College Criticism Continues

Barkhorn_jul27_highered_post I've been getting e-mails from family and friends to tell me to stop the anti-academic diatribes. I can't help it! The fodder keeps on coming. I really want to change the subject, but I can't.

Wendy just sent me a link to a blog post about Andrew Hacker's new book, Higher Education?: How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids—and What We Can Do About It. Jennie Rothenberg Gritz writes:

Andrew Hacker, who is professor emeritus at Queens College in
New York, recalls the day a young political scientist walked into his
department to interview for a job. Everything about the man's resume
made him an ideal candidate. He was finishing his dissertation at a top
university. His mentors had written effusive recommendations. But when
the young superstar sat down with the department chair, he seemed to
have only one goal: to land a tenure-track position that involved
as many sabbaticals and as little teaching as possible. He was not
invited back for a second interview. 

She follows up with a great interview with Hacker.


9 thoughts on “College Criticism Continues

  1. One reason to worry about them is that many of them have a strong ting of sour grapes. That doesn’t mean that the criticism is necessarily wrong, but ought to make you, I think, think deeply about your reactions to them.

  2. Well, my husband (the one about to start a tenure track job while I’m going to be adjuncting) thinks that reading blogs & articles about this very subject has “poisoned” my thinking. Sigh. I’d laugh if I didn’t think what I’ve read is very real and that the problems are serious enough and affect my life deeply, given that I decided to get a PhD in the humanities. Thanks for continuing to take up this subject. I’ll check the interview/book up.

  3. One reason to worry about them is that many of them have a strong ting of sour grapes.
    And I shouldn’t call for the defenestration of Bank of America’s management just because they got bonuses and my stock dropped by 90%? Baa.

  4. It is rare that you see an example of humanistic anti-intellectualism as pure as Hacker’s suggestion that undergraduate engineering education be abolished. Apparently his own interests involve “wrestling with issues and ideas”, while other disciplines are merely “vocational”. I’d also like to know more about how Hacker draws the conclusion that industry isn’t “really ready for you until you’re 28 or so”.
    I’ve heard the “vocational” argument before–and indeed have some sympathy to it when applied to majors like sports management–but never have I found it advanced by someone who received both a humanities and engineering education. Funny how that works.
    I’m going to go off and buy a copy of Snow’s Two Cultures now.

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