccentric mogul who donates $250 million; and graduate student Jim Hagedorn, who jeopardizes his love affair with Kevin for casual sexual encounters. As these too-human characters struggle to make sense of their lives and their work, some relationships end and new ones start, thanks to luck and the lure of love.
For all readers who went to college filled with dreams of enlightenment, passion, and change – and for those readers who wish they had – this powerful novel will stir memories and capture hearts.
Author William G. Tierney is co-director of the Pullias Center for Higher Education and a professor at the University of Southern California. He earned a master’s degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. Tierney was academic dean at an American Indian community college, a Peace Corps volunteer, Fulbright Scholar in Australia and Central America and scholar-in-residence in Malaysia. This is the first novel for Tierney, who has written 12 books on higher education. He devotes his time on and off campus to helping boost college readiness and opportunity for low-income youth.