Skip to comments.Is Gov. Scott at war with academia?
Posted on 11/13/2011 1:10:57 AM PST by Maelstorm
Laying the groundwork to revamp higher education in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott has questioned the value of liberal arts degrees, dissed anthropologists, proposed ending tenure for professors and posted salaries of all state university employees on the Internet.
Scott also recently sent a letter to state university trustee boards pushing for change on campuses. He included excerpts from a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece by Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder, "Time to Make Professors Teach." Vedder derided much academic research as "obscure" and "trivial," noting there have been 21,000 scholarly articles on Shakespeare since 1980.
"Wouldn't 5,000 have been enough?" Vedder wrote.
Among those who received Scott's letter: Ayden Pierce Maher, a senior at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton who serves as the student representative to the school's trustee board. Maher called the governor "misguided."
"Isn't a university supposed to be a place for emerging minds to ponder new ideas?" said Maher, of Coral Springs, the FAU student body president.
Longtime FAU mathematics professor Fred Hoffman said Scott's actions have left a bad taste with faculty: "We assume he has some kind of ax to grind."
Boris Bastidas, an FAU senior and political science major, said, "It's almost as if the governor is saying some of these areas are a waste of taxpayer money. But it's not right to cut arts, sociology, psychology. It goes against what conservatives are supposed to stand for individual choice and the belief that with hard work you can get a job and succeed."
They all say that Scott, a former health care CEO, is bringing too much of a bottom-line business mentality to a place where the pursuit of knowledge and development of student intellect is supposed to be paramount.
(Excerpt) Read more at sun-sentinel.com ...
But are all of the ideas new?
The only jobs that people who major in subjects like “African American Studies” can get are jobs teaching “African American Studies”. Same with a host of other majors, mostly in the “Liberal Arts” sphere. It seems circularly stupid to me. A waste. Taxpayer dollars pay for this?
I suppose if there were a free market for doctoral students in Shakespeare, we could say let the market sort it out. But there isn’t one. Instead the government subsidizes the hell out of these markets. At the very least, the subsidies could start being pickier about what they subsidize, letting the market for doctorates in Shakespeare sort themselves out, and if the individual people of the country want to be awash in Shakespeare and vote with their money, well they shall get all the Shakespeare they want. In the meantime, things like engineering would be much more to the country’s self interest.
As a one time employee of a state university, I agree with Gov. Scott totally. I would add to his comments that every professor spend each third year actually working in his field to learn what employers needed so that he could impart updated information to his students instead of writing still another book filled with useless, outdated data.
A liberal arts 'education' has got to be one of the more frustrating things one acquires in life.
Four years and now what?
A young person, relatively fresh from the home nest, does not have the tools to deal with frustration. He or she has the vignettes of varied life events, but no experience with those events.
May as well pitch a tent on Wall St.
As well, the 21k papers and articles he mentions likely includes the work of graduate students. Most every grad degree ends with a published thesis and a published article in scholarly journal. While very few of these are “groundbreaking” they all fall in line with many hundreds of years of university tradition. Namely, that you craft a piece showing mastery of your subject for your peers to review before you can graduate.
your self interest have blinded you to what is good for society. Like Accountant are against removing taxes and lawyers are against reduce law suits
If I wee being purely selfish I would want fewer potential competitors edging into my market.
It’s possible to make careers from the so-called useless degrees with dedication and hard work.
What you say is very true....except for the part about the “useless degrees”. Degrees of this sort guarantee NOTHING at all while dedication and hard work will ALWAYS have a benefit.
What’s wrong with assessing what value a college education brings? Aside from massive inflation, I would say very little. What terrifies the Left is losing their cushy lifetime sinecures. They can be expected to fight Scott on it tooth and nail. I’d be surprised if Florida becomes the model for national higher education reform.
Good for you, I assume you are using that specialized university education directly? Anyways what percent of graduates in fine arts end up using that degree to make money excluding working for the Gov't or a university? University meaning mostly subsidized by the Gov't such as employed by a State U
My guess on the above Q is 3%
Agreed. Except that I would add that degrees of ANY sort are no guarantee - not just the so called useless degrees. I went through three business majors when I was looking for someone to help run my business. They were all idiots incapable of actually managing a business. The person who actually got the job done and helps keep my business afloat studied anthropology. She specialized in the creepy a$$ rituals of some tribe in Peru. Dang good manager though. Go figure.
What percentage? Very tiny. Very few people are willing to put in the literally thousands of hours of work it takes. Lazy people think arts require less dedication and hard work than other careers. Those sorts of people usually amount to nothing no matter what degrees they get.
The pity is that a lot of really talented artists never “make it”. Not for lack of skill but for lack of business education. Another argument for cross discipline training.
