Search This Blog

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Interesting Article

From "Minding the Campus," an article called "Why University Presidents are Clueless About the World."

Even more interesting, the current UT administration seems to embody the negatives of both sides of the divide discussed in the article: Overpaid cronyism meets over-reliance on state support, the welfare-business model.


gollum said...

This article seems neoliberal screed, thus poop.

Aragorn said...

It seems more neoconservative screed to me. But Gollum was known for malignant sneaking about, not keen discernment.

Anonymous said...

Do we only want the right kind of help here? This unwillingness to horsetrade and politick is exactly why Jacobs is kicking your butts on this campus.

gollum said...

My Precious. The author Vedder is Adjunct Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute:

1) The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) plays an important role in extending the era of Reaganist, supply side, neoliberal economics.

2) The policy recommendations of neoliberalism include privatization of public activities and assets.

3) Vedder's article on close reading does not attack state public college presidents but a sneaky attack on state-supported public universities.



Anonymous said...

Neoliberal, conservative or liberal, Jake manages to encompass the worst of all perspectives.

Anonymous said...

It's true; the article does come from a right-wing perspective. But one of the fascinating things about the Jacobs regime is that people on both the left and the right have come to believe they're incompetent goons.

Anonymous said...

Re Vedder article

Leave the name-calling for the wing nuts.

Richard Vedder - Distinguished Professor of Economics at Ohio University - is outstanding.

He speaks the painful truths most left-leaning academics don't want to hear.

Check out his book - Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much (2004).

Vedder and other sober-minded analysts like him saw the inevitable end of business as usual in academia coming (for various reasons) a long time ago.

Jack Ketch said...

To Anonymous 6:48. You Sir should identify yourself as others have done! Meanwhile, you have not blunted the edge of my accusation. There is no need for you to lionize Dr. Vedder, who has already flashed his neoliberal, free market, social Darwinist credentials by proselytizing "Petrol" Petro's scheme to transform the University of Toledo and other state public universities in Ohio into charter universities (diploma mills). Drill, baby, drill!

Anonymous said...

Re Vedder etc. Part 1 (apparently only very short posts enabled)

Here are just a few obvious off-the-cuff reasons why Vedder and other likeminded scholars and educators are right and why the status quo in higher Ed has not worked, does not work and cannot work:

1) Like all massively bloated socialist bureaucracies – inefficiencies and redundancies in academia abound.

Inputs consist of hundreds of billions of taxpayer, donor and tuition dollars to fuel federal, state, local and institutional bureaucratic waste, extravagance and leftist political agendas and provide jobs and salaries (i.e. bribes) to millions of rank and file Democrat voters (not to mention the bloated salaries of redundant and pernicious upper administrators and far too many lazy fat cat tenured professors – and not to mention the funding of athletic departments and countless other campus entities that have nothing whatsoever to do with education) all the while fulfilling arbitrary affirmative action diversity quotas by pumping millions of unprepared students into the system who come from (surprise, surprise – abysmal liberal K-12 schools) etc. etc.

Most observers and players on both the left and right agree the system is severely damaged and academic outputs are dismal. It goes far beyond this. The future of our nation and indeed of any truly free democracy on the planet hangs in the education balance.

Conservatives like Vedder advocate significant education reforms mandating academic and fiscal efficiency, responsibility and accountability.

Liberals advocate more of the same (with even more money of course) – i.e. Einstein’s definition of insanity: Keep doing the same thing and expect different results.

2) There is no big secret about what meaningful education reform entails. The problem is the vested interests don’t want to let go of their long-standing stranglehold on all the massive power and money of the elitist education status quo – or of the psychological power of invoking the magic word “education” and how the mere mention of the word can cause most of the people to be obedient useful idiots most of the time.

3) Liberals also can’t let go of the fact that, just as individual people are physically different (some people are Michael Jordan or Joe Montana and some people aren’t) individual people are also intellectually and creatively different (some people are Einstein or Beethoven and some people aren’t).

Liberals try to essentially insist that, in school, either everyone gets to be Einstein, or nobody does.

Again. More insanity. Parts 2 and 3 follow

Anonymous said...

Re Vedder etc. Part 2

4) Instead of an institution of real higher learning, the academy has become a one-party postmodern politically correct indoctrination and propaganda machine run by elitist leftist tenured radicals. Real education or research only seems to happen despite everything and almost by accident anymore.

The indoctrination is so effective most “open-minded” liberal professors can’t recognize their own deeply-ingrained indoctrination.

See works by David Horowitz, Thomas Sowell, Roger Kimball et al., such as Horowitz’s: “One Party Classroom: How Radical Professors at America’s Top Colleges Indoctrinate Students and Undermine Our Democracy” and Sowell’s “Intellectuals and Society.”

5) Higher education is an elitist knowledge monopoly. Students must worship, serve and obey the powers that be – not to mention pay through the nose and offer up their firstborn children in order to gain access to the Ivory Tower.

Once allowed admittance, students must appease the Gods of Education and the voracious grinding “education” machine that must feed upon the minds and wallets of millions of new sacrificial innocents each year in order to survive.

In return students receive degenerate (physically, mentally and emotionally damaging) sex, drugs, rock and roll and political correctness campus socialization and hopefully eventually after five or six or seven… years, a sheepskin (if they ever actually get a sheepskin – since graduation rates are in the tank along with everything else).

