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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: Professor Bias

  1. #11
    Regular Rakuen Growlithe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rsyk View Post
    It's not that he was debating the value of Kant's work so much as that he was suspending the entire discussion of Kantian ethics to discuss politics while in no way relating it back to the subject at hand.
    I did not pay for college to learn how other people think. I paid for college to acquire a specific set of skills that would help me gain employment. Professors who would rather soapbox than teach are completely useless to me.
    College is not about expanding your mind, it's about acquiring a set of skills that will make you useful to other people, so that they will pay you to use those skills. And, to a lesser extent getting a signature on a piece of paper that other people can use as a barometer to judge your worth.
    It seems like the real core of the problem is you went to college for the wrong reason. There are few people who care about your understanding of Kantian ethics and it's unlikely that that's valuable anywhere other than the philosophy department. It could help you get a job and some people do insist on it but that's not what it's about. It's about growing you as a person and about teaching you to think for yourself. You will probably get those effects at the end whether you work towards it or not but unless you actually embrace that growth this will certainly not be the last time you're wondering why not everything is following a nice set script. Teachers can't just teach you, you have to actively learn.
    "If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
    ~John Stuart Mill~

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  2.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #12
    Didn't try, Succeeded Fay V's Avatar



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    Quote Originally Posted by foxboyprower View Post
    I can't remember a time I've ever experienced this in a math class.
    Goes back to that academic freedom. they can share an opinion so long as it relates to the field as a whole, thus ethics > politics. Math > politics is a harder stretch.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rsyk View Post
    It's not that he was debating the value of Kant's work so much as that he was suspending the entire discussion of Kantian ethics to discuss politics while in no way relating it back to the subject at hand.
    I did not pay for college to learn how other people think. I paid for college to acquire a specific set of skills that would help me gain employment. Professors who would rather soapbox than teach are completely useless to me.
    College is not about expanding your mind, it's about acquiring a set of skills that will make you useful to other people, so that they will pay you to use those skills. And, to a lesser extent getting a signature on a piece of paper that other people can use as a barometer to judge your worth.
    You may have been better off going to a trade school. In the United States the development of colleges and universities has focused primarily on teaching you how to think. The concept of using it to garner employment and specific skills is something that developed out of industry rather than the university itself and as time has gone on the general philosophy is returning to "teach people how to think, rather than how to job"
    The most notable effect of college across fields is the development of critical thinking skills.

    This all leads back to that academic freedom. It exists so that a teacher is free to build up student thinking skills without the pressures of corporations and administration saying "they have to learn these facts only". it's why there's that teaching to the test issue in k-12 but not university as much (GTAs and adjuncts do it but for different reasons)

    I'm not saying this situation was perfectly acceptable, but it is the product of a long history of development that exists for the reason of teaching how to think. In the end this does involve telling others what you think, because they have to sharpen their claws somehow.
    When developing in philosophy there is a lot of tracking historical arguments. "X says this" "what about this problem?" "that was Ys argument" "I see this issue" "that's z's issue" You don't really see new thought processes until you reach current politics.

    Next time that happens I suggest talking to the professor quietly after class, or trying to loop back to the issue at hand. what would Kant say about it, what about Mill or Nietzsche?

  3. #13
    The dictates of the market are entering the halls of universities now, though, as fewer professors are able to attain tenure (or even full-time status thanks to the adjunct system).

  4.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #14
    Didn't try, Succeeded Fay V's Avatar



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    Quote Originally Posted by Tigercougar View Post
    The dictates of the market are entering the halls of universities now, though, as fewer professors are able to attain tenure (or even full-time status thanks to the adjunct system).
    adjuncts and tenure track still have academic freedom and are able to share views associated with their field, Any instructor does. Tenure just offers more protection for various things

    Adjunct systems themselves dont disrupt the quality of an education. Based around the research necessary the tenure track aren't always the best instructors, yet adjunct tend to focus solely on teaching, thus may be better at teaching.

