The future of Universities (USA) | INFJ Forum

The future of Universities (USA)

Discussion in 'Save the World.' started by corvidae, Dec 4, 2009.

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  1. corvidae

    corvidae ohai internets
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    I feel there is something fundamentally wrong with the way higher education is organized in America. When we pay tuition, room, and board, we are really paying for many, smaller things.

    1. Knowledge
    2. A certification by a respected organization vouching that we do, indeed, have that knowledge. Also includes networking.
    3. Material items (food, housing, etc, gymnasium access.)
    4. An experience (career services, mental health services, advising, events, school pride, etc.)

    Tuition actually pays mostly for #1 and #2. Room and board are mostly for #3. Everything together pays for #4.
    My first problem is that tuition is paying for two different things. As the saying goes, you can learn what costs $100,000 in tuition at college with $100 in late fees at a library. AP tests and transfer credits are financially worth as much as much as a class, even though they only really give you #2. There is less incentive to know the material in a course beforehand when #1 and #2 are lumped together.
    My second problem is that #3 and #4 don't really contribute to education, per se. While they may be nice amenities, they add cost to what is already increasingly unaffordable. For those students who know what they want from college (a specific degree or job), many of these things are superfluous.

    Most colleges try too hard to be one-size-fits-all, when they ought to be one-size-fits-one. This is why I have a respect for commuter colleges and online education such as Western Governors University. Not everyone needs all 4 things. Yet colleges are clamoring to add more programs, more activities, more facilities. The incentive is to make schools more competitive, not to make them "better" in the sense of serving the community.
     
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  2. BenW

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    The future of the university system...

    [​IMG]

    For-profit career training will take over.

    It's long overdue, frankly.
     
  3. Duty

    Duty Permanent Fixture

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    The internet is already giving us the first hints of the future changes of the university system. Open courseware is a huge hit, there are like 20-30 US universities offering their own open courseware, and already there are several internet universities.

    My prediction of movement is that the more elite students will go to a physical university, where physical resources such as telescopes, MRI machines, labs, and the like are. I think physical universities will tend more and more toward the sciences and theoretical studies and away from business and applied science.

    Online universities will pick up a lot of the opposite: career training and non-physical "trade school" will be heavily focused more toward the internet. I would expect internet universities to be far cheaper, more applied/practical oriented, and perhaps biggest of all: larger and more unified. I would expect only 5 or so "best" internet universities to dominate the market in the next 20 years. Further, I think they'll be much more company driven, as they're far cheaper and easier to create then a physical university, and there isn't as much precedence already there.
     
  4. Barnabas

    Barnabas Time Lord

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    Yay private college. single focus education.
     
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  5. Afrelen

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    So as the idea of the college as group of colleagues (as the name suggests) bettering one another died, so also dies the idea of the university as the factory for great minds. The passing of one zeitgeist to the next consumes all. Now it's just an investment with a minimum expected return.
     
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  6. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    Undergrad education is already becoming pretty much a necessity. When I first started my major, you could easily find a job with an undergrad degree, but now you need a Masters for everything but the lowest paid grunt work. A bachelor's degree today equates to a high school diploma ten years ago. The diner down the street from where I live won't hire someone unless they have had at least two years of college. That is two years of college just to bus tables! With that kind of demand, universities are going anywhere anytime soon. However, with the outsourcing of jobs and the shift to a consumer based society, it is inevitable that we are simply going to have fewer professional level positions opened than people with degrees qualified to work them. The job market is considerably scarier at this point than the university system.
     
  7. BenW

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    Taking into consideration the increasing inflation of the value of a degree, and the equally never ending increase in cost to get one, add in the dismal state of the economy...
    I think the university system will definitely go somewhere.

    Doesn't mean higher education will disappear, by any means.
     
  8. sookie

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    This is very true. I think that industries such as education, psychology and the medical profession is were many people will go to. Education and Social Work does not pay well at all. You need a Masters degree to teach in Massachusetts. There is also a high burn out rate.
     
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  9. SuperManda

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    I think the universities are complete Ponzi schemes, like a combination between a hotel and diploma mill. The people who work at them get to send themselves and their loved ones (spouse, children, etc.) to school for free as a benefit of working there. I tried to get a job at public and private colleges, but it's some kind of country club that only allows nepotism. So when you attend university as a student, remember that you're starving with your $50K student loan (and being trained for a theoretical job that does not truly exist in the economy) so that some administrator's Aunt Tilly and Cousin Ned can go for free. Then you'll probably get an Adjunct faculty member as your teacher, who is only making $2,500/class for the semester. That's not talking about the fact that you're also supporting a football coach, an orchestra conductor, a huge amount of bean-counting administrators, and all those other non-instructor sock puppets. If the professors don't earn enough to even buy a used car to get to the school, but yet the football coach and housing director are salaried at Broadway salaries, then the whole system is corrupt.

    I think universities are moving into online learning, which is questionable in terms of the curriculum. It's just another quick buck for the university. Unfortunately, we're educating the richest, and not the smartest among us. Whoever has the most money to start out with, gets the highest degrees... In an ideal world, college would be more difficult, and only the bright people would meet the standard to get in... and it'd be cheap enough so that smart people could attend.

    You'll note that, when the gov't began guaranteeing student loans, the price of tuition went up. It was counter-intuitive to what you would expect to happen.
     
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