Value is a notion most fundamentally rooted in culture and in the virtue of persons. Nonetheless, social structures have fundamental causal impact on values, whether preserving or undermining them. Critical realist sociology helps us understand how social structures have this effect: they present us with restrictions and opportunities that often alter the decisions we would otherwise make.
A social structure is a system of relations among social positions. The social relation between the positions of professor and student existed long before that new PhD and that high school graduate entered into them. The formal and informal restrictions attached to those positions (about “what professors do” and “what students do”) restrict both persons. Professors and students remain free in that they could violate the restrictions they face, but rarely choose to do so because of the “price” they’d then pay. This preserves the values embedded in the traditional classroom.
Some structures push people toward choices that conflict with their values, and if the price of violating restrictions is high enough, many make choices contrary to the values they would otherwise act on. And if the same decisions are made month after month, slowly one’s moral character and values are transformed in accord with those decisions.