Just came across this spot-on observation about university course syllabi:
Over the years I’ve noticed that, in line with other manifestations of writing in English studies, course syllabi have gone from two page lists of reading assignments to forty page paragraphs of confessions, entreaties, threats, deals, praise, riddles, riffs. Some of these things look more like Math syllabi than English, given how popular the business of breaking grades down into smaller and smaller increments has become (“Students will receive 3.2% for attendance; 15.8% for contribution to discussion...”). Perhaps it’s because many universities now require professors to put copies of all of their syllabi (and assignments; and exams) in their Annual Review packet, but a decision seems to have been made that in lieu of a tenure manuscript a book-length syllabus will do.
And an NRO columnist makes some pointed remarks about current Higher Education:
This climate of enforced homogeneity produces a striking intellectual torpor that’s most unbecoming in a supposed place of higher learning. It also produces grotesque intellectual defects akin to the physical defects one often finds among the chronically inbred. After decades of hearing nothing but their own ideas echoing back at them — of seldom having their logic challenged — many of my tenured colleagues had come to believe some pretty strange things: Suffice it to say that almost everything in American affairs was linked to some conspiracy theory, most of which were linked to the Oval Office (but only during Republican administrations).