Friday, September 25, 2015

Why College Is Not a Commodity

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 11th, 2015

What is college for? We typically answer this question by citing a variety of purposes, of which liberal education is only one. Most other goals — marketable skills, moral and social development, learning how to learn — are tied to the demands of employers. Yes, young people need all of those qualities. But, apart from liberal education, our best colleges — say, the top 100 major research universities and the 50 best four-year colleges, which are our models of undergraduate education — aren’t an efficient way to provide them.
These institutions are built around their faculties: the remarkable array of physicists, biologists, economists, psychologists, philosophers, historians, literary scholars, poets, and artists who do cutting-edge, highly specialized scholarly and creative work. Such scholars may be superb as teachers, but they are far from a cost-effective source of job training. Even if we include liberal education as a goal, colleges do not need such high-powered faculties to teach undergraduates. People dedicated entirely to teaching, with no special interest in research but with master’s degrees in their subjects, could do an excellent job.

No comments:

Post a Comment

To eliminate spam comments at restricted to registered users. Additionally, all posts are moderated to further prevent spam and off topic discourse. We strive to post all on topic comments.