Friday, October 7, 2011

Disfunctional University Professors

We have had some discussions here about problems within our university system.
Naomi Schaefer Riley has opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal that discusses one part of the problem with our university systems.  She is the author of the recently released The Faculty Lounges : And Other Reasons Why You Won't Get the College Education You Paid For.  I am not sure I agree with all of her points, and she may overstate some of her arguments, but she makes some very interesting points.
Naomi Schaefer Riley, Editorial, Wall Street Journal, 19 July 2011.
One 2005 study in the Journal of Higher Education suggests an inverse relationship between the amount of time spent in the classroom and a professor's salary. It would seem that professors who spend their time writing are the ones most valued by our universities.
College teachers have responded as one might expect to a publishing-pays, teaching-does-not incentive. As a 2009 report from the American Enterprise Institute pointed out, over the past five decades the number of language and literature academic monographs has risen to 72,000 from 13,000 while the audience for such scholarship "has diminished, with unit sales for books now hovering around 300."
In 2008, according to the bibliography review "Year's Work in English Literature," more than 100 new scholarly books on Shakespeare were published in English world-wide. Those books, whatever brilliant new insights they provided, represent thousands of hours lost to undergraduates who really could use a good classroom course on Hamlet.
She also, in arguing about tenure brings up some interesting credentialing issues
At a recent conference where I spoke on collective bargaining in higher education, one professor questioned (and others in the room also fussed about) my right to speak on the subject without—she was incredulous—a Ph.D.! I might ask why a degree in medieval literature or molecular biology would qualify one to discuss the growing unionization movement on college campuses.

No comments: