December 28, 2013

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: ‘We Are Creating Walmarts of Higher Education.’

Universities in South Dakota, Nebraska, and other states have cut the number of credits students need to graduate. A proposal in Florida would let online courses forgo the usual higher-education accreditation process. A California legislator introduced a measure that would have substituted online courses for some of the brick-and-mortar kind at public universities.

Some campuses of the University of North Carolina system are mulling getting rid of history, political science, and various others of more than 20 “low productive” programs. The University of Southern Maine may drop physics. And governors in Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin have questioned whether taxpayers should continue subsidizing public universities for teaching the humanities.

Under pressure to turn out more students, more quickly and for less money, and to tie graduates’ skills to workforce needs, higher-education institutions and policy makers have been busy reducing the number of required credits, giving credit for life experience, and cutting some courses, while putting others online.

The thing about WalMart is, it offers a lot of value for the money. Besides, it’s all women’s fault. “The same percentage of men (7 percent) major in the humanities today as in the 1950s, but women’s interest in the humanities has dropped dramatically.” If men were abandoning the humanities, it would be because they’re philistines — dumb lunks only interested in making a buck. But since it’s women, there must be a positive reason for the change.