Book Notes: Crisis on Campus

[AN: All notes are taken verbatim from the book. I claim no rights to them.]

Crisis on Campus: A Bold Plan for Reforming Our College & Universities by Mark C. Taylor

Chapter 1: Reprogramming the Future

* The growing number of college and university faculty members focused on their research and publishing careers had led to a conflict between preoccupations of professors and the needs of the students (4)

*Many of our best and brightest spend 8-10 years chasing unfulfillable dreams (5)

*Academic criticism [of NYT article]: critical and hostile; Students, Parents, and Drop-Outs [reviews of the NYT article]: 98% positive (7)

*Schools are producing too much literature, saying too little, very little synthesis of ideas (8, quote from Rita Sophie Braguili)

*So much of what they do in colleges today is completely irrelevant; it’s not just that it’s impractical but so much of it has little or nothing to do with the real world (11, quote from Harvey, a former student)

*It is going to become more necessary for students to be less reliant on teachers and mentors and to assume more responsibility for their own education (15)

*[Regarding evolution of higher education]: its basic structure remained unchanged through the end of WWII (16)

*If the government can afford to bail out large corporations, big banks and financial institutions, it can afford to assist struggling college and universities (23)

Chapter 2: Beginning of the End

  • A curriculum made up of works largely written by white men taught by tenured professors who were almost exclusively white men no longer seemed adequate (32)
  • With jobs scarce, students themselves began delaying the completion of their graduate work

Chapter 3: Back to the Future

*Knowledge exists for knowledge’s sake and should not be judged by its usefulness (48)

*When the source of funding shifted from church to state, the purpose of education changed…in return for dependable funding, they would provide an educated workforce to fill positions in rapidly expanding administrative bureaucracies (51)

*Tenure was instituted supposedly to protect academic freedom (55)

*As a result of the principles Kant defined, the work done by faculty members can be judged only by other “experts” in the same field…thereby isolating departments from one another (56)

*Efforts to work across fields and to communicate beyond the confines of the university are regarded as unprofessional and thus discouraged (56)

*It is possible to pursue art for art’s sake only if someone else is paying the bills (63)

Chapter 4: Emerging Network Culture

(No notes)

Chapter 5: Education Bubble

*Networks become more volatile as they become more complex (96)

*You cannot borrow your way out of debt (99)

Chapter 6: Networking Knowledge

*Too many courses represent what the profession wants to teach rather than what students need to learn (115)

Chapter 7: Walls to Webs

  • Intellectual innovation…results from crossing different disciplines (140)

Chapter 8: New Skills for a Changing Workforce

*Many graduate programs still convey a system of values that privileges research and publication at the expense of teaching (181)

*In research universities and even many colleges, status is measured not only by how much a person publishes but by how little one teaches (181)

*Many publish little or nothing after receiving tenure (182)

*It makes absolutely no sense for a college or university to make lifetime commitments to faculty members whose performance can be neither predicted nor modified (209)

Chapter 9: Class of 2020

(No notes)

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