Yesterday I felt the need to support an instrumentalist view of education in response to Stanley Fish and Frank Donoghue. Today I’m exploring thoughts on their primarily premise, that tenured professors are a dying breed and this fact is leaving education in lesser hands.
The cost of education is very high. Too many people need to mortgage their future to secure their future. Beginning to address this issue will mean tenured professors and administrators must leave their walled-departmental-gardens. From a business standpoint (and unless you are willing to work pro-bono, everyone should have some type of business perspective) administrator, professors and everyone involved need to account for how they add value to a students education, find new ways to add value, and understand how much that value costs. Many professors are concerned with little more than delivering their course load and completing their (tenure hoop jumping) research projects; many advisor focus less on mentoring and more on choosing courses and navigating bureaucracy. Many administrators just seem totally bureaucratized.
I believe that tenure for intellectual educational purposes is important. A lack of tenure would be lamentable, but value propositions, not tenure proposition, are needed to be a central role in determining professor valuations. My graduate mentor once suggested that meet every three year to justify the continuation of their course. I agreed at the time, but even more so now. Things change so fast these days and so many people, even tenured professors, keep on teaching the way they were taught.