This sheepskin – especially if it is in one of the useless politically correct humanities or social science disciplines (which seem to proliferate ad infinitum – Women’s Studies, Africana Studies, Cultural Studies…) is as often as not utterly worthless – intellectually, financially and morally.

6) Tenured professors have “academic freedom,” which means in practical terms that they are untouchable and unaccountable totalitarian rulers of the classroom – who may not be substantively questioned, directed or censured by students, administrators or outsiders. They must be appeased by the lowly student who requires the Golden “A” in order to survive the rites of passage in the Crucible of higher education. Part 3 follows.

Anonymous said...

Re Vedder etc. Part 3

7) Brick and mortar universities are NOT GREEN.

The carbon footprint of tens of millions of students and professors and staff and administrator daily commuters around the globe is an outrage that the wired age should have already rendered effectively moot.

The carbon footprint created to heat, air-condition, light, clean and maintain the hundreds of thousands of massive, often outdated and hugely inefficient college buildings and dormitories – and to landscape, mow and maintain their lawns – are similarly unnecessary and unacceptable.

8) The ultimate answer to all this is free, world-class, universally accessible online education from K-PhD (with brick and mortar facilities only as needed for labs, face-to-face testing and certification etc.) – which when properly done with existing technologies and pedagogical modalities is vastly superior to traditional classroom education (all biased huffing and puffing to the contrary).

Top quality online education is MUCH better, MUCH faster and MUCH cheaper than physical classroom education.

Online education eliminates ALL campus-born social plagues and fiscal and socio-political and access and “diversity” and “discrimination” and environmental issues, while offering UNLIMITED individualized attention for ALL students with SUPERIOR satisfaction and SUPERIOR outcomes for ALL stakeholders (including teachers).

If Bill Gates and Oprah and Madonna and Obama & Co. would simply wave a wand – the free national online university for all citizens would come into existence overnight.

But liberals just keep resorting instead to the infantile, self-serving Pee-Wee Herman Playground Gambit, saying “I know you are, but what am I?”

And so it goes… END

Anonymous said...

Three parts of the flow of consciousness: none of them presenting a hint of the author having any teaching or learning experience. The role of scientific schools is totally ignored, the fact that arts and sciences are inherited from 'the first hands' seems to be unknown to the author. The metaphor of "Gods of Education" reveals sarcastic perception of the notion of God. Online universities can graduate many more of such authors -- godless, aggressive, lacking positive thoughts, and extremely negative to those who are trying to communicate knowledge and passion to the future generations.

Anonymous said...

It's sad that - given the situation - there are so many misinformed posts supporting the Vedder article and bashing the University. Let's start with the quote at the top of the page: "over-reliance on state-support, the welfare-business model". The fact is that the state (as of 2012 budget) provides only about 21% or less of the University budget. The rest is provided by (in order of importance) student tuition, faculty research grants and contracts, sales and services made by the University, and private donations (gifts). Clearly, the majority of the support is NOT provided by the state, while state support has been declining.

Despite this, UT has continued to provide a quality and affordable education to many motivated students over the past few years. I should add that the recent 15% decrease in state support to public Universities (from 25% to 21% for UT) is entirely due to the effects of the (hopefully temporary) 2008 recession on the Ohio budget.

Finally, I should add that the University is not a business. Its goal is not to make money. As a comprehensive metropolitan University its goal is to educate students in the disciplines (engineering, nursing, business, pharmacy, science, technology, languages, humanities, music, art, theater, medicine, and law) needed to thrive in the 21st century, as well as to contribute to the local community by fostering and supporting business and technology (through research carried out at the University and supported by grants and contracts) as well as community and cultural activities. Many of these activities require laboratory space, performance-space, social interaction, etc. and cannot be carried out online. Faculty work long and hard hours teaching and mentoring students, carrying out research, and performing service for the University and greater community, because they care about the students, the University and the community.

Anonymous said...

Not to change the subject at hand, but why didn't Obama visit the University of Toledo yesterday? I thought we are the driving force behind economic growth in the region, not Chrysler/Fiat?

Jack Ketch said...

To Anonymous 6:13. You are the one who is either misinformed or deliberately jerking around the Vedder message to suit your own ideology. Vedder criticizes public university presidents mainly for not riding herd more "efficiently" on their "lazy" professors. He has the balls to generalize in a more recent article that the members of the America's tenured professoriate "do not have the same work discipline as other professionals, and the slack is a major reason why faculty costs are so high"

Your own letter implies you somehow know which university disciplines will be most useful for providing meaningful and productive employment for college graduates in the 21st century. What gives you the authority and validity to make such a claim? Your self-confidence in this present age of uncertainty is remarkable.

Anonymous said...

At least he didn't go to visit the campuses of Lourdes or Owens instead ... or to the new Lincoln College of Technology, or the local Herzing University, or to Peebuddy's Institute of Wigets and Digets.

Anonymous said...

Another important article from a different UT with inspiring leadership. Rather than jumping on a political bandwagon to blame faculty, this leader stands behind faculty and faculty initiatives and challenges the political leaders in his state.

Anonymous said...
Sorry. powers_productivity is how that site ends