Saturday, September 12, 2015

What Is the Point of College? (New York Times)

By KWAME ANTHONY APPIAH
…Consider the declining proportion of fac­ulty with tenure. Tenured faculty are defined by more than the fact that they are hard to fire. Tenure allows professors to pursue intellectual projects without regard for what the trustees or the governor or the community care about. It gives them the kind of intellectual freedom that has helped make our universities the research powerhouses of the world. Adjunct faculty, on the other hand, are a lot less expensive — they’re paid less and typically lack health and other benefits — and you can easily expand or contract their ranks as demand fluctuates. In the Utility vision, students are consumers; they have needs and desires to be met, at a price they’ll pay. If pleasing the customer is the goal, a tenured faculty member who wants to teach what he or she considers worth teaching can be an inconvenience. Plus, at Utility U., one obvious way to better your ‘‘value proposition’’ is to cut costs. These days, three-quarters of the teaching faculty at America’s nonprofit colleges and universities are hired as adjuncts with no tenure and no research support. A few decades ago, only a quarter were….

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The origins of our college district, Part 7: <i>the Tustin-ness of the district's early years</i>

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