Last week, our college dean emailed us another article (pdf) from a conservative Texas think tank called Texas Public Policy Foundation. The article is not new (circa 2008), but given the wave of austerity measures hitting Europe, and a likely round of further spending cuts in the US, it is timely.
To summarize, the article thinks academic research is an extraordinary waste of tax-payer money, and it comes up with some recommendations.
- emphasize teaching
- separate useful and esoteric research
- review the PhD "glut"
Personally, I do think higher education needs some fixing. Some of the issues mentioned in the article are issues that have bothered me before. I hope academia takes a good hard look at itself, and really tries to institute reform from within (instead of publishing it as a paper!).
For if we don't change it from the inside-out, then it may be destroyed from the outside-in.