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Higher Education - How can we make it suck a little less?

joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Parental UnitRemulakRegistered User regular
edited July 2011 in Debate and/or Discourse
College.

college.jpg

Whether your parents told you needed to go or not, it's out there and, let's be honest, it's terrible in some pretty big ways.

Let's tackle the big one first. It's pretty god damn expensive to go to college, even for just an undergrad degree like a BA or a BS. Just a quick glance shows the following:
  • Public four-year colleges charge, on average, $7,605 per year in tuition and fees for in-state students. The average surcharge for full-time out-of-state students at these institutions is $11,990.
  • Private nonprofit four-year colleges charge, on average, $27,293 per year in tuition and fees.
  • Public two-year colleges charge, on average, $2,713 per year in tuition and fees.

and that doesn't even account for food, living expenses, books, etc. If your parents aren't paying your way, or you didn't get a free ride scholarship, you'll likely have a choice between getting a job and working your way through school, taking out student loans at exorbitant rates that you may be paying off for years, or, most likely, both.

As if that wasn't enough, Cantor (aka the silliest goose in the goose kingdom) wants students who are taking out loans to have to start paying on their interest right now, instead of after they graduate:
As Monday’s White House budget talks got down to the nitty-gritty, Eric Cantor proposed a series of spending cuts, one of them aimed squarely at college students. The House majority leader, who did most of the talking for the Republican side, said those taking out student loans should start paying interest right away, rather than being able to defer payments until after graduation. It is a big-ticket item that would save $40 billion over 10 years.

So send him a turd in the mail*.

Books! Why does a textbook cost $Texas?
Welcome to the world of textbook pricing, where, it would seem, the usual market forces don't apply. The textbook market in no way resembles the trade book market, in which the same person - the consumer - desires the book (the new War and Peace, the latest diet guide or whatever), acquires it, and pays for it, so that price points and competition are crucial. What the textbook market resembles most is the market for health care, in which one entity (the physician/the professor) desires - that is, assigns or prescribes - the product, a second entity (the patient/the student) consumes it, and a third set of entities (insurance companies/parents) foot the bill. Spiraling prices for textbooks, like spiraling medical costs, seem to be the inevitable result. A General Accounting Office report in 2005 noted that textbook prices rose 186 percent in the U.S. from 1986 to 2004, compared to only a 3 percent rise in other prices over the same period and a 7 percent rise in average college tuition and fees. The seemingly out-of-control price increases have prompted laws in six states and pending bills in at least four others - plus a measure passed by the House of Representatives on Feb. 7 - that aim to regulate the way in which textbooks are marketed so as to lower costs to students.

In other words, the invisible hand of the Free Market is busy sticking its fingers in the urethras of people who need to spend money (for school) to make money (to get a degree for a job).

I consider myself very lucky to have found a boss who pays for literally everything. He gives me a paycheck to attend a private school, my books/tuition/fees are covered, and the only thing he wants from me is an invite to my graduation party + a 6-pack of beer. But I am also extremely saddened that I am one of very few people who can actually do something like this. In my opinion, education should be open to all who want it. I don't think that means it has to be free, but it has to be affordable. And right now, it clearly isn't unless you want to put yourself in some crippling debt.

This thread is for any aspect of higher education that may need reform or examination, or if you just want to talk about your college experience, go right ahead.

*Don't actually literally do this

joshofalltrades on
ElJeffe wrote: »
I get by on the knowledge that I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time mucking about inside of my asshole anyway
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Posts

  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2011
    There's a fair number of countries out there with free post-secondary education systems. Maybe we should do that.

    Alternately, we could have public schools break off their physics and chemistry departments, as most of the cost inflation is due to those departments needing ever more expensive machinery.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Bagginses wrote: »
    There's a fair number of countries out there with free post-secondary education systems. Maybe we should do that.

    Alternately, we could have public schools break off their physics and chemistry departments, as most of the cost inflation is due to those departments needing ever more expensive machinery.

    Can you cite that second part?

    Last I checked, at most schools physics, science, and engineering students payed significant additional fees simply for choosing their major, to offset the cost of that equipment.

