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Author: BlueGrits Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 56846  
Subject: Re: The Coming Twilight Of The Four-Year College Date: 12/17/2012 5:29 AM
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Having worked my way through college, worked in industry for about 30 yrs, and now having taught at the undergrad level for both a community college and two universities,here are a few comments:

1) Students themselves are devaluing the nature of college and many of them will openly state - proudly! - that they don't read the textbooks. In their minds, a degree is "getting their ticket punched" for job search algorithms.

2) Students pay attention to the teacher ratings, and ratings go up when less is asked of students. This produces a devastating feedback system. In some places I have taught, the permanent faculty has made it a point to emphasize that adjuncts should grade severely. Why? The permanent faculty can then grade easier, get higher evals, and show how much "better" they are.

3) Community colleges are the best bargain, but beware of getting only what you pay for. The instructors are there to teach and, because there's no pressure to publish, focus on that skill. That's a very good thing -- but also a bad thing. To be seen as a "good" teacher, one must have good evals so.... (see #2).

4) I think that in the rush to attract students, schools have taken professions which are trades and turned them into academia.

5) Schools have streaks of envy the width of a superhighway. If one offers a particular degree, why then the school across the town, state, or in the next state has to have that degree as well. (Locally, we just opened a major health care center and teaching hospital. Almost immediately Univ. of Texas had to leap forward and say that they also needed one at their main campus - about 20 miles down the I-35.)

6) Too many companies needlessly use college education as a gate for employment, even when that college education may mostly be irrelevant.

7) Schools are eager to accept the money for tuition (and alumni donations!), but don't really worry that much about helping students plan for their lives after graduation. At how many schools do you see Campus Life or the Financial Aid depts. sitting down with students and saying, "At the current pace of your borrowing, you'll be graduating with $XX,XXX of debt and in a profession where there is virtually no hiring in this state and typically only earns $xx,xxx if your relocate. Let's see what kind of life you can expect."

8) Stop making trendy degrees. Don't have a "Digital MBA" program or a Master's degree in "Leadership".

This doesn't directly relate to the OP, but one final observation....

It has been interesting to me that MBA programs which deal with support and staff functions - finance, accounting, HR, marketing, etc. - have grown while those programs associated with production and line mgmt (e.g., operations mgmt) have been shrinking. In a number of BS (mgmt) and MBA programs, one need never take a course dealing with any aspect of production. That's scary.
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