Theres not much new here, but it is a useful summary of the state of American higher education.
Well, I didnt know that 70% of the undegraduate courses at NYU are taught by adjunct faculty (!!!), and hadnt thought of conceiving the collective undergraduate population at Americas liberal arts colleges as fitting inside a Big 10 football stadium. Heres my favorite snippet, since it hits close to home:
As for the relatively few students who still attend a traditional liberal arts college—whether part of, or independent from, a university—what do they get when they get there? The short answer is freedom to choose among subjects and teachers, and freedom to work out their own lives on campus. Intellectual, social, and sexual freedom of the sort that todays students assume as an inalienable right is never cheaply won, and requires vigilant defense in academia as everywhere else. Yet there is something less than ennobling in the unearned freedom of privileged students in an age when even the most powerful institutions are loath to prescribe anything— except, of course, in the "hard" sciences, where requirements and prerequisites remain stringent. One suspects that behind the commitment to student freedom is a certain institutional pusillanimity—a fear that to compel students to read, say, the major political and moral philosophers would be to risk a decline in applications, or a reduction in graduation rates (one of the statistics that counts in the US News and World Report college rankings closely watched by administrators). Nor, with a few exceptions, is there the slightest pressure from faculty, since there is no consensus among the teachers about what should be taught.
So by the authors lights Im on a suicide mission, teaching at a college that dares to require students to read the major moral and political philosophers. I cant wait for the second installment.