End the University as We Know It
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This editorial from the NYTimes a week ago caused a bit of a stir amongst the professors and grad students around me. What do you think?
Personally, although it raises a few concerns that need to be addressed (e.g. the ratio of graduate enrollments to available positions) much of the solution seems pretty absurd. The idea of top-down management of fields and positions (implicit in the article, though not spelled out fully) is particularly worrisome.
Indeed, it's absurd most of the time (particularly the second page. #2 got a good chuckle from me though).
The article makes a terrible assumption in the first paragraph--that all grad students "pay" for their education. Wrong. Many programs offer teaching and research assistantships (for 5 years guaranteed here), so we pay ~$300 a semester in fees while making a very modest living. It talks about stipends later, but then says no benefits. I have excellent health care. A friend had a baby basically for free, while another racked up 15k in doctor's bills (don't ask). We're no good to them sick or dead, after all. I'm having a hard time taking this seriously at all, since he seems ignorant of the whole process.
I'll agree that there are too many people, too few jobs. I'm graduating like.. next week and there are little to no job prospects for me, despite being in a highly applicable field (chemistry, not religion or whatever the writer was). We could use some help on that front. My PhD, instead of a masters, is going to hold me back in some ways I think. -.-
A friend brought this up a bit ago, he's right more than wrong in this piece. We'll be fighting over adjunct spots soon while colleges and universities scale back full time faculty.
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