Thursday, May 19, 2011

Faulty Towers: The Crisis in Higher Education

Although I do not agree with all the recommendations of this article, this is a good summary of the problems we are experiencing at American universities. Perhaps this is one result originating in the movements of the 1960s that sought to destroy classical education and replace it with a utilitarian system. The idea was that the university should be a vocational school and nothing more. It is unrelated to human happiness and the desire to know and understand. The difficulty is that we are unable to see the problem. As a culture, we tend to evaluate everything through short-term lenses and are unable to see how these decisions lead to later problems. Perhaps this is one of the results of the dictatorship of relativism. In any case, it is a crisis that hurts our young.

Once the university sought to sell itself by emphasizing its non-academic features there was a problem. Do we want to let today's young determine what is an essential feature of higher education. Perhaps this is why universities compete over the size of their student unions or over the stores where students can shop on campus. Why do American colleges need massive athletic centers with pools and student centers when we do not have enough faculty to teach basic classes? Did anyone ask whether we should be modeling our universities after shopping malls?

At the university where I work, we have recently heard the administration refer to our students as clients, as though we were simply a business. Maybe that is what they wish us to be. I do not know. All I know is that the American university has ceased to propose something and our students are left to the popular culture and video games to introduce them to reality. Where have we come and where are we going?

Faulty Towers: The Crisis in Higher Education | The Nation

See Also:
Tuition Skyrockets -- While Learning Plummets

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