Saturday, June 21, 2008

Academic Fallacies (2)

· Because professors must do research in order to advance in their careers, they have to narrow their focus to something that has not been written or researched in great depth before. For example, a history teacher, instead of studying how Roman Empire influenced the Western Civilization, he asks that students do a research about the history of wine-making, or history of motion pictures, so he can use their study and research for his doctoral papers. And he doesn't have to waste his time to research a subject as broad as Roman Empire.

· On many campuses (prestigious ones, too) the meaningful curriculum that suppose to educate students disappear and curriculum that helps a teacher to advancement in career takes place. We can think that a student may graduate from most prestigious colleges and still be ignorant in history (to use the above example) or other subjects.

· The knowledge that a diploma is supposed to represent may in fact be only isolated fragments of knowledge on whatever narrow subjects the student's particular professors happened to write about in their doctoral dissertations, books, academic journal articles, instead of an education featuring a broad and coordinated knowledge and understanding of a number of intellectual disciplines.

· A Harvard president said it's hard to find teachers that are willing to spend time in teaching, because they receive more money to do research and if they are required to teach on broad subjects, they may go at Yale, Stanford, which are willing to take them and have them bring a lot of money to the research department.

· UofM-Ann Arbor, Berkeley and other Ivy League instit., said they don't spend too much to teach the students, they spend a lot of money and resources in the research department.

· Grade inflation takes place, too. Unpopularity of professors who give low grades can also be reflected in negative student evaluations at the end of a course, and in turn can negatively affect career advancement, especially who have not tenure.

· Ratio of Democrats vs. Republicans is 12:1 and consequences are educational. Students who go through college without having confronted a vision of the world different from the views of the professors have little opportunity to develop their own ability to analyze conflicting arguments - as they have to do in real life after college.


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