Schumpeter: Declining by degree | The Economist

Declining by degree

Will America’s universities go the way of its car companies?

FIFTY years ago, in the glorious age of three-martini lunches and all-smoking offices, America’s car companies were universally admired. Everybody wanted to know the secrets of their success. How did they churn out dazzling new models every year? How did they manage so many people so successfully (General Motors was then the biggest private-sector employer in the world)? And how did they keep their customers so happy?

Today the world is equally in awe of American universities. They dominate global rankings: on the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy’s list of the world’s best universities, 17 of the top 20 are American, and 35 of the top 50. They employ 70% of living Nobel prizewinners in science and economics and produce a disproportionate share of the world’s most-cited articles in academic journals. Everyone wants to know their secret recipe.

There are some great points in here. However, this doesn’t really address the downfall of universities as much as it does point to restructuring. The former is unlikely, the latter is a sure thing.

I do like how they focus on the perils of tenure, not the part that assures employment, but the path for getting there. Too much focus is put on the research and too little on innovative teaching.

Nowhere is this more true than in Education departments. It’s time for large university education schools to consider whether an article in an SSCI journal is worth more than a semester of engaged teaching and learning. Now, it is.

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