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.
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Friday, July 23. 2021
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Some "elite" universities have 12-week "International Management" masters programs which specialize in granting the well-to-do an "graduate degree". Mostly, they cat around Europe, sit a couple of hours chatting on a topic, then party hearty, until their two-week "internship" a a famous company.
I went to William & Mary 1971-1975, an Ivy Wannabee. We contributed to this madness early. The liberal arts purportedly teach you to be well-rounded and appreciative of the deeper things - to reflect on Marcus Aurelius, or Thomas Aquinas, or Kierkegaard, and see what is really important in life. But the subtext was always "Get ahead. Be famous. Be master of all you survey." It was/is worse for women and minorities, I think, as you were considered to be letting the side down if you wouldn't Be All You Can Be. To be miserable and alone as a professor is better than to be fulfilled and relational as a teacher, Jamal.
I am heading for reunions this October. I have some sense that I might be seen as an underachiever, even though I learned late (and at high cost, I might add) what I was supposed to put my energy into all along. I am both irritated at and deeply sorry for those young people still caught in those labyrinths. Don't. Just don't. They expose you to the legitimate wisdom of your heritage, then murmur you should ignore it. They were right the first time.
My advice to my smarter undergrads is simple: "Don't go to grad school until you find someone else to pay for it. Preferably an employer." That alone will prevent a lot of money being wasted on nonproductive b.s. degrees.
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College and master's degrees increase earning potential when they increase earning potential. Otherwise, they're a waste.
My daughter earned a dead-end marketing degree, and was working in the vacation industry.
She then earned a Master's in government acquisition management, had 4 job offers within weeks of her graduation, and in 3 years has survived a corporate downsizing, and increased her salary by 50%. She bought a house after only two years at her new job (she's thrifty like her mother).
She paid for her degree out of pocket from a slightly better than minimum wage job. (She made mistakes, but worked earnestly to mitigate and address them.) She paid her own bills, including some rent, while living with us for the time it took to get her masters.
She could have gone back to hostessing and waitressing, where she made good money, but that wasn't her life goal.
She picked a worthwhile degree, earned it at a local state university, and is doing very well.
There's money in "degree-hunters". So the trend continued for the last century rather than universities returning to primarily developing scholars.
First rule of the university is to make money. Otherwise the professors gripe about pursuing truth and the mysteries of the world while those icky commercial people make more money.
Forty-six years ago, when Johns Hopkins University was founded, it offered for the first time in the United States a distinctive university programme. The faculty that President Gilman gathered was an extraordinary group of able men. The university addressed itself to scholars. It assumed that the students who came to it had already completed undergraduate courses of study entitling them to enter upon scholarly and professional work. The effect of this example upon American university schools has been far-reaching. The graduate schools of the older universities have, in large measure, arisen out of the example set by Johns Hopkins.
Unfortunately, Johns Hopkins University very soon departed from its original university conception. The desire for undergraduate students, for a college of its own, and for all the things that go with undergraduate life became apparently too strong, and to-day Johns Hopkins, apart from its medical school, has few of the characteristics of a university. It removed to a suburban campus, the activities of the ordinary undergraduate college were expanded, and the university became essentially what other American universities are-a mixture of college and university, with the activities in athletics and other student undergraduate pursuits playing a larger and larger rôle in the life of the institution. To-day, except for its medical school, Johns Hopkins has to a large extent lost the primacy which it once enjoyed.
The stimulus given by the first twenty-five years of the history of Johns Hopkins to graduate studies in American institutions took the form of graduate schools superimposed upon and mingled with the undergraduate college. A few efforts, such as that at Clark University, to meet the distinctive university conception, were made, but in general the pressure for numbers and the desire for a large undergraduate body, the ever-present tendency to conform to the conventional educational scheme, brought it about that few of these efforts assumed significance. The University of Chicago, while maintaining an undergraduate department, has succeeded in creating a university alongside of its undergraduate school, which is but little affected by the extramural activities of the undergraduate college.
In the nearly fifty years, therefore, since the inauguration of Johns Hopkins, the progress of higher education in the United States has resulted in the transformation of our former American colleges into mixed institutions, part college, part university. In most the undergraduate college overshadows the university, in a few the university overshadows the undergraduate college, but in the main the institutions which we are building up under the name of university are incongruous mixtures of the sports and recitations of college boys, and the more serious and scholarly efforts of men and women who are primarily students and candidates for professions. In the public eye, the activities of the undergraduate college subtend a larger angle than those of the graduate and professional schools, and the public in the main conceives of the university in terms of its undergraduate college.
The university part of our mixed institutions consists of a graduate school, devoted to teaching and to research, certain professional schools in law, medicine, engineering, teaching, and, in some institutions, to theology. The graduate schools, apart from the professional schools, have suffered in considerable measure from the fact that they have been attended by a large body of students who are not primarily scholars or investigators. For the last twenty or thirty years every ambitious American college has felt that it could not maintain fair academic dignity unless its teachers were able to write after their names Ph.D. The graduate schools have been invaded, therefore, during the comparatively short period of their existence by an army of degree-hunters who desired the degree of Doctor of Philosophy as a preliminary to obtaining positions as teachers.
The mingling of college and university has its disadvantages for the undergraduate college no less than for the graduate university to which it is bound. The most serious is the weakening of the college sense of responsibility for good teaching. A false notion of research in the conglomerate institution has gone far to discredit the good teacher and to weaken the appreciation of the fact that the chief duty of the college is to teach.
Are Our Universities Overpopulated?
BY HENRY S. PRITCHETT
President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Scribner's Magazine Vol. 73, 1923,
The money is only poorly spent when the course of study is poorly chosen and unsuited to further the student's capabilities. A student pursuing studies as a casual alternative to working graduates with a day care experience instead of an education.