Louis Menand, writer for the New Yorker and Harvard professor, has a new book out, The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University (Issues of Our Time). Menand explains that academia is broken. It takes too long to create PhDs and the system produces too many of them for the small number of teaching slots. It produces a homogeneous professorate, which is increasingly detached from society. The chasm between the professor and the student has never been wider.
Much of Menand's criticisms have been bouncing around the academic blogosphere for a long time. In the reviews of the book, I can't say that I was blown away by any of his conclusions. (Here are the reviews in The Economist and The New Republic.) Still, it's good to see the criticisms of academia put together in one book by such a skilled writer. Hopefully, it will expand the debate to a larger audience.