[FoRK] 5,057 janitors in the U.S. with Ph.D.’s

Adam L Beberg beberg at mithral.com
Thu Oct 28 14:35:33 PDT 2010

Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo wrote on 10/27/2010 1:18 PM:
> --- On Wed, 10/27/10, Jim Whitehead<ejw at cs.ucsc.edu>  wrote:
>> Also, typically teaching-only positions at top schools are
>> not tenure track.

At good institutions, there are still tenure-equivalent track jobs. But 
they are disappearing fast.

> And isn't that one of the most stupid features of our post-secondary institutions. Why do we call them "institutions of higher learning" when the resources are focussed on publishing papers rather than helping the students learn?

Students are a loss leader. If you follow the money, only a small 
fraction of income is from the tuition students pay, since most are 
highly discounted the money is all from elsewhere. It comes from writing 

There are schools that take money and teach you skills and don't have 
6-10 staff for ever faculty, but there is a war to destroy those places 
now, with Congress as the ground troops.

> It seems to me it's rather a bait-and-switch deal; the universities advertise their specialties and trumpet their lead researchers to get the students in the door. Then we take their money and they never see anyone but temps and teaching assistants.

It is a bait and switch, but nobody is claiming otherwise so that's not 
technically a problem (it's the cover up that gets you, and there isn't 
one). The students and parents know they are only there to pile up more 
A's and hook up with the alumni network so they can go into 
law/med/hedgefunds, i.e. more school, more A's, more networking. Which 
is just more of what high school is now - pile up A's, the right 
extracurriculars, and become "well rounded". Noone has ever gotten a job 
for being well rounded.

The situation on the ground is so much worse then you can possibly 
imagine, where the students only care about the grade and not the topics 
- because none of it is related in any way to law/med/hedgefund until 
they get into grad school. Thankfully I went to a teaching school (vs. 
research) long ago, so I had a profoundly different experience. But the 
economy is only making this worse, not better. Now those A's so you can 
get a network are even more critical, because that's how you get jobs.

I can say with complete certainty the higher education system we have 
now will NOT exist in 10 years. It's provably worse then every other way 
to educate we know of, and the costs no longer payoff in the end. People 
will still teach, and students will still learn - just like people still 
make music, and buy music - but the system will die and be replaced. In 
fact MORE will teach, and more will learn. We've all been seeing future 
echoes for a long time, and the dynabook is almost here...

It's going to be awesome :)

Adam L. Beberg

More information about the FoRK mailing list