Friday, May 29, 2015
American colleges and universities, long thought to be the glory of the nation, are in more than a little trouble. I've written before of their shameful practices — the racial quotas and preferences at selective schools (Harvard is being sued by Asian-American organizations), the kangaroo courts that try students accused of rape and sexual assault without legal representation or presumption of innocence, and speech codes that make campuses the least rather than the most free venues in American society.
In following these policies, the burgeoning phalanxes of university and college administrators must systematically lie, insisting against all the evidence that they are racially nondiscriminatory, devoted to due process and upholders of free speech. The resulting intellectual corruption would have been understood by George Orwell.
The old college model has worked well for the hard sciences, but the humanities and social sciences have made the university a cancer on American culture. Graduates from these courses have worthless degrees outside of academia, creating a demand inside the higher education bubble for ever more social science slots teaching more social science majors in an endless cycle, creating a cohort who believe that George Orwell wrote a "how to" manual.
The residential college model, with its bloated ranks of coddler/administrators, has become hugely expensive and increasingly dysfunctional. It's overdue for significant downsizing.
The Ph.D. university model is also metastasizing. A plethora of humanities and social science Ph.D. theses are produced every year, many if not most written in unreadable academic jargon and devoid of scholarly worth. Most will probably be read by only a handful of people, with no loss to society. But some worthy scholarship will be overlooked and go unappreciated.
A glut of Ph.D.s and an ever-increasing army of administrators have produced downward pressure on faculty pay. Universities increasingly hire Ph.D.s as underpaid adjuncts, with low wages and no job security.
Which brings us to newly hired Boston University professor Saida Grundy. You could not find a more perfect example of what we're talking about.
Here's how Boston University describes it's new hire:
Saida Grundy is a sociologist of race, class, and gender and received her Ph.D. (2014) in the Joint Program in Sociology & Women's Studies at the University of Michigan.