6 thoughts on “Improving Undergraduate Education at Research Universities”

  1. What’s the point of having more Ph.D students and teaching fellows when there won’t be tenure-track jobs for them? Or from what I hear, even livable non-tenure options? There’s a bigger problem than is being addressed here. But, I don’t know any college students and I tend to discount this whole college-students-today-don’t-know-anything routine.

  2. @NCG: There is no good reason for exactly the reasons you state. Which is why it is a relief to be teaching medical students instead of graduate students in my current. At least the doctors will (probably) have jobs awaiting at the end of the long, hard tunnel. The current generation of graduate students knows the score. Most of them are finding other things to do. As it stands for those of us with jobs in basic science, finding success in research when NSF and NIH are funding, on average, less than 10% of all investigator-initiated applications has become nothing but a lottery. And this uncertainty is creeping into institutions previously immune. When Johns Hopkins and UCLA catch a cold, it is pretty certain that the rest of us have one foot in the grave with double pneumonia.

  3. With youth unemployment at current levels, do we want more newly minted undergraduates with no future other than Walmart jobs that keep them off the career ladder for life and will never pay enough to cover student loans and a living wage?

    The answer is no.

    As long as society has decided to write off this generation by giving them no economic future, academia has an ethical responsibility not to sell today’s youth down the river by offering them education that will leave them economically worse off than nearly any other alternative.

  4. I’m really sorry to hear that support for scientific research is getting hit too. That is just the dumbest thing ever. And my understanding is that researchers don’t even make that much. It is a very strange economy we’ve evolved here. I think what we need is a proggy academic version of those OWS folks. (You’ve gotta have a plan…)

    There has to be a way to fix this economy. I refuse to accept that there isn’t.

    As for the problem of teaching, imho there is no substitute for writing papers and having them graded. Do people still do that?

  5. Well, I think this is a more relevant topic than “Improving Research at Undergraduate Universities”, which I have seen debated WAY TOO MANY TIMES.

    But good luck. When you’ve been hired to do research and more importantly to get grants funded that the university then skims the top 40% off of, it’s not easy to become a good teacher of undergraduates.

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