There is a fundamental market principle being violated by acadumbia, an inverse relationship between quality and price. As the quality of American education plummets the cost necessarily skyrockets. Where’s the left and their “windfall profits mantra”? Oh. I forgot, acadumbia is largely a propaganda arm of the left. Everything that the left gets its tentacles into it corrupts. Good for Governor Scott.
William F. Buckley
On his Facebook his liberral prof buddies all chime in about conservative stupidity and ignorance. I wouldnt send my kid to that school if it were free. All profs from Notre Dame too. the catholics are really putting out some quality priests. (/sarcasm)
Long over due. Higher edecuation has been the direct and indirect beneficiary of too much federal funding. Students are borrowing a fortune in federal loans to pursue worthless degrees. How many medival women studies majors does society need?
To round out our education engineering students were required to take liberal arts courses. It was a requirement that these courses be entirely academic with no practical value. That quote was from the dean of engineering, as I wanted to take a few biology labs in lieu of art.
When I got to that side of campus I was appalled. Students were so stoned in the film class they couldnt tell you that Humphrey Bogart had starred in the Maltese Falcon five minutes after wed seen it. I talked to quite a few students trying to determine why and how they were there. Many were on grants or student loans. They were obviously there to party, not work.
The degrees the liberal arts majors were getting were useless. I talked to one guy who had been working on his PhD. in Russian Art Literature. I asked what that would prepare him to do and he said, Teach Russian Art Literature. It was a narrow field and he said hed have to wait for his major professor to retire.
Yes, but Liberal Arts courses are fun - I found out all you needed was an opinion and the ability to express it in order to do well in Philosophy. Some of my most fun (but useless) courses were Liberal Arts "fillers". The need for them also extended my time and costs in order to get the degree....
As more and more money is spent on education, illiteracy is increasing. And I wouldnt be at all surprised if it didnt end up with virtually the whole revenue of the western countries being spent on education, and a condition of almost total illiteracy resulting therefrom. - Malcolm Muggeridge
For every grant dollar that is given to a faculty member, the university receives additional money from the government for ‘overhead’. At Stanford, for example, for biomedical grants this overhead rate is 100%. So, if a faculty member is awarded a 1 million dollar grant, Stanford gets an additional 1 million. So 2 million dollars goes to Stanford.
Further, in many departments at many universities around the country the faculty are expected to pay a significant chunk, and sometimes all of their salary from grants.
So, the universities pay cut-rate salaries and get ‘overhead’ money from the government. This means that there has been little reason for universities to limit the growth of their faculty. It also means that they would rather their faculty spend their time writing grants than teaching.
They hire faculty, hope they'll publish something or do something that will bring kudos and money to the university, jettison them if they don't, and then just start the cycle again. Whatever kudos they do get they use to fish for philanthropic funding - to compliment what they get from the government. They use some of this philanthropic funding to build new buildings, allowing them to attract more faculty who hopefully will bring them more grant money.
How does one get grants? Publishing, for one, which is why there has been such an explosion in the number of publications. This in turn leads to lots of published chaff being added to the wheat.
The problem is that grant funding is shrinking, because the government is broke. They system is broken. It will be interesting to see what happens.
If he is, I admire him for it.
It would be nice if in Pa. there was someone who was.
All a piece of paper does is get you in the door. The problem with the people that hold these mostly worthless (today) pieces of paper is they have to actually PERFORM if they manage to get the job.
My personal feeling is businesses both large and small do themselves a huge dis service by not looking to fill positions with anything other then college graduates. Some of the most intelligent people I have met and the best managers I have had never even went to college.
I learned long ago that intelligence is what you are born with and smart is what you become by using this God given intelligence. The problem for many is they don’t have the first clue how to USE what they have. This is what college is supposed to teach but instead they waste the kids time by filling their heads full of revisionist Left wing crap and charge the family of the kid $50-75,000a year to do it to them.
This right here needs to be shown to the little 99%'s on Wall Street bitching about their student loan debt and the fact they can't get jobs to pay it. According to the 'academics' who taught them, higher education isn't about that.
The “student” “protestors” are also demonstrating that their “pursuit of knowledge” and “development of intellect” has been an Epic Fail.
It’s one thing to get an economically-worthless degree, yet have gained knowledge of something interesting. I know a man in the local political scene who has a Masters in Modern Irish Literature. Fascinating to hang out at the polls with on a slow primary day ... he does something in the insurance business to pay the bills.
It’s something else again to have spent $100,000 in borrowed money on a degree, but be unable to read, write, or reason at the level of my 10-year-old.
I think what Scott is saying is that if the STATE IS PAYING for part (or most) of the tuition, then the state HAS A RIGHT, and obligation, to try to make sure that money isn’t being wasted - because it is TAXPAYER MONEY. It is not the school’s money, until Florida gives it to them.
So, as I see it, if the majors are basically useless, then the kids pay their own way. They can still major in Shakespeare...but it’s on their own dime. If there is enough demand for that at the state schools (with people willing to pay the full cost), then they can keep the program...if not, then those students can go to private schools (or the University of Phoenix, LOL).
