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October 27, 2012

"Three Things Colleges Don't Want Us to Know"

Richard Vedder turns over a few of higher education's rocks. What's underneath is pretty ugly.


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Good and sharp criticisms, although I am annoyed at Vedder's straw-man complaints about low teaching loads being the reason university is so costly, and about research "not being read." Academic research is not People Magazine. A better metaphor would be the bricks of a house. Individual bricks are seldom inspected, but they build up to a whole that is important.

That being said, I would agree that up to a point, research is a treadmill. We value research productivity based on relative comparisons. If everyone taught 30% more and did 30% research (say), we probably wouldn't be worse off. However, we need to see some quid pro quo (fewer admin!). As long as only 10% of a college's budget goes to teaching, it is disingenuous to blame faculty for the budget crisis.

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