  • Bobkins FlymoBobkins Flymo Nice day for a Waa WeddingRegistered User, Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited July 2011
    Yeah, I'm trying to get back intro school, and I'm running into some hard choices. I'm pretty nervous about trying to keep my job while going to school. I'd much prefer to go back into school with a free schedule and see how that works and then try adding work to the mix in the subsequent semester.

    Even if I work part-time, I'm still going to have to take out a loan of some size or beg my parents for money, which is not going to happen. People who think heading back to school is just so simple don't seem to understand that you are either taking on a huge workload (class + a full time job) or taking on huge financial debt. Or an unhappy average of the two. And then you're not even guaranteed a job when you finish.

    0SZEg7b.png
  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    I'm glad you have all those numbers, but what accounts for the increase in tuition?

    Throwing numbers around is great for sensationalism, but to play devil's advocate maybe those price increases are warranted. Maybe America's university system can't give the education it gives to the people it gives without those increases.

    Remember, even with these increased costs, foreigners still want to get an education from an American University. There's got to be a reason for that, right? Or perhaps it's just for the prestige and there really isn't that much real world value in an American education?

    In short, I'm trying to stem the tides a bit before all the ruckus of the "my teacher did this" and "my teacher did that" crowd infiltrates and muddles things up further with exaggerated and anecdotal stories.

  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Bagginses wrote: »
    There's a fair number of countries out there with free post-secondary education systems. Maybe we should do that.

    Alternately, we could have public schools break off their physics and chemistry departments, as most of the cost inflation is due to those departments needing ever more expensive machinery.

    Can you cite that second part?

    Last I checked, at most schools physics, science, and engineering students payed significant additional fees simply for choosing their major, to offset the cost of that equipment.

    Yeah, I wonder too since those departments are usually the ones awarded the large government grants and corporate donations.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    On the public institution side, no small part of the increases in tuition/costs is coming from cutbacks in funding from the state. The state gives the University of Washington less money, and that means in-state students (whose tuition is subsidized by the state) pay more. Out-of-state students pay more too, of course.

    I don't know what's driving private school tuition, though honestly part of it could just be competition...if the public schools are charging more, they can too. Has private school tuition gone up in tandem with public? Mind you I mean actual tuition paid, not the "sticker price" that nobody but rich fuckers pay.

    EDIT: UW specifically responded to proposed budget cuts by saying they'd cut back on the number of in-state students accepted...since out-of-state students pay more. There was much controversy. Not sure how it turned out.

  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Parental Unit RemulakRegistered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Lilnoobs wrote: »
    I'm glad you have all those numbers, but what accounts for the increase in tuition?

    Throwing numbers around is great for sensationalism, but to play devil's advocate maybe those price increases are warranted. Maybe America's university system can't give the education it gives to the people it gives without those increases.

    Remember, even with these increased costs, foreigners still want to get an education from an American University. There's got to be a reason for that, right? Or perhaps it's just for the prestige and there really isn't that much real world value in an American education?

    In short, I'm trying to stem the tides a bit before all the ruckus of the "my teacher did this" and "my teacher did that" crowd infiltrates and muddles things up further with exaggerated and anecdotal stories.

    Well, I don't think anybody on here will argue that professors are overpaid.

    I'm seeing a lot of "maybe"s in your post. Do you have something to back those stances up? I don't think the issue should be exempt from scrutiny.

    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I get by on the knowledge that I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time mucking about inside of my asshole anyway
  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Parental Unit RemulakRegistered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Mcdermott, I can't give you any general figures on private schools right now but mine has increased the tuition rate/hr. only once since I started 3 years ago.

    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I get by on the knowledge that I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time mucking about inside of my asshole anyway
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Mcdermott, I can't give you any general figures on private schools right now but mine has increased the tuition rate/hr. only once since I started 3 years ago.

    Well that's saying something. My tuition went up every single year I attended (and the two years I didn't, due to deployment). I think it jumped like 15% one year.

  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Parental Unit RemulakRegistered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Also, some private schools (HSU, for instance) will lock your tuition rate as long as you remain a full-time student. New students get locked into new tuition rates. Drop below 12 hours (I think) and you get locked into a new rate.

    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I get by on the knowledge that I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time mucking about inside of my asshole anyway
  • IceyIcey Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Bagginses wrote: »
    Alternately, we could have public schools break off their physics and chemistry departments, as most of the cost inflation is due to those departments needing ever more expensive machinery.

