Any responses to the NY Times piece End the University as We Know It? Another piece highlighting the concerns of specialization and the slave labor by graduate students in the research universities with diminishing chance of reward after pushing through the system.
The dirty secret of higher education is that without underpaid graduate students to help in laboratories and with teaching, universities couldn’t conduct research or even instruct their growing undergraduate populations. That’s one of the main reasons we still encourage people to enroll in doctoral programs. It is simply cheaper to provide graduate students with modest stipends and adjuncts with as little as $5,000 a course — with no benefits — than it is to hire full-time professors.
In other words, young people enroll in graduate programs, work hard for subsistence pay and assume huge debt burdens, all because of the illusory promise of faculty appointments. But their economical presence, coupled with the intransigence of tenure, ensures that there will always be too many candidates for too few openings.
What do people on the inside think about Mark Taylor’s, the chairman of the religion department at Columbia, assessment of higher education and his proposal of rigorous regulation and complete restructuring? Does he shake you from your complacency and open academia to a future you cannot conceive, just speak out without proposing viable next steps, or miss the boat for followers of Christ engaged in higher education?
Note: I was particularly interested in the transforming the traditional dissertation, providing opportunity for other formats.