Thursday, July 01, 2010

Higher Education: Let the Free Market Reign!

Great news for all of my readers who despise profligate government spending! My buddy Kembrew McLeod published a thought-provoking article in Tuesday's edition of the Huffington Post called, "A Modest Free Market Proposal for Higher Education Reform." In it, Kembrew outlines a compelling vision for ending the financial bloat that's endemic to today's public universities.

Among his proposals, he calls for corporate sponsorship of classes. Personally I'm looking forward to the day when the syllabus for my Introduction to Media class, which enrolls 250-plus students every fall, can finally say, "brought to you by the Walt Disney Company." Kembrew also suggests that undergraduates be given the green light to utilize paid-for research assistance companies, which makes a good deal of sense, really, for how else are we to grow the economy in tough financial times? My favorite idea of his, though, is to incentivize cheap graduate student teaching. Soon-to-be PhDs, Kembrew writes, ought to be able to outsource their doctoral dissertations:
By no longer having to conduct original research themselves, graduate students will have more hours to spend in the classroom as adjunct instructors. Let's do the math. charges $17.00 per page, which adds up to $3,400 for a 200-page dissertation (plus, their website states that, "A discount of 10% applies to orders of 75+ pages!"). Although this might seem like a lot of money, consider the fact that most colleges pay adjuncts roughly the same, between $3,000 and $4,000, for each course taught per semester. Therefore, by just adding one extra course to his or her roster, a graduate student can pay for an entire dissertation in less than one academic year--while at the same time serving the university's undergraduate teaching needs. Once this new generation of scholar/project managers enters the profession, there will be no more need for traditional professors.
Since I'm an overpaid university professor who's contributing to all the bloat, I'll happily step aside to let someone with a bachelors or masters degree do my job for, say, seven or eight bucks an hour. But don't worry about me. I'll be lapping it up over at, where at long last I can put my skills and experience to some real use.

1 comment:

Russell Waldrop said...

I really hope you realize his whole article is satire.