    I doubt this is true. Science departments bring in millions of dollars in grants every year, and their parent institutions take something like 30-40% of the grant money off the top. Also, basically all of the expensive instruments and equipment are purchased with the remaining money from those same grants.

    camo_sig2-400.png
  • KiplingKipling Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Icey wrote: »
    Bagginses wrote: »
    Alternately, we could have public schools break off their physics and chemistry departments, as most of the cost inflation is due to those departments needing ever more expensive machinery.

    I doubt this is true. Science departments bring in millions of dollars in grants every year, and their parent institutions take something like 30-40% of the grant money off the top. Also, basically all of the expensive instruments and equipment are purchased with the remaining money from those same grants.

    I know professors who would leave their university for a 30% overhead charge. Most are 45-50% overhead, and some of that money goes to support non-science grad students. If science departments left, the humanities would be screwed. There isn't nearly the scale of external funding for English or history as there is from the combined NSF, NIH, and Armed Forces funds that goes to basic science.

    3DS Friends: 1693-1781-7023
  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Bagginses wrote: »
    There's a fair number of countries out there with free post-secondary education systems. Maybe we should do that.

    Alternately, we could have public schools break off their physics and chemistry departments, as most of the cost inflation is due to those departments needing ever more expensive machinery.

    Can you cite that second part?

    Last I checked, at most schools physics, science, and engineering students payed significant additional fees simply for choosing their major, to offset the cost of that equipment.

    It's somewhere behind the NYT paywall, but it turns out that the colleges are non-profits, aren't paying administrators more, certainly aren't paying professors or staff more, aren't hiring more, aren't upgrading housing any faster than they always have, et cetera, leaving equipment costs, which have skyrocketed due to all the advancements made in stuff you need specialized equipment to image. It was my guess that those departments have the most overpriced shit, but this article suggests that it's all going to poor students.

  • IceyIcey Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Kipling wrote: »
    I know professors who would leave their university for a 30% overhead charge. Most are 45-50% overhead, and some of that money goes to support non-science grad students. If science departments left, the humanities would be screwed. There isn't nearly the scale of external funding for English or history as there is from the combined NSF, NIH, and Armed Forces funds that goes to basic science.

    I was shocked to learn, after writing a NSF grant for my advisor, that the university would take a huge chunk of "my" funding.

    camo_sig2-400.png
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Bagginses wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Bagginses wrote: »
    There's a fair number of countries out there with free post-secondary education systems. Maybe we should do that.

    Alternately, we could have public schools break off their physics and chemistry departments, as most of the cost inflation is due to those departments needing ever more expensive machinery.

    Can you cite that second part?

    Last I checked, at most schools physics, science, and engineering students payed significant additional fees simply for choosing their major, to offset the cost of that equipment.

    It's somewhere behind the NYT paywall, but it turns out that the colleges are non-profits, aren't paying administrators more, certainly aren't paying professors or staff more, aren't hiring more, aren't upgrading housing any faster than they always have, et cetera, leaving equipment costs, which have skyrocketed due to all the advancements made in stuff you need specialized equipment to image. It was my guess that those departments have the most overpriced shit, but this article suggests that it's all going to poor students.

    Yeah, but like I said the students that use that gear pay (at least in part) for it. I paid an engineering program fee, a science facilities fee, and a lab use fee every semester. It added up to over 5% of my tuition (so take what a humanities major pays, and add over 5% right on top, before the cost of various kits and equipment we were required to buy out-of-pocket as well).

    And that just covers the student-use stuff. All the whiz-bang shit that the research professors use is largely funded by grants from private industry or the government.

  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Abolish grades.

    Grade inflation, outside of places like Reed College or Deep Springs, is rampant and totally diminishes the value of Bachelor's degrees.

    3DS: 0232-9436-6893
  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Bagginses wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Bagginses wrote: »
    There's a fair number of countries out there with free post-secondary education systems. Maybe we should do that.

    Alternately, we could have public schools break off their physics and chemistry departments, as most of the cost inflation is due to those departments needing ever more expensive machinery.

    Can you cite that second part?

    Last I checked, at most schools physics, science, and engineering students payed significant additional fees simply for choosing their major, to offset the cost of that equipment.

