The University of Akron is, so this story says, offering to buy out half of is faculty. Half.
How many administrators it will buy out or fire is not said. But we might guess far fewer, or none.
Most faculty will be encouraged to take the buy-out; some will not be allowed. These faculty are a point of interest. They are (a partial list here; see the story for the rest, which are similar): All faculty in the College of Polymer Science & Engineering, Law School, All in the College of Engineering, Accountancy, Finance, Management, Marketing, Chemistry, Communication, Computer Science.
Spot the similarity?
Yes, money. These departments bring in the bucks via grants (private and government) or via regular and robust subsidized student tuition (government-backed loans and occasional cash).
The departments which don’t pay are to be cut. Math, Philosophy, History, and the like, as well as all Studies and their ilk.
Akron has decide that the purpose of the University is to make money. Just like any other business. Judging from their picks, and from their geographical and historical situation, they have chosen wisely. Perhaps some tweaking is in order once the buy outs are over and new students adjust. All businesses work like this.
As far as deciding what a university is, Akron has chosen poorly. If it wants to relabel itself Akron Jobs Trainers & Plastics Research then they will at least be more honest.
There is nothing wrong with jobs training; indeed, the majority of students who attend university now are in it only for job training or credentialing. And a good bit of the remainder (there is some overlap) only go because they want in on the grant game, one way to the other. Which is to say, they want to be researchers in particular areas (more jobs). The fraction left are split into two camps: one wants to be trained in SJW activism/ideology, and the other wants to learn to become better men.
If this were openly acknowledged and we gave everybody what they wanted, we’d go far in solving our “higher” education problems.
We discussed fixes before, the primary idea of which was to start a network of scholars and proceed with a sort of virtual university. Starting our own network of universities is too expensive and time consuming to pursue at first, however necessary it is at last. Forming a network of scholars would take less time, but not much.
We need to start smaller.
One way is to calculate independent ratings of individual university degrees. This rating would have the imprimatur of the affiliate scholar network, but only in the predictive sense. The rating would certify only a likelihood that the person holding Degree X meets the standard of a true University.
Obviously, this takes some work. To first agree on the goals of what a university should be, and then quantifying or classifying whether or to what extent those goals have been met in the system as it stands.
Now all attempts at quantifying the unquantifiable are bound to be failures to some extent, if not wholly. Same here. The letter grading metaphor may be too weak, a number from 0-100 too fine. Pass or fail too blunt. Something has to be picked. If only for familiarity, letter grading might suffice: A, B, C, D, F. Tradition, after all, has many things to recommend it.
Emphasis: it is individual degrees to be judged, not programs per se.
It would easy to plow through many majors. Communications, for instance, is popular (Akron is keeping it), yet it is of almost no worth in conveying the education a Reality & Tradition-based university should offer, and so all such degrees would start with the presumption of guilt—that is, of an F. But that’s too crude, because some Communications majors concentrate on the technical aspects of media production. Valuable skills.
But not in the least skills that need be learned at a university. A one-year (daily, like a job) tech school would fulfill the function. At any rate, technical Communication graduates would, depending on efforts and how much ideology was part of their curriculum, begin at D, with C being the top possible grade, say, only awarded in exceptional circumstances where a student has done his best to conform to R&T.
Those Communications graduates, like all J-school graduates, whose only function is to learn the arts of Propaganda, would automatically earn Fs.
Any Studies graduate, F.
A student who took nothing but Biology, Genetics and the like, and is found to have excelled at these subjects by universal accord, a B. An A can only be reached if there is also a grounding in R&T. A geneticist without a grasp of metaphysics runs the risk of becoming Dr Frakenstein.
Likewise, a top Historian without an understanding of basic Physics, a B.
Obviously, this is only a crude introduction; a mere note of an idea. I believe it has merit, though. Outside rating agencies—those not engaged in shakedowns like HRC, SPLC, and so on—are not uncommon and are relied upon.
Another possibility you might have considered is to outsource intelligence and other testing. GREs, MCATs, and other tests already do this, thought; yet they only measure small aspects of intelligence.
Businesses, as we all known, don’t dare test because these tests invariably produce “racist” results. These tests have enormous limitations, as we should all know, but the university-diploma-as-proxy is even worse. Why?
Because with these degrees we have created an army of what would other be humble people running around terrorizing the country convinced their meager certification has proved them superior beings. Our external grading would inject some much needed reality back into the process.
Example to illustrate your last point:
When I got my first Corporate job doing an IT co-op while finishing a “University” degree, I was given a test by the company. Half basic algebra problems, half fill-in-the-blank flowcharts. Huge numbers of College Juniors failed miserably.
Naturally this test has been declared racist and is no longer allowed to be used, because it did not produce enough diversity.
I am an electrical engineer and I joke that I went to trade school. I considered becoming a physicist but noticed that the want ads didn’t contain many ads for physicists but had lots of ads for engineers. Electrical engineering looked like a great career in the 1960s. When I graduated I went to work for RCA but this company no longer exists. RCA used to design and build radios, TVs, electronic components, radar systems but all those engineering jobs went overseas. Consumer electronics which used to employ thousands of engineers is gone. Today I don’t advise anybody to go into EE unless they want to work for the power company.
Why is providing what the market is willing to pay for so bad?
Given the costs, the “market” is ultimately dominated by the employers who find the student grads worth hiring. That’s capitalism, which when left free of Govt activist intrusion has worked pretty well. Is there any reason to think this trend won’t continue if given the chance?
When the problem long bemoaned are university’s shifts to teaching the “wrong” values (seen as propaganda) the solution to me is not a shift in propaganda but rather the elimination of such ‘value teaching’ entirely.
Kids left to learn how to think objectively & critically on subjects lacking ideological underpinnings can, after graduating, better apply that critical thinking & evaluation skill more broadly. And without ideological indoctrination of any sort are better suited and more capable to do so more objectively to topics with high emotional content.
That aside, as long as ideological teaching is allowed, there are always some wanting to change the emphasis on the underlying values. To those satisfied, what is taught is true & proper, to those dissatisfied it is myth & propaganda. This tension will never disappear and whatever the academic status quo might be will always be under some sort of attack. That’s only if such indoctrination is there for such.
Impressionable young minds are better served first developing critical thinking skills, and thus armed, then turned loose on society with the intellectual strength to think and decide for themselves based on real data/evidence. Keeping the amount of value teaching to a minimum achieves this better than trying to ensure a given crop of educators are teaching the “right” values.
There used to be a plausible justification for requiring a liberal education at universities, but the justification relied on the belief that familiarity with the liberal arts led to better, wiser, more upright people. That argument no longer works because there is no longer any consensus that the original corpus of studies is valuable. In fact, the Left, which largely controls higher education, now views most of the traditional corpus in a very negative light.
Given this cultural change, any real attempt to reform higher education is going to have to give up the idea of a liberal education; that is, will have to give up the last vestiges of the Medieval university system. The educational focus for the foreseeable future will either remain more and more focused on Leftist political indoctrination (if we continue to let the inmates run the asylum), or it will have to be focused on career preparation; nothing else has any chance of achieving any kind of consensus.