Merriam-Webster.com defines “power” as (bold added):
1 a (1) : ability to act or produce an effect (2) : ability to get extra-base hits (3) : capacity for being acted upon or undergoing an effect b : legal or official authority, capacity, or right
2 a : possession of control, authority, or influence over others b : one having such power; specifically : a sovereign state c : a controlling group : establishment —often used in the phrase the powers that be d archaic : a force of armed men e chiefly dialect : a large number or quantity
3 a : physical might b : mental or moral efficacy c : political control or influence
4 plural : an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy
5 a : the number of times as indicated by an exponent that a number occurs as a factor in a product <5 to the third power is 125>; also : the product itself <8 is a power of 2> b : cardinal number 2
6 a : a source or means of supplying energy; especially : electricity b : motive power c : the time rate at which work is done or energy emitted or transferred
7 : magnification 2b
8 : 1scope 3
9 : the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis in a statistical test when a particular alternative hypothesis happens to be true
In short, human power is the ability to impact the lives of others.
The world population is projected to hit 7 billion this year. The US population is 310 million. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 1.7 million teachers in higher education in the US, including graduate student teaching assistants, adjunct faculty, all the way to full professor. This equals 0.55% of the US population, so assuming TA’s are about half of the 1.7 million, that means that faculty comprise about one quarter of one percent of the US population.
The US has more universities than the rest of the world (2045). (Japan is #2 with a population of 127.5 million and 567 universities!) This means there are more universities per capita in the US (1 university per 152,000 people versus Japan with 1 per 225,000) than just about anywhere in the world.
The point of all of these numbers is that having 0.25% of the US population as faculty is way high compared to the rest of the world—most of the world has even fewer faculty as a fraction of their population.
According to one source, the estimated 2010 tertiary institutional enrollment was 120 million, or nearly the population of Japan. (and the number is rising fast!) As a rule, these students become leaders in nearly every area of their nation, yet only constitute 1.7% of the world’s population. They have influence in their countries. They have power.
What is it about them that gives them that power? Their education. Who gave them their education? Their professors. That’s you.
Colleagues of faith, I have just one question for you— the world has given you this influence. What are you going to do with it?