Skip to comments.End the University as We Know It
Posted on 04/27/2009 8:54:51 AM PDT by lewisglad
Widespread hiring freezes and layoffs have brought these problems into sharp relief now. But our graduate system has been in crisis for decades, and the seeds of this crisis go as far back as the formation of modern universities.
In my own religion department, for example, we have 10 faculty members, working in eight subfields, with little overlap. And as departments fragment, research and publication become more and more about less and less. Each academic becomes the trustee not of a branch of the sciences, but of limited knowledge that all too often is irrelevant for genuinely important problems. A colleague recently boasted to me that his best student was doing his dissertation on how the medieval theologian Duns Scotus used citations.
The emphasis on narrow scholarship also encourages an educational system that has become a process of cloning. Faculty members cultivate those students whose futures they envision as identical to their own pasts, even though their tenures will stand in the way of these students having futures as full professors.
The dirty secret of higher education is that without underpaid graduate students to help in laboratories and with teaching, universities couldnt conduct research or even instruct their growing undergraduate populations. Thats one of the main reasons we still encourage people to enroll in doctoral programs. It is simply cheaper to provide graduate students with modest stipends and adjuncts with as little as $5,000 a course with no benefits than it is to hire full-time professors.
In other words, young people enroll in graduate programs, work hard for subsistence pay and assume huge debt burdens, all because of the illusory promise of faculty appointments. But their economical presence, coupled with the intransigence of tenure, ensures that there will always be too many candidates for too few openings.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Tenure needs to go.
Online education will replace the university system and its corrupt, overpriced, communist indoctrination!
It will take time, but the universities are pricing themselves out of existence, especially given the very low payback of an undergrad education.
I really can't understand why it hasn't already happened.
Tenure, along with the universities and their ideologies.
In the following document, note especially #’s 17, 18, and 19:
Communist Goals (1963)
Congressional Record—Appendix, pp. A34-A35
January 10, 1963
Current Communist Goals
EXTENSION OF REMARKS OF HON. A. S. HERLONG, JR. OF FLORIDA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Thursday, January 10, 1963
Mr. HERLONG. Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Patricia Nordman of De Land, Fla., is an ardent and articulate opponent of communism, and until recently published the De Land Courier, which she dedicated to the purpose of alerting the public to the dangers of communism in America.
At Mrs. Nordman’s request, I include in the RECORD, under unanimous consent, the following “Current Communist Goals,” which she identifies as an excerpt from “The Naked Communist,” by Cleon Skousen:
[From “The Naked Communist,” by Cleon Skousen]
CURRENT COMMUNIST GOALS
1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.
2. U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.
3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.
4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.
5. Extension of long-term loans to Russia and Soviet satellites.
6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.
7. Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.
8. Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev’s promise in 1955 to settle the German question by free elections under supervision of the U.N.
9. Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the United States has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.
10. Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.
11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces. (Some Communist leaders believe the world can be taken over as easily by the U.N. as by Moscow. Sometimes these two centers compete with each other as they are now doing in the Congo.)
12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.
13. Do away with all loyalty oaths.
14. Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.
15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.
16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.
18. Gain control of all student newspapers.
19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.
20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.
21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”
23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art.”
24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”
27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.”
28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”
29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.”
31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the “big picture.” Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.
32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture—education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
33. Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of the Communist apparatus.
34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
35. Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.
36. Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.
37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].
39. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.
40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.
41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.
42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use [”]united force[”] to solve economic, political or social problems.
43. Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self-government.
44. Internationalize the Panama Canal.
45. Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction [over domestic problems. Give the World Court jurisdiction] over nations and individuals alike.
“Online education will replace the university system and its corrupt, overpriced, communist indoctrination!
It will take time, but the universities are pricing themselves out of existence, especially given the very low payback of an undergrad education.”
Read my post #6.
Obama has recently stated that he wants to nationalize student loans. That pretty much hammered the last nail in the coffin for many conservative students wishing to attend a university.
For a liberal arts major, you learn less and less about more and more until you know nothing about everything. So go figure.
I fail to see how this is a secret, I also fail to see how there's anything "dirty" about it.
The problem only comes about when you have disciplines which have no application outside of university - things like Chicano Studies or Critical Theory. Those of us who study subjects that are actually useful, we can find jobs outside of academia. Getting a 4-year degree in a useless subject is for most people not a problem, their degree does show that they have intelligence and perserverence, they can move on to a good career, even if they're not directly applying the things that they learned. But when you go on to a doctorate in one of these fields, there's no way to use your degree other than being a professor, and that restricts your employment options.
