02 November 2008

I'm Leaving

Not me, but an anonymous professor says farewell to his less-than-beloved institution. Anyone who's had any experience with academia from the inside can relate well to his discontent:
After too many years at this job (I am in my mid-40s), I have grown to question higher education in ways that cannot be rectified by a new syllabus, or a sabbatical, or, heaven forbid, a conference roundtable. No, my troubles with this treasured profession are both broad and deep, and they begin with a fervent belief that most of today’s college students, especially those that come to college straight from high school, are unnecessarily coddled. Professors and administrators seek to “nurture” and “engage” and they are doing so at the expense of teaching. The result: a discernable and precipitous decline in the quality of college students. More of them come to campus with dreadful study habits. Too few of them read for pleasure. Too many drink and smoke excessively. They are terribly ill-prepared for four years of hard work, and most dangerously, they do not think that college should be arduous. Instead they perceive college as an overnight recreation center in which they exercise, eat, and in between playing extracurricular sports, they carry books around. If a professor is lucky, the books are being skimmed hours before class.
The rest is well worth reading.

As a part-time instructor of undergraduates at an unnotable college, I've had to exercise mortification of the tongue on many an occasion when certain university policies were mandated: "Student retention is key!" "We have a lenient late policy, so do not penalize students for late work!" "Send out 'caregrams' during midterm break to let failing students know you care!" "We have a strict plagiarism policy--three strikes, you're out--but if they cheat four, five, or ten times but are really, really sorry, we can be flexible." "Student faculty scoring determines which instructors get classes next term, so ingratiate yourself to those who can't read, write, or think, or else they'll take it out on you on their end-of-term evaluations!" (All of this meaning: humiliate yourself to any lengths in order to keep students from dropping out of class, even if they are unworthy candidates for higher education, because the dollar is the bottom line!)

(via Crunchy Con)