Skip to main content

Future of the University

As you may have guessed, I am someone who believes in the power of higher ed. I want to work in it as a researcher and educator and I think this is the purpose of tenure, to be able to criticize the institution you are a part of. I don't see that very often today but I hope it still happens in corners I don't know about.

As a student here is what I think we need to change when considering the future of the university:

1. Affordability. I think in the US we have begun to equivocate a bachelors degree with being able to get a job and not only does this mean we are producing bachelors degrees at a rate never before seen but we're also reducing the pay rate of those degrees because of over saturation. All this is occurring while having these students take on mountains of debt. College isn't for everyone and I think we need to be more ok with that idea. We also need to make it affordable for everyone. It is unethical that your parents ability to afford an education is what can keep you from attaining it. We are country built on the idea of being able to change your station and statistically this is more true in Canada than the US now.

2. Publication pressures. Faculty based incentives or the "publish or perish" idea take away the idea of producing quality literature to improve the advancement of public knowledge. We need to place emphasis on quality maybe over quantity. Yes you do need to be working on something in academia but a lot of those things can't be done in a year or even two. Making faculty raises and success metrics based on pure numbers of citations is toxic. As we investigated in ethics week, the academic field is turning into a pressure cooker and then we punish those who crack. I fear when I become a professor because while I honestly think I could be good at it, I wonder about the costs of failure and what would I even do.

Those two things are major changes and would require institution wide reform but I think they are possible.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Mission Statements

I chose to look at and compare the mission statements of 3 colleges/ universities close to my family; Michigan State University (MSU), Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT) and Macalester College. I was interested in how the mission of a small liberal arts college like Macalester would compare with two much larger universities and how an international setting would alter the stated mission.

All three missions are quoted below with links to finding them. Examining each mission statement I was struck by how the different emphases related back to the school's identity. AAIT emphasizes the importance of "technology transfer" which I think is vital to helping educate the public of Ethiopia. MSU, as a contrast, emphasizes research and improving quality of life around the world and Macalester, as an internationally oriented small liberal arts school, really reflects this in their stated mission. I am interested in the contrasting lengths and vagueness that comes with establ…

Research Misconduct

As a PhD student and someone who's entire life is focused around research right now, I am often frustrated by the continuous analysis and iterating that comes from producing quality work. I know though that I want my work to mean something and that I need to do the due diligence whether it be in statistics, experiments, or quality assurance/ quality control and as frustrating as it is sometimes, I do enjoy it. I also continually try to remind myself that falsification, unethical research and practices hurt more than me if I were to engage in it. It hurts my professor, my family, my field and the societies relationship with science and research.

This week, looking at the Office of Research Integrity cases that come up I chose to focus on a recent case of Dr. Li Wang. She is being reported for "research misconduct by recklessly including false data" in grant applications. She did withdraw 3 of them and has been remorseful but still I wonder if her 'punishment''…

Open Access Journal

I'm all for open access to science but I do wonder - why do we have to pay 4,000 dollars for it to happen? I chose to look at Environmental Science and Technology, an American Chemical Society journal. The about the journal section is brief and states it's goals almost exclusively as a research journal with little/no attention to a broader audience or to generating discussion outside of the field. The journal, as an American Chemical Society subset, gives a 3 options for open access. 4,000 dollars for immediate open access or 2,000 for open access in 12 months. They is very little discussion about it and it feels like a topic there because it needs to be and not because the journal really wants it there.

I chose an industry standard journal as opposed to one known for its radically accepting open access policies because I see these as the real challenge. Getting the big 'standard' journals to acknowledge and see the advantages to open access to me is the real fight. Ev…
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.