Wednesday, August 28, 2013
I’m fully on board with a host of reforms to make higher education more economically sustainable. But at the end of the day, there’s just no substitute for a robust job market for new grads. Take care of that, and we’ll have the breathing room to decide which reforms are actually helpful and which are just disguised suicide. Fail to take care of that, and no amount of cost cutting will be enough, as sure as the sky is blue.
Heh. I'm so old that I remember when the U of Calif was free. It would be interesting to revisit the taxation rates and budget distribution from those days.
I think you are missing the important detail that some colleges, mine among them, could run with zero tuition if we got less than what major R1 universities get per undergrad from this state. It really is a matter of whether the State intended to pay for research dominated work loads under the guise of undergrad education. I think they do, which is why the model persists.
Your funny story reminded me that some major corporations still bring in technical people such as engineers and put select ones on a management track. I wonder if that means they will go the way of [failed retailers] or if they will succeed while tech companies run by scientifically ignorant MBAs will fail.
PS - Some of our faculty are testing an open math book that they think has huge promise.
PPS - It isn't a recession that is lingering, it is the normal drawn-out process of recovering from a depression like those common in the (18)80s.
CCPhysicist: I won't speak for DD, but the OER textbook I'm using (and had a small review role in) is OpenStax' book, which is trig-based and really meant for pre-health professions (which is what I teach exclusively). There is an open calc-based text - Ben Crowell's Simple Nature - which I love, but Crowell's explanations are HARDLY traditional, so your opinions may vary.
I'd say somewhere about 25-30 years ago (just my opinion here--it could be longer than that), it became no longer enough to have a (liberal arts) degree and a pulse to be able to walk into a job and be trained. Employers don't want to spend money on training; they want "job-ready" applicants. So it's the degree PLUS relevant experience (industry internships, part-time job, etc.) that gets you a shot. I think [liberal arts] institutions are starting to recognize this, but they're late to the game.
75% of new hires this year were part-timers. I don't believe we have a precedent for this phenomenon at this stage of a "recovery." What we are seeing is more likely a structural change in the economy, one which will challenge a host of assumptions. Including the need and role of higher education.
The troublesome trend in jobs, it matters only who you know, not what you know.
Thus it has always been and shall ever be. Seriously.
Internships, internships, internships. Grow your network. Even if your degree teaches actual skills that directly translate into a job, that's the only way to get employed. There are some things you only learn by working. Any prof that advises their students otherwise is doing them a disservice.
I thought then, and I still think now, that "skill shortage" is management-speak for "shortage of skilled people willing to work for what we want to pay them". I also note that the rhetoric about needing to pay enough to attract good people stops as soon as you get below upper management level…
I'd like to point out that this is a rather standard class; a book costing $200 is simply not justifiable.
For specialized books, that might be justifiable. I have a couple of books which were written by one or two of a dozen people in the world who *could* write them. But this is not that.
Anonymous:" Thus it has always been and shall ever be. Seriously.
Internships, internships, internships. Grow your network. Even if your degree teaches actual skills that directly translate into a job, that's the only way to get employed. There are some things you only learn by working. Any prof that advises their students otherwise is doing them a disservice."
No. If the job market's good, then non-networked people have adequate job prospects, while networked people have great job prospects.
If the job market's lousy, then non-networked people have nothing, while networked people have miserable job prospects.
The economy makes a huge difference, and this is rather solid.
Thanks for the info, Prof Pearson. A colleague teaches that class and is similarly getting fed up with the cost of both new and used copies of the frequently revised text he uses. It should be worth a look.
One problem with some of the OERs is that it is just a single-author book with dubious editing or review. I like that the book you use has multiple authors. Based only on its table of contents, it also seems reasonable that one could "easily" revise it to be a calc-based text.