    It's somewhere behind the NYT paywall, but it turns out that the colleges are non-profits, aren't paying administrators more, certainly aren't paying professors or staff more, aren't hiring more, aren't upgrading housing any faster than they always have, et cetera, leaving equipment costs, which have skyrocketed due to all the advancements made in stuff you need specialized equipment to image. It was my guess that those departments have the most overpriced shit, but this article suggests that it's all going to poor students.

    Yeah, but like I said the students that use that gear pay (at least in part) for it. I paid an engineering program fee, a science facilities fee, and a lab use fee every semester. It added up to over 5% of my tuition (so take what a humanities major pays, and add over 5% right on top, before the cost of various kits and equipment we were required to buy out-of-pocket as well).

    And that just covers the student-use stuff. All the whiz-bang shit that the research professors use is largely funded by grants from private industry or the government.

    I'm a bio major, so I know what you're talking about, but I assumed we only paid like half of our increased needs and the rest was covered by the general tuition. Additionally, I thought the big shared stuff needed expensive housing and had to be payed for by the university because mixing public and privately funded instruments is trouble (several labs on my campus have multiples of all equipment for the various sources of funding for the various experiments done within the labs.

  • DrukDruk Registered User
    edited July 2011
    Switching textbooks online to save on printing costs won't work, either. "They" have already begun charging textbook prices per student per semester for online materials, and for some reason professors are OK with this (see: WileyPlus).

  • SyrdonSyrdon Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    I'm fairly sure that the professors get royalties (if applicable) whether its an online sale or not. They don't when its used. Online pushes new sales, so the folks getting royalties get more money. Now, this really only applies if someone in the department gets royalties, so your milage may vary.

  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    saggio wrote: »
    Abolish grades.

    Grade inflation, outside of places like Reed College or Deep Springs, is rampant and totally diminishes the value of Bachelor's degrees.

    Okay.

    How?

  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Lilnoobs wrote: »
    I'm glad you have all those numbers, but what accounts for the increase in tuition?

    Throwing numbers around is great for sensationalism, but to play devil's advocate maybe those price increases are warranted. Maybe America's university system can't give the education it gives to the people it gives without those increases.

    Remember, even with these increased costs, foreigners still want to get an education from an American University. There's got to be a reason for that, right? Or perhaps it's just for the prestige and there really isn't that much real world value in an American education?

    In short, I'm trying to stem the tides a bit before all the ruckus of the "my teacher did this" and "my teacher did that" crowd infiltrates and muddles things up further with exaggerated and anecdotal stories.

    Well, I don't think anybody on here will argue that professors are overpaid.

    I'm seeing a lot of "maybe"s in your post. Do you have something to back those stances up? I don't think the issue should be exempt from scrutiny.

    Doesn't your OP imply education is ovepriced? Isn't that a "maybe"?

    So why shouldn't I return equally with it's not overpriced?

    Where is the money for those increases going? What are the schools spending the tuition money on? Without knowing that, how are we to begin to make it "suck a little less"?

  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    The primary change that needs be made is to start considering higher education to be a vital part of society, like roads, health* and "normal" education.

    Until as a society it is recognised that higher education is an investment for the future of not only the individual but the society then you're going to end up with ridiculous funding craziness.

    *Of course, given the fact that healthcare as anything but an optional extra was/is such a contentious issue in the USA... maybe that's not enough.

    What I see sees me.
    SODOMISE INTOLERANCE
    Tide goes in. Tide goes out.
  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Lilnoobs wrote: »
    Lilnoobs wrote: »
    I'm glad you have all those numbers, but what accounts for the increase in tuition?

    Throwing numbers around is great for sensationalism, but to play devil's advocate maybe those price increases are warranted. Maybe America's university system can't give the education it gives to the people it gives without those increases.

    Remember, even with these increased costs, foreigners still want to get an education from an American University. There's got to be a reason for that, right? Or perhaps it's just for the prestige and there really isn't that much real world value in an American education?

    In short, I'm trying to stem the tides a bit before all the ruckus of the "my teacher did this" and "my teacher did that" crowd infiltrates and muddles things up further with exaggerated and anecdotal stories.

    Well, I don't think anybody on here will argue that professors are overpaid.

    I'm seeing a lot of "maybe"s in your post. Do you have something to back those stances up? I don't think the issue should be exempt from scrutiny.

