Say Good-Bye: Universities are Diseased, and Dying

Say Good-Bye to Your College Dreams and Delusions

College Isn’t College Anymore:

… the coronavirus is forcing people to take a hard look at that $51,000 tuition they’re spending. Even wealthy people just can’t swallow the jagged pill of tuition if it doesn’t involve getting to send their kids away for four years. It’s like, “Wait, my kid’s going to be home most of the year? Staring at a computer screen?” There’s this horrific awakening being delivered via Zoom of just how substandard and overpriced education is at every level. __ NYMag

Colleges have been taken over by violent political organizations:

Former Antifa member Gabriel Nadales … said [Antifa] today is much more violent than when he was a part of it back in 2011, which he says is due to “the fact that so many college administrators and college campuses that allow Antifa to work under their noses.” __ CampusReform

Colleges have been taken over by communist China:

American universities under investigation by the US Education Department are trying to keep their ties to China hidden — refusing to hand over documents detailing cash and other gifts from the Communist nation, according to a new report.

It is a propaganda world out there:

More than a decade after they were created, Confucius Institutes have sprouted up at more than 500 college campuses worldwide, with more than 100 of them in the United States—including at The George Washington University, the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa. Overseen by a branch of the Chinese Ministry of Education known colloquially as Hanban, the institutes are part of a broader propaganda initiative that the Chinese government is pumping an estimated $10 billion into annually, and they have only been bolstered by growing interest in China among American college students.

Confucius Institutes teach a very particular, Beijing-approved version of Chinese culture and history: one that ignores concerns over human rights, for example, and teaches that Taiwan and Tibet indisputably belong to Mainland China. Take it from the aforementioned Li, who also said in 2009 that Confucius Institutes are an “important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up.” Critics also charge that the centers have led to a climate of self-censorship on campuses that play host to them.

… American universities can continue to collect full tuition from their students while essentially outsourcing instruction in Chinese. In other words, it’s free money for the schools. At many (though not all) Confucius-hosting campuses, students can receive course credit for classes completed at the institute…

Despite years of these critiques—including a recent outcry at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and the shuttering of Confucius Institutes at two of the nation’s top research universities—they’re still growing in number in the United States, albeit at a slower clip than a few years ago. __Infiltrating the Campus

Financially, things look grim:

As universities face major changes, their financial outlook is becoming dire. Revenues are plummeting as students (particularly international ones) remain home or rethink future plans, and endowment funds implode as stock markets drop.

… All institutions are facing major financial problems, however. Wealthy private US universities, such as Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, expect to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in the next fiscal year. UK universities collectively face a shortfall of at least £2.5 billion (US$3 billion) in the next year because of projected drops in student enrolment, according to the UK consulting firm London Economics. And Australian universities could shed up to 21,000 full-time jobs this year, including 7,000 in research, a government report said in May. __ Nature

Colleges provide very little benefit to students, particularly when weighed against the costs:

“An astounding proportion of students are progressing through higher education today without measurable gains in general skills as assessed by the CLA [Collegiate Learning Assessment].” The authors also find “at least some evidence that college students improved their critical thinking skills much more in the past than they do today.” __ Campus Disaster

Graduates have few skills after leaving college, and little knowledge. Wisdom? What’s that?

The state of “general knowledge” and civic education is, if anything, worse than the acquisition of skills. Relating a series of depressing tales and studies, Ellis shows that the beating heart of today’s university curriculum involves making the case for radical social transformation. Go through the course offerings in History or English departments, as Ellis does; analyze their titles, the research agenda of the instructor, and the syllabi. It is easy to see that an agenda for social justice is increasingly crowding out all alternatives. Studies by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) confirm this: more than 80 percent of college seniors at the top 50 schools fail tests about basic facts on American history or American government. Confronted with these studies, the higher-education industry does nothing. Could on-line education be any worse? __ Higher Ed is Crumbling

Technology to the rescue?

Scott Galloway, successful entrepreneur, best-selling author, and professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business whose work has been described as “genius”… predicts big-name colleges will partner with big tech companies and change the way higher education is delivered, while smaller and less prestigious universities basically go out of business, just like that JC Penney in your neighborhood mall. __ New Cyborg Universities

After Wuhan CoV-19, Faculty and students are afraid to go back on campus:

We asked readers to tell us how they felt about returning to campus. More than 1,300 of you responded. Our survey was anonymous and not scientific. Still, the responses paint a picture of educators’ fears and the decisions they are weighing. “I don’t trust my university to provide what we need to stay safe,” one said. “Our students need us,” wrote another. “I’m afraid that my choice,” someone said, “will come down to either losing my position or being forced to work in dangerous conditions.” __ Fear and Dread

Most responders to the Chronicle of Higher Education survey were fearful of returning to campus this fall.

