Provocative: Big ideas and insightful critiques of the higher ed labor market, curriculum, organizational structure etc. Passionate: Taylor is passionate about teaching and learning, and believes that institutions of higher learning must evolve and reform to continue to thrive.
Solutions: Proposed solutions, beyond dismantling tenure for the non-tenured do not address fundamental issues of cost and access. Ahistorical: The current state of higher ed is not placed within an historical context, making analysis of issues and problems less informative. Economics: The economic aspects of higher ed are not analyzed. Chapter on tuition focusses on "sticker" price, not accounting for true costs of tuition.
More Than a Historical Accident
Readable: Book is short and an easy read - good chance that people will read for a discussion. Elite Bias: Taylor seems to be writing primarily for institutions similar to where he has taught Williams, Columbia - failing to address the state of community colleges and other Institutions.
For-Profits Excluded: Limited discussion of the role of for-profits in the educational landscape. Limited Examples: 'Crisis on Campus' would have benefited from more examples of innovative institutions, programs, and leaders in higher education.
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Graduate student's death at UW Madison is a devastating cautionary tale. How to write an effective diversity statement essay. Students at Williams call for a boycott of the English department. Chair of the religion department at Columbia University, Taylor had often focused his scholarly work on esoteric subjects ranging from postmodern theology to Derrida on counterfeiting. But in the Times article, he called for doing away with academic departments and abolishing tenure. Was he really surprised by such strong reactions?
The book is provocative, to be sure, but the arguments are thin, and Taylor seems to have made no effort to back up his observations with research that is, beyond some casual reading. Instead of presenting an analysis of the growth of online education, he tells us about the difficulties of a digital education company he started with the help of a wealthy alumnus from the college where he taught. This would be a shame: Taylor has in fact identified some major problems facing higher education. But specialization has gone hand in hand with professional prestige, something that schools have been chasing for decades.
His suggestions for the ivory tower are both thought-provoking and rigorous: End tenure.
Crisis on Campus by Mark C. Taylor | Penguin Random House Canada
Restructure departments to encourage greater cooperation among existing disciplines. Emphasize teaching rather than increasingly rarefied research. And bring that teaching to new domains, using emergent online networks to connect students worldwide. As a nation, he argues, we fail to make such necessary and sweeping changes at our peril. Taylor shows us the already-rampant consequences of decades of organizational neglect. We see promising graduate students in a distinctly unpromising job market, relegatedif they're luckyto positions that take little advantage of their training and talent.