Plinius

Thursday, October 27, 2011

PL 64/11: No fire in the belly

Filed under: debate, education — plinius @ 12:41 pm

The debate about higher education is heating up. I quote from a UK blog:

The increased marketisation of higher education means that

  • universities will want to appear successful in having its graduates finding paid work.
  • students will want to attend an institution that can deliver the best rates of employment.
  • government will want to see figures

Janet Beer (vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes University)

  • “I am worried about an over-emphasis by students on employability…
  • [students want] employability, but we offer a much richer experience…
  • We must not get sucked into thinking that we are providing some kind of production-line product”.

In market terms: universities want to offer a brand, not a staple. We serve HighEd Cola.

Samuel Jay Keyser (MIT) shares Janet Beer’s concern:

  • During a recent random faculty dinner that I hosted, faculty members from the schools of science and engineering complained about the attitude of present-day students.
  •  In their view, all they want to do is just what’s necessary to get through a class.
  • There’s no fire in the belly to get to the bottom of the subject.” [Source]

Statistics on employment rates are one way for potential students to choose an institution. However, students can do a lot to become more employable without relying on a degree result.

  • Relationships and key interactions with others
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Prior experience in your chosen field(s)
  • Examples of going ‘above and beyond’ what’s necessary
  • Critical assessment/evaluation
  • Examples of managing projects;
  • Publically visible achievements and/or a portfolio of professional work

The big take home point here is to understand that your focus on what’s important out of university shouldn’t rely solely on the certificate you get after three or more years. You owe yourself to go beyond that. Your degree isn’t the source of awesome. You are.

Martin adds:

  • Find your brand.
  • Work your brand.
  • Love your brand.

Sounds pretty marketized to Pliny …

Source

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