Many of my previous posts have decried the decline of learning in many of our colleges and universities.  Some of those reasons I’ve written about:

1)  the intellectual cost of being allowed to graduate today with little or no contact with the traditional liberal arts curricula.

2)  the unfortunate tilt our colleges are making in the direction of skills training institutions.

3)  the cost our graduates will pay in their adult lives (both as professionals and as citizens) when dealing with important issues outside their undergraduate major.

4)  the cost our state legislatures have transferred to our young students and their families by starving traditional state university funding in the interest of short term political gain.

Last week I came upon another interesting article on this subject, “The Price of Higher Education” by Julian Vigo, published in truthdig.  Here are the opening paragraphs:

I have been in academia since the mid 1980s—first as a student, then as a university professor. I have seen higher education shift radically over the past three decades: from being a place of learning where intellectual debate, particularly in the humanities, was based on a direct engagement with texts and cultural artifacts, to today, where it is the site of emotional and moral exorcisms and where many humanities departments now discourage reading.

 Not only have curricula and course syllabi been sterilized by this move to banish unpopular ideas from university halls, but much academic rigor has been lost, in part because the focus of higher education is dictated by an increasingly reactive and conservative student body, one which demands safe spaces and which “no-platforms” unpopular speakers and ideas.

 And in part, higher education is failing simply because the university has been turned into a job training center. So the insularity of “safe spaces” and “taboo subjects” works quite seamlessly within the larger ethos of training students to enter the employment sector. Likewise, they are not trained to question structures of power, inequality, ethics and so forth. The university system is becoming corporatized even without the tacit consent of its contributors, faculty or students.

 As a scholar, I am concerned by what is a fundamentally capitalist approach to higher education today that seeks to sell students an entry pass into the job market while depriving them of the critical skills that a university degree has historically represented.  .  .  . “

This subject will not go away.  Our country will eventually play a huge price for this unnecessary distortion in higher education.  We should demand better from our university administrations and much more from our state legislatures.

More on Monday  –  –  –

                         — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning

                      February 14, 2018

      www.itclearning.com/blog/  (Mondays & Wednesdays)



(This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner, jhbillwalton@gmail.com, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)