Monday, April 11, 2016

Yield To Progressive Demands = College Destroyed

By Professor Doom

Admin: “To facilitate student demands, we’re creating a fake algebra course that will satisfy the math requirement…”

--Yes, faculty protested. No, we didn’t have the power to stop this. Yes, we told admin that doing this would shut too many students out of useful degree programs, to no avail. Now we have millions of waiters with college degrees.

     I can’t tell you when higher education went off the rails, but, tie by tie, the engine of progress that is education has gone off the tracks.

Admin: “To facilitate student demands, we’re moving the drop date from the second week of classes, to the 14th week of classes. Also, students can now drop an infinite number of times for a degree program, instead of just three times.”
--Yes, faculty protested. Yes, we explained that moving the drop date so late and allowing casual drops would only have students take classes less seriously, leading to students taking much longer to finish their degree program. Our explanations counted for nothing. Now it takes more like 6 years to get the 4 year degree.

     Step by step, the higher education system developed over centuries has been dismantled by self-proclaimed “leaders” in higher education, who didn’t care about the lessons of the yesterday, and only wanted those student loan checks today.

Admin: “Too many students can’t handle the advanced coursework, and are taking too long to get degrees. So we’re going to create useless degree programs, like UFOlogy, Queer Musicology, and others, just to move them out.”

--Yes, faculty tried to explain that printing out a slew of crazy degree certificates would ultimately debase the people with actual degrees. Now graduates with engineering degrees can’t get jobs, so they work as waiters, too.

      Students eventually caught on: they were customers now, and the university was held in no more respect than the local fast food store. The student complaints got ever more outlandish, and administration complied, fearful of losing those checks.

Admin: “The student complained that you didn’t say “good evening” in a timely manner. Please correct yourself.”

--I’m serious, and this official, written complaint was passed on to me by a deanling after going through layers of bureaucracy.

     The childish incompetence of admin has led to today’s higher education system: instead of student protests about the draft, about war, about the unfairness of segregation, about things that really matter in the world like decades ago, we have student protests demanding “safe spaces” where students can hide on campus and not be exposed to ideas counter to their ideology, we have student protests demanding to re-install segregation, we have student protests to be just handed college credit despite doing no work.

      Faculty, of course, have tried to speak up, tried to explain that exposure to alternative points of view is what leads to growth, that institutional “separate but equal”  has risks without benefits, that a college degree’s value comes from the work necessary to achieve it.

      But faculty are irrelevant to higher education now. Administration does whatever they think will bring in more checks.

     University of Missouri has caved in repeatedly to the student protests, doing so in the most ineffectual, incompetent way possible. Yes, I covered this already, but now we look at the aftermath.

      Gee, what could be the effect of making it known, in a very public way, that the education at University of Missouri is bogus, that everything is abandoned in the pursuit of happy customers? To clarify, would future students be willing to spend time and a great deal of money getting a degree that would be treated as a joke?

     Again, faculty would have been happy to explain this to admin, that if admin continues to disrespect education and behave without integrity, then an education from Mizzou would be worthless, not just in the sense that it would represent nothing (which admin doesn’t care about anyway), but in a sense that admin does care about: nobody will be willing to go deep into debt to get it.

     Shocker: After Caving To Protests, Mizzou Has HUGE Budget Gap

     Yeah, no kidding. The real surprise is enrollments have only dropped around 25%. Seriously, only a completely unworthy parent would send his child to such a broken institution.

      What’s interesting is the size of the budget shortfall based on the loss of students:

The University of Missouri (MU) is losing about 1500 students and is facing a huge $32 million budget shortfall 

     I just can’t help but do the math, here: every lost student “costs” Missou over $20,000. Admin is doing what they can survive the consequences of their own incompetence:

Because of the abrupt and unexpected nature of the shortfall, Foley is taking immediate and severe steps to fix the situation: The school budget is being cut 5 percent across the board, all hiring is being frozen (barring exceptional circumstances), and annual raises have been canceled. 

--I have to chuckle here, part 1. “Abrupt and unexpected”! That’s right, admin had no clue that such a total and public debasement of education might have consequences…I bet every faculty member on campus could have told admin, but these guys are clueless, despite their Administration/Education Ph.Ds.

--I have to chuckle a little here, part 2. I’ve received 2 “annual raises” in over 25 years of teaching. It really must be nice to be admin to actually be able to count on such things. What’s really fascinating here is that in times of hardship, the cuts affect faculty and admin equally: admin honestly thinks they’re just as important as faculty, thus failure should be shared equally. In times of plenty, all the extra loot goes to admin and admin alone because they claim all responsibility for that…

     Certainly, cutting back expenses is a solution, but it once again underscores the grave lack of imagination, or even competence, of our “leaders” in higher education. This is the best they can come up with, reinforcing the fact of their own incompetence, despite a legion of them trying to figure out how to save Mizzou. I’m just one guy, and here are some real ideas off the top of my head that go beyond the simple knee-jerk reactions:

1.     You’re losing 25% of your incoming students…maybe cut down 25% of your administrators? *Bam* budget problem solved. Heck, just close down your totally demonstrated as useless Diversity Initiative Department (staffed by 8 females and one token black male, incidentally. I can’t make this stuff up! Click on the link and see it with your own eyes, they’ve got pictures…this kind of bigoted hiring has been going on in education for decades now), and solve much of your budget shortfall in one stroke.

 2.     Don’t cut back on faculty, instead focus on how Mizzou has small class sizes, making it a place more focused on education than the “huge lecture hall and PowerPoint presentations” that dominate the sellout schools. Grow some balls, mention the sellout schools by name and how the other schools have classes with 500 students in them, while Mizzou doesn’t.

3.      Revert to the “old school” education ideas. Get rid of fake degrees and reverse every “student as customer” policy change of the last ten years. Make the school a place to be proud of for going back to successful traditions, instead of a place notorious for sellout policies that change with the political winds.

4.     You’ve got fewer students now? Then that means you may as well institute admission requirements, put in real entrance exams, make Mizzou a place for people that want to be there to get an education, instead of a place for more violence, stress, and protests. Not only will you directly cut down on the protests over ridiculous things, you’ll again put the school on a path to becoming a legitimate institution.

      It took me all of five minutes to come up with the above, but the best the “leaders” at Mizzou can do is come up with a plan that let’s all administrators keep their cushy jobs, while the education there degrades even further.

    Gee, wonder what the future will hold for Mizzou on the path they’ve chosen…


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