Posts Tagged ‘send more paramedics’

Now, matters are such that German universities, especially the small universities, are engaged in a most ridiculous competition for enrollments. The landlords of rooming houses in university cities celebrate the advent of the thousandth student by a festival, and they would love to celebrate Number Two Thousand by a torchlight procession. The interest in fees – and one should openly admit it – is affected by appointments in the neighboring fields that ‘draw crowds.’ And quite apart from this, the number of students enrolled is a test of qualification, which may be grasped in terms of numbers, whereas the qualification for scholarship is imponderable and, precisely with audacious innovators, often debatable – that is only natural. Almost everybody thus is affected by the suggestion of the immeasurable blessing and value of large enrollments. To say of a docent that he is a poor teacher is usually to pronounce an academic sentence of death, even if he is the foremost scholar in the world. And the question whether he is a good or a poor teacher is answered by the enrollments with which the students condescendingly honor him.

It is a fact that whether or not the students flock to a teacher is determined in large measure, larger than one would believe possible, by purely external things: temperament and even the inflection of his voice. After rather extensive experience and sober reflection, I have a deep distrust of courses that draw crowds, however unavoidable they may be. Democracy should be used only where it is in place. Scientific training, as we are held to practice it in accordance with the tradition of German universities, is the affair of an intellectual aristocracy, and we should not hide this from ourselves. To be sure, it is true that to present scientific problems in such a manner that an untutored but receptive mind can understand them and – what for us is alone decisive – can come to think about them independently is perhaps the most difficult pedagogical task of all. But whether this task is or is not realized is not decided by enrollment figures.

Weber, in 1918.

In M. Weber, H. Gerth, & C. W. Mills (Eds.), From Max Weber. New York: Oxford University Press: 133-134.

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Australian Universities’ Review Special issue: Challenging the Privatised University.

There are no good academics in the EU.

En Tee Ee(eat) You

Posted: February 17, 2012 in Academy
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As evidenced by this link, Australia’s National Tertiary Education Union is conferencing next week. They must have noticed something fetid in the air because

One of the highlights will be a debate on day two, ‘Is the Idea of the University Dead?’

Et in Arcadia ego.

The university, where whatever it is, we cannot officially say it. Where we find

about half the current academic workforce planning to abandon universities in the next five years and many of our “best and brightest” younger academics giving up on wanting to work in universities altogether.

Where nearly all ‘output’, eventually, is eaten alive yes? Where we count so much that even cool heads approximate occasionally to the steady state algor mortis we recognise at Zombivory Towers. Where there are vandals at the gate:

Where

We’re moving toward control societies that no longer operate by confining people but through continuous control and instant communication. Bur­roughs was the first to address this. People are of course constantly talking about prisons, schools, hospitals: the institutions are breaking down. But they’re breaking down because they’re fighting a losing battle. New kinds of punishment, education, health care are being stealth­ily introduced. Open hospitals and teams providing home care have been around for some time. One can envisage education becoming less and less a closed site differentiated from the workspace as anoth­er closed site, but both disappearing and giving way to frightful con­tinual training, to continual monitoring of worker-schoolkids or bureaucrat-students. They try to present this as a reform of the school system, but it’s really its dismantling. In a control-based system noth­ing’s left alone for long.

You’re going to need one of these.