Sunday, May 20, 2012

Academic bloat. Source
Prof. Mark Perry reproduces the bar chart to the right as evidence of extraordinary administrative bloat at a major American university.

Which raises the question: why any administrators at all?

The bureaucratic takeover of the university stems from giantism in academia, a result of the belief unsupported by any realistic evidence that half the population can benefit from a higher education even if the result is mass unemployment and a population burdened with a trillion-dollars in student loans.

But a system of higher education large enough to accomodate half the population cannot replicate the university training of old. Where could one possibly find the requisite number of true scholars to tutor such a multitude of students? And what true scholar would wish to devote their lives to the education of so many of those marginally educable at the level of abstraction and detail required of a university training?

As a consequence, university students are now mostly taught, not by scholars, but by academic hacks, drudges and careerists.

To restore integrity to the academic world it would be necessary to return to a system of academic elitism, which allowed only those truly gifted and those truly committed to learning to enter institutions of higher education.

Universities could then once again be managed by the scholars themselves, as in 1687, when Isaac Newton represented the University of Cambridge before (hanging) Judge Jeffreys because of the University's stubborn refusal, in accordance with the law, to award an MA to a Catholic who would not take the Oaths of Supremacy.

And one need not go back to the 17th Century to find universities functioning as self-governing communities of scholars. Such was the model in England as recently as 50 years ago, when only one or two percent of school leavers pursued higher education and universities were correspondingly small.

But the way forward will not likely be by way of a return to the past, but by an entirely new course, as discussed here.

See also

Mish: First Time Ever - Majority of Unemployed Have Some College Education; Five Solutions to Education, Student-Loan Crisis

Peter Thiel: On college administrators as the sub-prime mortgage lenders of education

Bill Bonner: Sorry, Graduates, But Most Of What You Learned Is Useless

1 comment:

  1. "University students are now mostly taught, not by scholars, but by academic hacks, drudges and careerists." Well put.

    - Aangirfan