    Doesn't your OP imply education is ovepriced? Isn't that a "maybe"?

    So why shouldn't I return equally with it's not overpriced?

    Where is the money for those increases going? What are the schools spending the tuition money on? Without knowing that, how are we to begin to make it "suck a little less"?

    Well, building a road is not exactly within the reach of the private citizen either... It needn't be overpriced as much as an unrealistic burden on the average family.

    The argument ultimately being that individuals shoulder an unfair amount of the cost compared to the value gained by society of having well educated individuals.

    What I see sees me.
    SODOMISE INTOLERANCE
    Tide goes in. Tide goes out.
  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    I'm a big fan of the standard 4-year US style university. However, I think that our society needs to realize that most degrees don't teach anything related to a job. There's nothing wrong with that- not everything needs to be job related, and education for its own sake is a fine thing. But somehow we've come to expect that a university degree is crucial for a good job.

    For a long time it worked just because relatively few people had a university degree. When only ~10% of the country graduated from college, having a degree meant you were part of an intellectual elite and automatically granted you a high-status white-collar job. Nowadays, with more than 30% of adults having a degree, and less than 10% working in manufacturing, there's not enough good white collar jobs to go around for all the college graduates, so we're stuck doing bullshit internships to try and get a foot in the door for a real job.

    And yes, I know there's a massive amount of data showing that college graduates earn more and are unemployed less than non-graduates. Of course they are! We've separated our society into an upper class and a lower class based on education, so it shouldn't be any surprise that the upper class do better. Especially since they tend to come from wealthy families, did better in high school, and nowadays most good jobs won't even glance at your resume if you don't have a college degree.

    My main point is that, contrary to what a lot of people might say, getting more education to more people won't do anything to solve the unemployment crisis. We've only got so many jobs available for people good at academic style work. College graduates are having trouble finding jobs as it is- producing more of them won't help the situation. All it would do is merge the unemployment rates of graduates and nongraduates. Going to college is good for you as an individual, by giving you an advantage over everyone else- but it's a zero sum game. The more degrees there are, the less valuable each degree is worth.

    (It does make a big difference what you study. I'm mostly just talking about general liberal arts degrees. Having a degree in engineering or nursing will get you a good paying job, but it won't help our society lower unemployment by creating a massive number of new engineers. We only need a small proportion of the population being engineers!)

  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2011
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    I'm a big fan of the standard 4-year US style university. However, I think that our society needs to realize that most degrees don't teach anything related to a job. There's nothing wrong with that- not everything needs to be job related, and education for its own sake is a fine thing. But somehow we've come to expect that a university degree is crucial for a good job.

    For a long time it worked just because relatively few people had a university degree. When only ~10% of the country graduated from college, having a degree meant you were part of an intellectual elite and automatically granted you a high-status white-collar job. Nowadays, with more than 30% of adults having a degree, and less than 10% working in manufacturing, there's not enough good white collar jobs to go around for all the college graduates, so we're stuck doing bullshit internships to try and get a foot in the door for a real job.

    And yes, I know there's a massive amount of data showing that college graduates earn more and are unemployed less than non-graduates. Of course they are! We've separated our society into an upper class and a lower class based on education, so it shouldn't be any surprise that the upper class do better. Especially since they tend to come from wealthy families, did better in high school, and nowadays most good jobs won't even glance at your resume if you don't have a college degree.

    My main point is that, contrary to what a lot of people might say, getting more education to more people won't do anything to solve the unemployment crisis. We've only got so many jobs available for people good at academic style work. College graduates are having trouble finding jobs as it is- producing more of them won't help the situation. All it would do is merge the unemployment rates of graduates and nongraduates. Going to college is good for you as an individual, by giving you an advantage over everyone else- but it's a zero sum game. The more degrees there are, the less valuable each degree is worth.

    (It does make a big difference what you study. I'm mostly just talking about general liberal arts degrees. Having a degree in engineering or nursing will get you a good paying job, but it won't help our society lower unemployment by creating a massive number of new engineers. We only need a small proportion of the population being engineers!)

    One little note is that, even on the exact same job, college graduates make more.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Actually the more degrees there are the more people exist who have enough education to be flexible in their careers. While there is a need to recognize non-university education as education, a lack of education doesn't benefit us.

