Tuesday, September 14, 2010

For-profit education

No punditry or wisdom in store for today: Just prepping for today's classes :)

In the course of doing so, however, I started watching this Frontline documentary on for-profit education in the United States today: College, Inc..

Clearly the journalists approach this topic with a story to tell: They adopt the skepticism that they assume their audience will share.

Now, I pride myself on being in touch with the industry news, but I had no idea that so many students were taking courses through for-profit colleges and universities. So, I might re-evaluate the stance that Frontline takes.

The interview with the executive at the University of Phoenix raised my hackles. I think a lot of us feel that academia / higher ed is where good ideas come to die: Like, serve on any committees lately? The cynicism of faculty concerning service is not that we do not like to do it, but that we do not like to do it when it comes to naught. Which even in my four-going-on-five years, I perceive is what happens more often than not. For example, the standing committees on which I serve, representing my department, hold "advisory" status. Which means that the time and concern that we commit to this service will not and cannot effect change. So, the Phoenix model of Getting Things Done can seem appealing.

Faculty at "real" colleges and universities, like where I work, talk with disdain about for-profit education, but I think we need to pay attention to what they do. The faculty at for-profit colleges and universities are not unlike us. They even might be us. I bet a lot of the professors there do their work quite capably.

Of course, the students and the faculty are not the "targets": For-profit education treats them as opportunities and costs. I really think this is not the approach that academia / higher ed ought to adopt.

So much for keeping my promise about no punditry. Back to prepping today's classes...

No comments:

Post a Comment