Many Students Want Social Contact But are Afraid:

Declarations that classes will be face-to-face are not maverick moves but rather slapdash attempts to lure students and parents who are understandably desperate for some semblance of normalcy and are prey to the promise of what they’ve long hungered and planned for — to have the quintessential campus experience.

… intimate and messy. There are the emotional, intellectual, political, creative and sexual messes. I’ve lived the better part of my life on college campuses — first as a student and later as a professor for almost a quarter of a century. The most exhilarating, memorable moments have been the grittiest ones.

I remember as a student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison sitting shoulder to shoulder at the union listening to music; or the time I, and other students, covered up art with black cloth all over campus as part of “A Day Without Art” to commemorate World AIDS Day; or piling on beds with friends to drink and hang out; or attending numerous protests and campus lectures; or having sex for the first time; or studying with my friend Laura in the tiniest room until all hours of the morning, sharing food and giggling; or my boyfriend making the most amazing homemade spaghetti as we both licked the ladle to taste it in my apartment, where he spent nearly every day. __

College is the place where young adults go to binge, fornicate, get brainwashed, and temporarily live as well as possible on other people’s money — while building a huge college loan debt. For a lot of kids, the prospect of online school is just not the same thing.

It Could Not Go On That Way

College loan debt is a major form of household debt and has grown steeply for years. Hanging around students’ necks like dead albatrosses, this debt forces an indefinite postponement of normal life for large numbers of graduates, dropouts, and perpetual students.

If students and their families received fair value for the debt — and for the many other sacrifices that college requires — perhaps the debt could be seen as necessary, or at least excusable. But instead of becoming strong and independent — learning to learn — students are being indoctrinated into dead-end ideologies, while being thrown into a debt-slave dungeon for much of the rest of their lives.

Literacy experts and educators say they are stunned by the results of a recent adult literacy assessment, which shows that the reading proficiency of college graduates has declined in the past decade, with no obvious explanation. While more Americans are graduating from college, and more than ever are applying for admission, far fewer are leaving higher education with the skills needed to comprehend routine data, such as reading a table about the relationship between blood pressure and physical activity, according to the federal study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. __ Minding the Campus

Things are changing rapidly now, due to the Chinese pandemic along with a slow awakening among many students and their families. The death of between 25% and 50% of existing colleges would not be surprising. Many others will be on life support.

What that means is the top-20 universities globally are going to become even stronger. What it also means is that universities Nos. 20 to 50 are fine. But Nos. 50 to 1,000 go out of business or become a shadow of themselves. I don’t want to say that education is going to be reinvented, but it’s going to be dramatically different. __ College Fix

Universities down under are under some of the same pressures. Being closer to China than most of the rest of the Anglosphere, Oz is suffering from a storm of CCP bullying and attempted dominance.

More Looks at The End of College:

The End of College As We Know It

Online education is far more efficient. It requires less overhead. And it allows instructors to teach more students at once. Online degrees cost about half of what it costs to receive the same education in a classroom. And that spells opportunity for a handful of companies.

The End of College as we Knew It

It will probably look like this in higher education: Dozens and potentially hundreds of small four-year colleges go under, some of them within the next year and others over the next five. Online instruction proliferates, because the pandemic has forced more schools to experiment with it, because it could be a way for them to expand enrollment and thus revenues, and because it’s more accessible to financially strapped students who are wedging classes between shifts at work.

Is This the End of College?

Disruptions can spawn new possibilities and drive paradigm shifts. As many have learned over the past few weeks, we can’t simply resurrect what was or transfer our old practices intact to an online environment. We need to think afresh.

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1 Response to Say Good-Bye: Universities are Diseased, and Dying

  1. Gavin Longmuir says:

    Like so much else in our Western societies, the universities are unsustainable.

    An anecdote — a few years back, I visited a university which was doing some research for us. Not an Ivy, but a highly-respected name-brand school in this particular technical discipline, with a large active post-graduate program.

    Half the faculty were non-US — and that is ok, because we want to bring the best from around the world. However, not one of the MS or PhD students was from the US; about half from China, with the rest from India and a variety of other nations. I asked one of the professors about the absence of US students, and was told that the job opportunities for BS graduates were so attractive for US citizens that none of them could be tempted to pursue further study or an academic career.

    Whether that explanation is correct or not, the inevitable outcome is that in about two decades there will be no US citizens in the academic ranks in significant technical disciplines, and that change will have consequences. China, on the other hand, will have large numbers of highly trained individuals and a lock on advanced technical research, with significant consequences for the real economy.

    I suspect the real reason for the lack of US graduate students in a tough technical discipline lies in the failings of US education in grade schools and high schools.

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