Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Signs of mediocrity are everywhere at universities

Ron Srigley enjoyed annual teaching contracts at the University of Prince Edward Island for several years. He is now suspended. His story is unusual, but it illustrates one reason university tenure still matters. There may be no connection between an essay he wrote recently for the Los Angeles Review of Books and his suspension, but there probably is.

Srigley’s sin was to pen an open letter to the parents of students across North America. He told them things they didn’t know about what the average, mediocre university today has become. And average and mediocre describe UPEI and most other Canadian universities.

The change can be described easily enough — the majority of university employees no longer serve the purpose of a university, to cultivate intelligence and learning in our students and in ourselves. Instead, the “senior leadership team” promotes reputation, jobs, career advancement and self-interest. If this means inflating grades so little Janie does not feel disrespected and can acquire a transcript to ensure she gains her preferred employment, why not?

This is not a rhetorical question. The problem is that grade inflation, for instance, does not mean that Janie is getting smarter. Just the opposite — accommodating the combination of her long-nourished and high expectations with genuine inabilities means she is getting dumber.

There are many causes that brought even good universities such as Yale to the place where no fewer than 13 administrators were required to advise adult students how to dress for Halloween.  (more...)

Mafia of the mediocre know their signs

No comments:

Post a Comment