A new book by an education historian at the University of Pennsylvania charges that research rather than teaching is rewarded in higher education, and that needs to change (“ ‘The Amateur Hour’ Review: Hire Teachers for Higher Education,” The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 15). Yet there is absolutely nothing new about this indictment. In 1988, Charles J. Sykes made the same point in “Prof Scam: Professors and the Demise of Higher Education.”
The fact is that lecturing, which is the least effective way of teaching, remains the predominant method. Pedagogy is derided as beneath the dignity of professors, who believe that telling is teaching. That’s a pity because hearing a professor drone on while paying thousands of dollars to be subjected to the ordeal is outrageous.
Little will change until instruction is given equal weight to research. Until then, salaries will continue to rise in inverse proportion to teaching loads at virtually all elite schools.
(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)