15 June 2009

Grouchy Old Professor Badmouths College Kids

For those of you college-educamated, what comes to your mind when you think of your alma mater? Sure there were some fun times, but I recall tests that were impossible to finish unless you were the robot from Short Circuit, staying up until 2am doing homework with fellow under-sexed workaholics, and shedding that teenage hubris of "Maybe, I'm not as smart as I thought". But, Abraham H. Miller, an Emeritus Professor from somewhere, argues that the whole college experience is phonier than an Iranian election, and, unlike me, he comes armed with more than just personal anecdotes. From PJs:

At the end of four years, many students simply learned how to manipulate the system. Almost anytime I taught a course that required a prerequisite, most of the students did not possess the prior knowledge. The Internet provided a vast array of opportunities for cheating that further compromised learning. And while there is software that checks for plagiarism, students know how to defeat this. Besides, professors want to catch plagiarists as much as sanctuary cities want to arrest illegal aliens. A student can avail himself of a due process system that will consume a professor’s time and end with a slap on the wrist.

After all, plagiarism is as common on campus as promiscuity, drugs, and binge drinking. The ukase from the higher administration during finals week usually reminded us what it really was all about: as the campus community embarks on finals week, we encourage the entire faculty to remember our strong and vital commitment to retention.

You didn’t need a Ph.D. to interpret that memo.
There's a certain get off my lawn tone here, but maybe he is onto something by suggesting that more folks go to technical school or community college part-time while they learn a real job. Really, how many more fucking lawyers and MBAs do we need?


olgreydog7 said...

I always surprised at the grade inflation I see around campus. So the guy is on to something. Most of these kids waste time and money in bullshit majors and wonder why they can't get paid 6 figures when they graduate. The few papers I have written have been scanned for plagiarism and I have seen the reports. Some of the prerequisites really aren't needed. At least two of my classes this semester I'm pretty sure weren't graded completely. The grades for grads were due the last day of exams. There is no way that my two 40+ page reports were graded in less than a week. I also agree that there is pressure to pass alot of kids. Retention=$$$

Ms. Kiyum said...

The cranky old professor is totally right. All you have to do is figure out the game and play it, and you'll do fine. As for my fellow grownup classmates since I started my graduate degree -- they are all a bunch of morons, and they all have better careers.