I surely agree that the university system, as we know it today, has to change.
Part of the issue is defining what a university is supposed to be and do.
Certainly, acquiring knowledge in a field or fields of study can be accomplished quite easily without a university. Some would argue that universities hinder the acquisition of knowledge and replace it with dogma.
The one advantage colleges and universities have is the awarding of a degree. Certainly, the value of a degree has been diluted, but it remains as some measure of achievement - if only that you can keep focus on a single goal for two or four years at a time.
IMHO, we need to have several types of education. The university model seems to be pretty well suited for things like hard sciences, research, perhaps engineering. Areas where having a body of knowledge is important, but skills are less so.
On the other end, trade schools do a great job of imparting skills with enough knowledge to get by.
There needs to be something in between. What that is, I don’t know, but the key will be having “something” - a degree, a certification, a standardized test score, that can be used by employers to identify that a student has indeed obtained both a set of skills and mastered a body of knowledge. This is the group that most employers pull from for the bulk of their workforces, and this is the area that a meaningless degree is the default ticket for entry because there isn’t really any other measure for employers to use to evaluate a person.
I think that “something in between” you are referring to USED to be called a HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION....
The goal of getting a University Degree should not be to get tenured employment at the University....
Bitter truth. I left a doctoral program $75,000 in debt. Thankfully I jumped ship when I did, before I got to $100,000.
I’d hire the best lecturers in the world, record their lectures,
There are akready lots of courses online - free - to anyone who want to do the work. But of course they cannot get credit. MIT, Harvard, open course, etc.
The underlying problem or relevancy is tenure-—lots of depts carry deadwood - tenured profs who do nothing but pleasure themselves over the “post modern ramifications of Joyce Carol Oates” or the “lesbian repercussions of Jane Austen.”
Don’t get me wrong - enjoy both authors but do not feel that 100K of public moneys should be paid to cacademics who teach and write about them ad nauseum.
Depends—many community colleges and regular universities offer on-line options, but often they cost as much or more per credit hour than in-state tuition for brick & mortar classrooms.
"In my own religion department, for example, we have 10 faculty members, working in eight subfields, with little overlap. And as departments fragment, research and publication become more and more about less and less. Each academic becomes the trustee not of a branch of the sciences, but of limited knowledge that all too often is irrelevant for genuinely important problems. A colleague recently boasted to me that his best student was doing his dissertation on how the medieval theologian Duns Scotus used citations."
Sounds like left-brained overload, but there may actually be a point to studying the sources of Duns Scotus. Particularly if it involves a comparison with the sources of Aquinas and Anselm. Although, hopefully Eliade, William James, Rudolf Otto , and van der Leeuw, will figure in here somewhere. They might want to add Newman's Idea of a University to the departmental discussions at Columbia. Read as a group in a seminar for the whole department. Just try to get ten eggheads to agree on anything.
The internet is making wasting time listening to liberal professors somewhat irrelevant and outdated now. I'd be more worried about the Columbia graduate following Richard Hofstadter, Fanon, Gramsci, Alinsky, Adorno, and the Fabians in the White House. Along with the model UN Dag Hammarskjöld/Hans Kelsen neo-Kantian theories of international cooperation.
My kids are using them now for preparation for the AP.
The underlying problem or relevancy is tenure-
Actually, I disagree there. IMO, the underlying problem is accreditation. As to dead wood, besides useless professors, the administrative hierarchy is even worse, especially in public universities.
Scream? Really? Do tell.
...most markets in the United States respond to the law of supply and demand....not the Academy!...it cranks out 40,000 PhDs a year despite the fact that there’s no demand for them all...a collegue of my wife told his class of doctoral candidates “look, out of the 30 of you only 2 will get jobs teaching....if anybody wants to quit, now’s the time”.....nobody quit, because each one thought they would be one of the lucky two that gets hired.
Yes, I think the author should have specified that he was speaking about HUMANITIES depts, not hard science, engineering, etc.
Wow - I've experienced that...over and over.
The IT folks shudder at faculty who refuse to become come to terms with change. Or how about those who teach online courses and never “show up” —seen that too. The publisher creates a course and the prof simply monitors if that — no interaction whatsoever.
The institution has to be able to fire them. Period.
Our eldest had been attending a number of online college classes in order to earn his prereq. requirements for his major. He has also attended several on campus courses.
