]]]]]]]]]]]       THE HOLLOW HALLS OF ACADEME      [[[[[[[[[[[[[ 
                        By Thomas Sowell
       From New York Daily News, 3 January 1989, p. 25:1

          [Kindly uploaded by Freeman 10602PANC]

   Anyone who thinks universities  exist to teach students should
read the  book ``Profscam:  Professors and  the Demise  of Higher
Education''  by  Charles  Sykes.   It  is  about  the  scams that
professors pull  on those  who pay  the billions  of dollars that
support American universities.
   Any parent who is planning to spend big bucks to send a son or
daughter to a big-name university should especially read it.  And
high officials in Washington who think that what higher education
needs is more of the taxpayers' money should definitely read it.
   Over  the  past few  decades,  the  amount of  money  going to
support  higher education  has grown  by  leaps and  bounds.  The
theory  has been  that more  money  would mean  better education.
Nothing could  be more  fallacious, as  ``Profscam'' documents to
the hilt.
   What the record inflows of  money to the universities have, in
fact,  bought  is  primarily  a  reduced  teaching  schedule  for
professors, more research  grants to professors,  more leaves for
professors  and other  goodies  for professors.   Often  this has
meant fewer classes,  larger classes, and  more classes taught by
graduate teaching assistants rather than faculty members.
   At Harvard,  for example, the  number of  faculty members more
than doubled between 1952 and  1974, while the number of students
rose by only 14%.   If you think this  meant more courses or more
contact   with   professors,   think   again.    The   number  of
undergraduate courses at Harvard declined by 28%
   A 1986 study of the University of Wisconsin showed the average
professor there teaching only six  hours a week.  The more senior
the professor, the less likely he is to teach even this much.  In
the spring `87 term, there  were four economics professors at the
University  of Wisconsin  with salaries  over $75,000  who taught
only one course each.
   Similar patterns can  be found at  big-name universities coast
to  coast.   Often  top   professors  teach  mainly  postgraduate
seminars,  where  students  present  papers  and  other  students
comment, with only an occasional  remark by the professor to keep
the discussion going.
   Meanwhile,  back  in  the  ordinary  undergraduate  classroom,
junior faculty  or less  prestigious professors  often lecture to
huge  classes of  hundreds --  and sometimes  more than  1,000 --
students.   Smaller  classes  are  often  taught  by  assistants,
usually graduate students who help finance their own education by
doing this as a sideline.  The  senior faculty members who give a
university  its  reputation give  very  little of  their  time to
   In  mathematics  and  the   sciences,  many  of  the  teaching
assistants  in  universities  across   the  country  are  foreign
graduate students.  Their English is often so bad that complaints
by undergraduates that they cannot  understand what is being said
are widespread -- and widely ignored.
   Ironically,  all the  problems  the universities  are  used by
professors and  academic administrators  to argue  that they need
still more  billions of dollars.   But it has  been precisely the
massive inflow of money that has led to less and less teaching by
professors.   The fallacy  that more  money  buys more  or better
teaching is at the heart of the scam.
   More money means more competition by universities for big-name
professors, who  bring prestige  that enables  them to  get still
more money.   This heightened  competition not  only means higher
professional salaries -- in six figures for the stars -- but also
reduced  teaching  schedules, bigger  research  grants,  more and
bigger travel allowances and more free time to earn outside money
as consultants, expert witnesses and in other ways.
   If ``Profscam'' is  as widely read  as it deserves  to be, the
big names in academia  can be expected to  defend their big bucks
by attacking  it, disparaging  its author,  confusing the issues,
denying what they can get away with denying and evading what they
can't deny.
   For those faced with the practical problems of trying to get a
decent  education,  there  are  still  many  small  liberal  arts
colleges  where teaching  remains the  central purpose.   Not all
these  colleges have  escaped the  moral dry  rot of  the leading
universities, but there  are still some good  ones around, if you
look long and hard to find them.


[Sysop's  Note:  I have read the book and was going  to  bring  a 
review of it in the Jan 89 issue, but did not have enough  space. 
I  highly  recommend  it,  though  it  fails  to  point  out  the 
professoriat's  outrageous leftist activism -- see  the  Sirkins' 
articles on floors 10, 11 & 12 of this Rathole.]

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