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  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Well, a lot of jobs advertise like "X degree or 2 years experience". So if the college graduate starts that job immediately, while the non graduate starts a lower job and works his way up after 2 years, the college graduate would have 2 more years in that same job to get a raise.

  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Actually the more degrees there are the more people exist who have enough education to be flexible in their careers. While there is a need to recognize non-university education as education, a lack of education doesn't benefit us.

    How does having, say, an expert level understanding of art history help you be flexible in your career?

  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2011
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Actually the more degrees there are the more people exist who have enough education to be flexible in their careers. While there is a need to recognize non-university education as education, a lack of education doesn't benefit us.

    How does having, say, an expert level understanding of art history help you be flexible in your career?

    Gen ed requirements and lots of time learning to think in depth.

  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Bagginses wrote: »
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Actually the more degrees there are the more people exist who have enough education to be flexible in their careers. While there is a need to recognize non-university education as education, a lack of education doesn't benefit us.

    How does having, say, an expert level understanding of art history help you be flexible in your career?

    Gen ed requirements and lots of time learning to think in depth.

    More so than someone who spent that same time working 4 different jobs? I don't buy it. Most jobs don't really want you thinking in depth, they want you following orders very carefully.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Actually the more degrees there are the more people exist who have enough education to be flexible in their careers. While there is a need to recognize non-university education as education, a lack of education doesn't benefit us.

    How does having, say, an expert level understanding of art history help you be flexible in your career?

    Liberal arts degrees tend to teach writing, organizing, systems, etc. My English degree has gotten me into some rather interesting positions over the last five years, and the only way I can ever be in trouble with employment is if there are so many people twice my age looking for work that nobody looks past their experience long enough to interview me.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    More so than someone who spent that same time working 4 different jobs? I don't buy it. Most jobs don't really want you thinking in depth, they want you following orders very carefully.

    Some of jobs I've been on people who don't think in depth lose fingers.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Lilnoobs wrote: »
    saggio wrote: »
    Abolish grades.

    Grade inflation, outside of places like Reed College or Deep Springs, is rampant and totally diminishes the value of Bachelor's degrees.

    Okay.

    How?

    There are three ways that I can readily think of.

    First, adopt the Oxbridge system. Your 'coursework' in a standard undergraduate or postgraduate degree (at least within the Arts) counts for absolutely nothing. After a set period of time, you are examined (and this can be conducted multiple ways, including viva voce) and assigned a designation. This can be done over multiple years or modules, and then the results 'tallied' to give some kind of designation at the end of your degree. Honours, First Class, Second Class, etc etc.

    Second, replace grades with written evaluations by instructors. These are much more useful than letter grades as they allow instructors to identify specific strengths and weaknesses with pupils, and can readily eliminate the difference in grading practices and expectations amongst instructors (professor X is an easy A; professor Y fails everybody).

    Third, simply replace letter grades with pass/fail.

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  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    Bagginses wrote: »
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Actually the more degrees there are the more people exist who have enough education to be flexible in their careers. While there is a need to recognize non-university education as education, a lack of education doesn't benefit us.

    How does having, say, an expert level understanding of art history help you be flexible in your career?

    Gen ed requirements and lots of time learning to think in depth.

    More so than someone who spent that same time working 4 different jobs? I don't buy it. Most jobs don't really want you thinking in depth, they want you following orders very carefully.

    A university education isn't job training. Job training is job training. Most people (and governments, and university presidents, and boards of governors, and donors, and industry, and alumni...) forget this obvious truism.

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  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    More so than someone who spent that same time working 4 different jobs? I don't buy it. Most jobs don't really want you thinking in depth, they want you following orders very carefully.

    Some of jobs I've been on people who don't think in depth lose fingers.
    Thinking in depth is the exact opposite of what you want someone to do if they're operating machinery that could cut off their fingers. You should be paying attention to the simple physical task in front of you, not having deep philosophical thoughts.
    Liberal arts degrees tend to teach writing, organizing, systems, etc. My English degree has gotten me into some rather interesting positions over the last five years, and the only way I can ever be in trouble with employment is if there are so many people twice my age looking for work that nobody looks past their experience long enough to interview me.

