Monday, December 18, 2006

"The last student who went through Penn State and regarded faculty as authority figures probably graduated during the Coolidge administration.&qu

Stephen J. Cimbala, distinguished professor of political science a Penn State Delaware, has a great op-ed in today CDT. Here is the closing few paragraphs.

Unfortunately for Horowitz (and some of his critics), the problems of contemporary higher education have little to do with political bias on the part of professors. They have more to do with a culture of entitlement in which many people, including students, see no connection between work and reward. This culture of entitlement exists within the larger context, of an increasingly consumer-driven model of education.

For many students, faculty are mere speed bumps between admission and the big payoff of graduation, followed by lucrative employment and all the good things in life.

Nowadays, most students approach college as a matter of consumer choice and customer service: Aware of this, colleges now hold seminars on "branding" their products to recruit more of the best students in a competitive marketplace.

Even otherwise reticent and self-effacing faculty, faced with the demands of a consumerist society and competitive marketplace, now advertise themselves in high-tech Web pages and brochures. Most senior professors may soon be named after, or even funded by, corporations, as football stadiums are.

Enterprising faculty may become self-incorporated, iconic symbols, with actual courses taught in virtual reality by their cyber-personae.

In this fast-forward, Internet-driven world, faculty can barely control their own agendas: Turning students into acolytes is a pipe dream.

Go read the whole thing; it is well worth it.

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