As to those Vagina Monologue majors that wind up doing really well in corporate management, no one will be able to convince me that their VM degree was the reason, and that if they had a math or physics degree they would still be in the mail room.
Agreed. Perhaps academics define ‘development of intellect’ in the ethereal sense. In that case, they’re succeeding.
He should be. Academia is filled with morons.
More power to ya! It is nice to meet an artist who is conservative. You like red.... You know that red is a power color that women sometimes try and pull off in certain business and social situations. Dittos for guys (businessmen & politicians) and red oriented neckties. The traditional Chinese with money....They would bundle up in red robes in the winter. They felt it made the person warmer.
I think this is great news. I taught previously at the State College of Florida, and the system is incredibly stupid. The senior profs do little teaching and suck in huge amounts of money. Administrators likewise make a mint. Most of the teaching is pawned off on adjuncts like myself, who make $1800 a semester and receive no benefits.
Talk about a rigid class system! If it were a company, the unions and Dems would be freaking out at the injustice.
End tenure, cut down the number of bureaucrat administrators, and focus colleges once again on teaching. Good for Governor Scott!
A conviction from one of the most brilliant and insightful men who ever lived..The Ivy League institutions are the greatest scam in the history of our nation. The power mongering of the rich elites who fund their endowments knew if they could get hold of the government reigns in this country, their children would not need knowledge to enslave the populations..They would only needed a piece of paper from Harvard, Columbia, Yale, etc. They now populate our media and our government and, though small in actual numbers, they have their people in all the powerful positions. Did families like the Kennedy's actual earn their degrees or were the degrees just a legacy for them?..Did they actually attend class?..I would love to know. Bill Buckley knew what was going on and he spoke up. In my mind, the revelations coming out from Penn State right now are cut from the same kind of mind set which is that the "elite" institution must be protected from the public at all costs to the public..Political correctness, begun behind those ivy league walls, have brought us this hedonism and I hope and pray people will wake up and demand investigations of power elites wherever they are found.
Right on! bttt
Yes, it is a far different thing to subsidize the education of people we cannot do without, such as doctors, nurses and teachers, engineers and people who have the REAL skills required to keep us running..People such as plumbers and electricians. I am just looking at my own life and in the past year, the above mentioned folks are the people I have needed to keep my family going. And, what about farmers and our food producers? Instead, our colleges and universities seem most committed to turning out government “masters” who would shackle those required to keep our basic needs met. How about the schenanigans of the EPA which have raised the cost of everything for us, impoverishing us everyday of our lives, so they can more quickly usher in their socialist system with themselves as the masters. It is time to bring the educational institutions under control..It can be done if the people demand it.
A major problem in this area is that the general population thinks that the function of a university is undergraduate education.
At the prestige universities and most large state schools, undergraduate education is actually a minor function, at least by some specific criteria.
For example, in schools such as those most of the tenured faculty will teach one undergraduate course a year - that might be thirty or so one-hour lectures for the entire year. (They might also teach a graduate course or a seminar or some such thing). Teaching assistants will do the grading and run the labs, if there are any.
Now that doesn’t mean those folks don’t earn their keep - they just do so in other ways (or not, as is often the case in some of the b*llsh*t disciplines).
In a similar context, if you go onto the campus of a big state school, most of the space in the educational buildings is devoted to research, not classrooms.
Now there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that approach, as long as you know what you’re paying for - there’s a reason Harvard and Stanford are Harvard and Stanford, and it’s got little to do with what’s going on in the classroom.
But taxpayers who are paying for State U think they’re paying for undergraduate education. They are - but *most* of what they’re paying for is NOT undergraduate education.
American university students are the new sharecroppers. Best be bowin’ and scrapin’ to da old masser professor lessen you be kicked off de land.
Governor Scott was a businessman and had no political experience before he was elected as our State.
He is doing what most Politicians would not dare do in years past. He is working for the people not the GOP Establshment.
Thank You Governor Scott.
I remember one political science professor who talked about the task of securing grants. It seems quite a few of them chase that grant money to get funding for their various screwy papers they want to publish. And yes, the prof in question was an extreme liberal who didn't mind telling the class about her political preferences.
Right, add prerequisite for law school.
One simple solution: have student loans be dischargeable in bankruptcy, AND have the college be on the hook for at least part of the loan if the student declares bankruptcy.
Suddenly, schools will lose interest in having students enrolling in unproductive majors, and in accepting students who would not benefit from a college education.
Political science was on the plate as a humanity where I went, as was history. I dabbled in history but that soon became, well, history. It became political science, anthropology, earth science, the mushy sciences. But not art. A good drawing artist I never was. Much later I found a forte in music, pardon the pun. But that was without the help of any university.
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