The online classes are ideal for a number of reasons. The students do not have to deal with activist hostile profs. face to face.
For example, a number of our friends children attend a CC. They have been insulted and berated by their profs. in front of the class simply because they are Christians.
What were you doing paying for a Doctoral program?
iTunesU??? Tell me more....I may have to get an IPOD now....
“For a liberal arts major, you learn less and less about more and more until you know nothing about everything. So go figure.”
Thats it!! Has been a while.
The example I heard was professors who are addicted to the feel of chalk between their fingers. Even though a chalkboard, and chalk dust, literally cuts the lifespan of hard drives in the room in half.
The problem, pure and simple, is accreditation. For a "degree" to be worth anything, it has to be accepted in the work community; and that means accreditation; and that means that the ESTABLISHED system has to approve the new competitor.
I worked for ten years with YU trying to get a BA program accredited. I quit, and it was another five before they finally got a degree in government approved. I can't tell you how much BS was involved in class revisions, "behavioral objectives," writing this plan and that plan . . . ALL WITHOUT A DIME OF INCOME. At some point, profs like me give up. It's not worth the possible future payout.
So, no you wouldn't just "rent lab space" and make multimillionaires out of professors. The accreditation community will not permit it. And if you just put it out there, you won't have any takers because the knowledge without the sheepskin is useless to most would-be employees.
Precisely what I said on post 23.
And if you just put it out there, you won't have any takers because the knowledge without the sheepskin is useless to most would-be employees.
If the professors were indeed the top of their field, and the grading standards exacting, do you really mean to tell me that employers wouldn't hire? I agree with you about the structural restraint of trade, but it would seem the customer base could do something about it.
>>>I work for a major university IT department and I’ve seen faculty scream at administrators, blow off classes, block technology improvements, etc., and nothing can be done to them. We are involved in a lot of the online training programs and iTunes U, which has been a big success, but a lot of the older faculty want to go back to the 60s and 70s, so they try to block it at every chance.<<<
I’m in the belly of the beast at the secondary level, and the story is the same at this level. The school wanted me to create a web page back in November - something that should have taken me about six weeks, considering the small size of the school and my own background in basic web page design. Here we are, more than six months later, and at every step, someone in the school district heirarchy has blocked, stopped, confounded, or confused something in the development of that web page. I could go into details, but those details are petty beyond imagining.
A private business would have had this project done long ago.
Yes, get rid of tenure, certainly. Then get rid of government-operated schools. The situation I find myself resembles the old television program “The Prisoner.” Since I often have contact with universities, your story doesn’t surprise me, either. And there’s more to come from our new president! *sigh*
Agreed. Been there done that. There is lots of BS associated with the educationist establishment-—schools of teacher ed which need to become relevant in order to survive and massive bureaucracies at the state and federal levels which would make Stalin's SU proud.
OTOH - the proliferation of majors/programs/courses is astounding. These often needed new programs etc are added to instead of replacing what irrelevant stuff already exists.
bump for a great topic
No non-accredited school will attract anyone, even if Milton Friedman returned from the dead to head the econ dept.
Yorktown U. had TOP people, people whose classes pack out in accredited universities, but who have zero activity.
DOE and the courts, again.
It will happen eventually. At that point, I wouldn't want to be a JC professor. The College Board has made effective inroads with the AP and the universities are taking it.
My guess is that it may happen abroad first. At that point, we'll be screwed, glued, and tatooed unless we follow suit. It's inevitable.
We get the point. But maybe The Times will invite the student to write a rebuttal on the purpose of studying religion and Christianity in college. The topic dovetails with some of the primary sources of Christian philosophy and theology in the Western tradition: Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus: Natural Theology in the High Middle Ages by Alexander W. Hall. With some creativity it could pick up on where Philipp W. Rosemann, Catherine Pickstock, Sebastian Day, Allan Wolter, and Richard Cross left off.
Public universities and the media could merge and we’d never know the difference.
Repair of American universities require great land mines and pieces of real thought and usefulness.
I quit college once over sitting in some young prof’s class where she was teaching ‘body theory.’ I looked at her and just plain thought, “You know. She has done this school thing her whole life and really believes all this stuff. I can’t believe this is considered higher order thinking.”
Bingo. It’s a problem. Most faculties are unbalanced, tilt left, and are out of touch with mainstream American culture and the students. There are exceptions, but generally, yes.
Teacher unions & tenure must END.