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

  1.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #21
    Retired Staff Frank LeRenard's Avatar
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    Well, I mean, it's a bit of a feedback loop, because you need the enrollment to get the tuition dollars, but the cost of maintaining a university for 20,000 students is really high, so you need to raise tuition. I guess what I'm saying is, 'liberal arts' is starting to lose its meaning, because more and more you get people going to such schools not for the education but for the degree, which is really what a trade school is for. You don't generally learn practical skills from a liberal arts university; you go there to prepare your mind for a career in a very specific and focused field of knowledge. That's the kind of education you get at a liberal arts school, but that's not how they're marketed, and that's not what a lot of people go there to get. There's a disconnect between past and present, I think, because universities are still teaching as they have been in the past in order to fulfill the needs of the present, which are not the same. Hence the abundance of rather pointless degrees people are getting.

    I don't know if I'm making sense. This is just my personal experience.

  2. #22
    Okay, I see where you're coming from. I agree, if you just need a degree for a job then a trade school or community college is the best. And honestly, if I could do my life over again, I'd probably go that route instead of university (and subsequently dropping out).

    Besides, a university education is overrated anyway nowadays. I can learn political science for free at my local library. That degree is just the quick proof to employers that you learned it.

  3. #23
    Solifugid Onnes's Avatar
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    Part of the problem in the US is that we have very little in the way of historically effective vocational education. That sector here has been dominated by lackluster or downright predatory for-profit corporations that are almost universally viewed as worthless in degree value terms. Given the state of things, even an extremely effective vocational/career school would have trouble making headway due to few people being at all familiar with such institutions or having any clue how to evaluate the worth of one.

  4. #24
    It's really hard to evaluate ANY institute of higher education because there are so many factors that people don't realize make a big difference, but those same factors are hard to judge without at least visiting the place. Quality of education, class sizes, and the like are important, but so does location, clubs and activities, security, and so on. The intangibles, if you will. I attended Pacific Lutheran University here in Washington, but few people outside of Tacoma knows the school exists and most would assume it's a religiously driven school, but it was a WONDERFUL college and I truly regret dropping out. I wouldn't have known it if I hadn't visited. It had the intangibles along with the quality of education and small class sizes.

  5.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #25
    Retired Staff Frank LeRenard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onnes View Post
    Part of the problem in the US is that we have very little in the way of historically effective vocational education. That sector here has been dominated by lackluster or downright predatory for-profit corporations that are almost universally viewed as worthless in degree value terms. Given the state of things, even an extremely effective vocational/career school would have trouble making headway due to few people being at all familiar with such institutions or having any clue how to evaluate the worth of one.
    You might think the problem could be easily solved if employers would consider folks who don't have a degree, but who have practical experience in the appropriate field. It's a little strange, but back when I was job-hunting (before I got accepted to grad school), a lot of the places I found accepted applicants who had 'a college degree'. Didn't matter what kind, or what the major was, or anything; just 'a college degree'. But if the place required coding knowledge and your degree was in English horn performance, you'd have to get a lot of training to be able to start such a job anyway, hence nullifying entirely the requirement that you have 'a college degree'. Seemed completely counter-productive to me... why don't you just hire people who would be good at the job? But I guess the only way to prove practical experience is to give the fellow a test-drive, and maybe that's just too costly for companies nowadays.

  6. #26
    Solifugid Onnes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank LeRenard View Post
    You might think the problem could be easily solved if employers would consider folks who don't have a degree, but who have practical experience in the appropriate field. It's a little strange, but back when I was job-hunting (before I got accepted to grad school), a lot of the places I found accepted applicants who had 'a college degree'. Didn't matter what kind, or what the major was, or anything; just 'a college degree'. But if the place required coding knowledge and your degree was in English horn performance, you'd have to get a lot of training to be able to start such a job anyway, hence nullifying entirely the requirement that you have 'a college degree'. Seemed completely counter-productive to me... why don't you just hire people who would be good at the job? But I guess the only way to prove practical experience is to give the fellow a test-drive, and maybe that's just too costly for companies nowadays.
    Well if someone's just entering the job market then they aren't going to have much in the way of proof of their skills outside of a degree or certification. (Software development can be an exception to this, though, given that many people start out volunteering on various projects and therefore can have some evidence of skill.) My impression has been that most employers still value significant previous job experience over a degree, though. There's also the fact when you have a glut of applicants for a given position you almost have to specify some criteria which will eliminate most of them just to reduce the number of applications you have to seriously consider down to a manageable number. And this is pretty much the case for every entry level job these days without very specific degree/certification/training requirements. Basically, if you have 200 applicants and the only easily screened quantity distinguishing them is the fact that 50 have a college education, you narrow your search down to those 50 and discard the rest. It beats the alternative method of "guess what number I'm thinking of," otherwise known as the personality test.

  7. #27
    Senior Rsyk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank LeRenard View Post
    You might think the problem could be easily solved if employers would consider folks who don't have a degree, but who have practical experience in the appropriate field. It's a little strange, but back when I was job-hunting (before I got accepted to grad school), a lot of the places I found accepted applicants who had 'a college degree'. Didn't matter what kind, or what the major was, or anything; just 'a college degree'. But if the place required coding knowledge and your degree was in English horn performance, you'd have to get a lot of training to be able to start such a job anyway, hence nullifying entirely the requirement that you have 'a college degree'. Seemed completely counter-productive to me... why don't you just hire people who would be good at the job? But I guess the only way to prove practical experience is to give the fellow a test-drive, and maybe that's just too costly for companies nowadays.
    That's also a problem with the hiring pool. That test drive segment usually lasts about two weeks, during which you have no guarantee that time invested will result in an actual job. How many people do you know who'll put forth the time needed to prove that?
    Hell, the job I have now could be considered to have a probationary period of a few months, during which I was pretty much working an internship with no pay. Granted, that has led into what could very well become a career I will keep at for the rest of my life, and I don't regret a single minute of it. But I doubt there are very many people who'd be willing to take that risk. Hell, I watched tons of people I know go out for jobs who'd been unemployed for months turn down opportunities because the job wasn't a sure thing.

  8.   This is the last staff post in this thread.   #28
    Retired Staff Frank LeRenard's Avatar
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    Maybe this is why we don't have the old apprentice system anymore?
    I guess overabundance of people is a problem for a lot of things. I'm thinking of the publishing industry as an example; the really big ones are forced to come up with a basic rubric for acceptance or rejection because they simply don't have time to read every submission they get. So maybe such problem will persist unless the population plummets for some reason.
    In the meantime, though, universities could do a better job coming up with classes for those who want job training rather than an education. If there are no trade schools of note, universities could easily take advantage of that gap in the market. Then they'd get the enrollment, but their graduates would actually be able to find jobs as well, and leave room in the more academic classes for those who actually want to be there. Just a thought, anyhow.

 

 

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