The Current HE Reality

It is no surprise to anyone in higher education, especially anyone in higher education in Louisiana, that things are fairly dire when it comes to the job market. The poster below reveals some of the larger trends at work across all departments: the humanities are not the only ones “in crisis.” Higher education, in general, it could be argued is under attack. Yes, the economy has been tough, but that does not explain the glee with which state governments have hacked at higher education budgets. Critical thinking and science are simply too inconvenient for the political forces that have emerged, largely on the right but also some disturbing ones on the left. That university administrations have taken advantage of these economic and ideological trends not only to hack away full-time faculty but also to increase their numbers and fatten their salaries is not unexpected, given the rise of MBA-think among them.

The crazy thing is, most university administrators don’t have a clue that they are re-purposing MBAisms from the 90s, which proved disastrous to corporate America in the following decade: even Harvard, birthplace of the MBA, is re-thinking the degree’s nature and focus. Unfortunately for higher education, lessons are not as learned as quickly here, buffered as we are from fools quickly being run off when things go wrong. And so we will probably face at least another decade, if not more, of high-sounding rhetoric making all the wrong decisions.

So, yeah, take a look at the last graph or so in the poster: the one that reveals that retention and graduation are highest when you have full-time faculty at the front of classrooms, be they physical or virtual.

PhD Job Crisis

PhD Job Crisis

The poster was, I think, originally from Marc Cortez, but I can’t find the link now.

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