We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Believe me, it's not about informing your dog that he should not have peed on the antique rug, nor is about your dog's annoyance with you, as the critical animal he is, for being late with the suppertime kibbles.
I have to confess I couldn't get past the first few paragraphs. Anything containing the phrase "Modern Language Association," shuts my brain down.
Those people are nuts.
That they are employed by institutions of higher learning is one of a thousand symptoms of the problem with higher education. The problem: third party payment. Higher education is wholly owned by the federal government. If all student loans, Pell grants, veteran's education benefits and research dollars vanished overnight; so too would most of the colleges and universities.
Just as today's patients don't care what visits to the doctor cost because of their employer paid health plans; students and their parents don't much care about this nonsense in colleges as they are not paying the full price. Or, at least, it feels that way. The true costs are disguised.
I think I'm on to something here. Certainly not original, but new to me. I'll have to work on the idea.
I would posit that the true costs are not disguised at all, but right out in the open. Our college graduates are not what they used to be. Liberal Arts majors used to be able to function in the world in a variety of ways because they knew basic math, science and language skills. Now days Liberal Arts refers to your political orientation.
Right before we moved south, I was asked if I was available to teach two courses in the Fall semester for a friend who was taking a short leave of absence - I won't tell you the University involved because you wouldn't believe it anyway, but the titles of the two courses were "Math for Liberal Arts Majors" and "Science for Liberal Arts Majors". Seriously. Get this - the "math" course was equal to what is normally understood as pre-algebra in most school systems with a touch of Algebra 1. You don't even want to know what the "science" course was.
So the evidence of the true costs of current "higher" education is right in front of us.
You know - I'm all for exploring these little side avenues of research because you never know what the results are going to be.
The problem is that you, me and everybody else is actually paying for it. What ever happened to the days of independent research, studying an area of interest until you got a general idea, then presenting that idea to the department head for approval to spend some university time developing the concept for course approval?
To answer your question: In every department in almost all universities there is a gatekeeper--a woman who is the person who decides what applications for research funding will leave the department and go to the funding agency. If you have an idea for doing a research project and need a little extra funding you will have to get her support. She will not give that support unless one or more of her girl friends are included in the grant proposal. If you are working in a School of Engineering, you will most certainly have to include someone even higher up than your local gatekeeper, maybe a provost(qualified or not does not even come into the conversation). Once you have added at least two poorly qualified, politically connected persons, you will now have to develop a budget--that budget must include an additional 50% over original costs and added salaries--that 50% must go to the university itself and you will get nothing in return toward your research project. They will however write a letter in support of your research proposal.
If you want to know what stupid things are studied just go to NSF and click on various awards--type in the school of your choice and ask to see what current projects they are working on.
"Some people even think I make jokes about dogs. For God's sake anybody who looks at my drawings weith enough observation should be able to see that dogs play the part of intelligence and repose ... Typical of the stupidity of our species was my woman who said, 'If I rang the wrong number, why did you answer the phone?' That seems typical of the female intelligence, though I do get intelligent letters from women. Notice the despair and resignation of the dog in that picture ... I think we are in a terrible state ... I say these things and people just talk about my 'charming dogs.'"
James Thurber, in a chapter about animals in Thurber, Vicki Hearne, Animal Happiness p.112
Frankly, I don't give a s#%t what they teach at uni's now. It is kinda like worrying about what is printed in the MSM or what is said at a Hollywood party.
When the money runs out, and it will....soon, they entire faculty can starve and I won't much care (except for the math, hard sciences, nursing, medicine they should all be fired anyway).