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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.


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