    Funny thing is, it isn't technically businesses that are the cause of this. Federal funding has significantly decreased in the past few decades for education. most money comes from grants and alumni. the grants are generally earned by tenure professors, so having adjuncts is cheaper and frees up time for those researching because they aren't teaching the 101 courses so much anymore.
    It also lets them focus on quality which in turn makes alumni happy.

    If you're looking only for a set of skills trade schools and the hard sciences, though even then there has been a push for critical thinking training and development of core...so you'll still get those lessons that involve modern opinion

  5. #15
    I have to agree. The point of university is to teach you how to think critically in society. The point of trade school is to teach you specific skills for employment. And the point of high school is to teach you how supernaturally cruel some people can be, and that they don't stop being cruel after you graduate. XP

  6. #16
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    Adjunct compensation varies a lot between institutions and states, but in many cases it is near minimum wage with the minimum benefits allowed under the law. (Pay is often based on student count and course type so a comparison to an hourly wage is not straightforward.) We're talking people with advanced degrees working for compensation comparable to part time labor in the service sector. It's really a grim reflection of the absolute glut of degrees produced by US colleges relative to employer demand. But I guess my point is that for many institutions adjunct positions are all about minimizing costs regardless of any real consideration of quality. Because at those levels of compensation they are only going to attract people who can't find anything better, and those people are probably going to be more concerned about securing less insulting employment than performing above the bare minimum in their teaching duties.

  7.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #17
    Retired Staff Frank LeRenard's Avatar
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    Feels like part of the problem is that culture now dictates that EVERYONE must get a college degree from a liberal arts institution, and so you end up with those schools being flooded with thousands of people who both don't want to be there and only feel that they need that piece of paper for job prospects, and otherwise miss the whole point of a liberal arts college education. Since the undergrad field of study doesn't matter unless you apply to grad school, then, you get a lot of bored people taking courses in the humanities or the arts (things they assume would be easier). Then when they graduate, they've got this B.A. in political science that's completely fucking useless, and they just end up finding some job in industry or managing a Walmart or something, having wasted $80000 on their piece of paper. And in the meantime, college costs are skyrocketing for the rest of us so that institutions can maintain the resources needed to both be competitive and to keep all their boatloads of unnecessary students happy and busy.

  8. #18
    Frank LeRenard, I think that also touches on another fundamental issue with the US in particular. Cuz there are plenty of countries in Europe and Asia with high college attendance rates, but it's a lot cheaper for their citizens then our schools are for us. Only Americans could, as a whole, completely fuck up the entire point of an education and decide that a piece of paper somehow makes you educated. Our culture doesn't value intelligence, it values opinions. And somehow our opinion revolves around letters and pieces of paper, so kids are cheating their way into getting those good letters without learning anything. But then again, our government and laws are defined by religion, and critical thinking is dangerous to religion, so I shouldn't be too surprised.

  9. #19
    Solifugid Onnes's Avatar
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    The thing is, our universities cost so much because demand is so high. And this demand isn't just from the US; we see huge numbers of foreign students despite the costs and the fact that they are ineligible for most of the financial assistance offered by the US government. Our top tier universities could easily double their tuition and still have no trouble attracting students. When I visited the University of Toronto, one of the professors addressing prospective grad students actually tried to assure them that a US degree wasn't a requirement for faculty positions in Canada. He actually had to say that.

    If we tried to subsidize our higher education to match the low tuitions of many other western nations--while maintaining current spending levels--the cost to state and federal government would be astronomical. Many universities would have to dramatically slash their spending or actually decrease student admissions due to total funds per student dropping below what it costs to actually provide courses and services.

  10. #20
    Onnes: Which also gets at what LeRenard was saying, if I'm interpreting him correctly. The demand is so high because we think that piece of paper is so terribly important. So you have universities filled with students who are there for all the wrong reasons and driving up college costs for the few who actually get it. But that piece of paper is EVERYTHING about getting employed in anything meaningful in America, so we still need it, and we're willing to put ourselves in however much debt it takes to get it. But at this point I'm repeating myself, so I'll cut myself off there.

 

 

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