Friday, June 20, 2008

Academic Fallacies (1)

In his book "Economic Facts and Fallacies", T. Sowell goes into detail about academic fallacies that many of us don't know much about it.

I will only write couple of points about what I've found interesting.


· No university president or dean could possibly be competent to decide what courses or course should be taught in chemistry, math, economics, physics, and many other fields. Nor could any given academic administrator know how to evaluate the knowledge of people being considered to be hired to teach in each of the wide range of disciplines at even a small college, much less a large university. This results that professors can simply indulge their personal prejudices at no cost to themselves. (they can invite any speaker they want, or can deny donations from companies they don't like- oil companies-)

· Teachers who have tenure, have academic freedom in teaching and research without fear of retaliation for their views or approaches.

· The extraordinary protections and prerogatives of faculty members permit not only much self-indulgence but even corruption. For example, professors are expected to select textbooks for their classes on the basis of what would best promote the education of their students. Many admitted that they selected books based on the bonuses paid to them by the publishers. (thousands of $$)

· Many times the schedule is made to suit the professor. Some put their classes when they don't have to drive in the morning rush or leaving before evening rush, students having hard time to schedule required classes, then they have to spend an extra semester to take those classes, paying extra tuition and living expenses, in order that professors can avoid traffic, or get in their tennis or swimming before dinner time.

· If a company (like Ford Motor Co.) were to indulge themselves in ways that lowered the quality of their products, they would be risking the loss of car sales to Toyota or Honda. But professors risk nothing when arranging class schedules to suit their own convenience at the expense of students.


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