    That is true, that one useful job skill you can learn with a liberal arts degree is writing. I think despite it's reputation, English is actually one of the more "practical" degrees you can get, for that reason. However, like you said, there's a lot of people with experience writing, and only so many jobs available for them to do. And those that do just focus on the core fundamentals of writing- no company is going to hire you to criticize poetry for write a long artistic novel.

  • acidlacedpenguinacidlacedpenguin Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    It used to be that finishing high school would ensure you had the basic functioning requirements to don a blue collar and go straight to work. We've outsourced blue collar work and what's left is hair nets and greasy aprons.

    I would suggest that 2 year college programs (the ones geared towards getting you onto the bottom rung of certain career paths) be absorbed into public schooling or otherwise be heavily subsidized, which would restore the function of public schooling.

    Degree requirement creep on the working world side of things has become ridiculous. Data entry positions have begun to require bachelors degrees. Data entry. When my mother finished high school the single barrier of entry for her was having taken the typing class in high school. You do not need to be able to write a 20 page dissertation to enter data into forms.

    GT: Acidboogie PSNid: AcidLacedPenguiN
  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Parental Unit RemulakRegistered User regular
    edited July 2011
    It used to be that finishing high school would ensure you had the basic functioning requirements to don a blue collar and go straight to work. We've outsourced blue collar work and what's left is hair nets and greasy aprons.

    I would suggest that 2 year college programs (the ones geared towards getting you onto the bottom rung of certain career paths) be absorbed into public schooling or otherwise be heavily subsidized, which would restore the function of public schooling.

    Degree requirement creep on the working world side of things has become ridiculous. Data entry positions have begun to require bachelors degrees. Data entry. When my mother finished high school the single barrier of entry for her was having taken the typing class in high school. You do not need to be able to write a 20 page dissertation to enter data into forms.

    Employers are using a college education requirement for basic jobs like that because they know they will get applicants with degrees for those jobs, and they can pay them peanuts anyway. It's just another way to cut down on the number of resumes they have to look at, and it's frustrating as hell even for people who have the degrees necessary.

    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I get by on the knowledge that I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time mucking about inside of my asshole anyway
  • HedgethornHedgethorn Associate Professor of Historical Hobby Horses In the Lions' DenRegistered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Another set of statistics to add to the OP: about a third of all college students don't gain any writing, reasoning, or critical-thinking skills during their four years.
    • 45 percent of students "did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning" during the first two years of college.
    • 36 percent of students "did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning" over four years of college.

    As a new college educator myself, these numbers terrify me. If my profession can't figure out how to reverse these trends, higher education will be increasingly viewed as a scam.

  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2011
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    Bagginses wrote: »
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Actually the more degrees there are the more people exist who have enough education to be flexible in their careers. While there is a need to recognize non-university education as education, a lack of education doesn't benefit us.

    How does having, say, an expert level understanding of art history help you be flexible in your career?

    Gen ed requirements and lots of time learning to think in depth.

    More so than someone who spent that same time working 4 different jobs? I don't buy it. Most jobs don't really want you thinking in depth, they want you following orders very carefully.

    And that's why working jobs or getting technical training won't give you that flexibility. Most jobs are highly repetitive and use very specific actions, so that you only learn anything new your first week or so and just do that over and over again, and very little of that is useful anywhere else. Education, on the other hand, is designed to give the student as much skill and knowledge as possible in a given unit of time.
    As a new college educator myself, these numbers terrify me. If my profession can't figure out how to reverse these trends, higher education will be increasingly viewed as a scam.

    Alternately, it could be that the study simply lacked sensitivity or was poorly designed. Type II error is very easy on those types of studies because specificity is valued most highly.

  • elkataselkatas Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Hedgethorn wrote: »
    As a new college educator myself, these numbers terrify me. If my profession can't figure out how to reverse these trends, higher education will be increasingly viewed as a scam.

    I really can't comprehend why education system is so bad in US that that most of US students wouldn't even be able to pass sixth grade in finnish school. I mean, tech and money is obviously there, and skills too. We teach far better, and do it with fraction of money, and without dividing people into poor and rich. Would it be really hard to copy clearly far better working systems? I guess it always boils down in to that cursed word, socialism. Which, thanks to poor education, and constant propaganda, means for most yanks fascist police state where state owns everything and nazis run on the streets.

    Hypnotically inclined.
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