Episode 063: A Big Shiny Piece of Paper

Here at Texas Tech things were shaken up a bit recently with the resignation of Dr. Gary Bell, someone beloved to all of us in the Honors College. Dr. Bell basically built the Honors College over the past 17 years into a mainstay of the university. However, he came into conflict with the upper administration over the past few months on their goal to expand Texas Tech to 40,000 students by 2020 and bring it to to Tier One status. Bell felt that the administration was sacrificing quality education to make this happen. This time on BF we had Kevin Saunders and newcomer Levi Schlegel on to discuss the story and the general issue of research versus teaching in academia. It was a good one, folks. Have a listen!

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This Week’s Post-show Song Pimpage: “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2” by Pink Floyd

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2 Comments on "Episode 063: A Big Shiny Piece of Paper"

  1. HHErebus
    21/04/2010 at 11:12 am Permalink

    Audio quality was remarkable this time 🙂

    In my opinion universities becoming less…”difficult” (for lack of a better word, what I mean is the quantity part’s more probable consequences in the quantity vs. quality argument) is just a normal step in the life cycle of an educational (educating?) system. It’s kind of an historical fact, if you think about the progressive lengthening of compulsory education. As Kevin said, it’s similar to market behavior: when the offer of something goes up, the price goes down (so when a lot of people have a diploma, an employer usually expects you to have it, and in turn you are compelled to get one since you won’t be competitive if you don’t).
    If the question that comes to mind is the reason for giving more and more years to schooling. The reply is, I think, that knowledge is expanding at astounding rates, and to keep up (albeit new subjects, theories and the such are not introduced instantly in the system) we have to impart as “background information” a lot more things -and thus learn them in lower-level “educational steps”-. Special relativity for example is something you now study in high school, which was not the case in 1908, as it was then cutting edge.

    -I apologize my apparent inability to be clear when explaining ideas, but I’m a master in convoluting simple things-

    Anyway. More information needs to be taught in the same time. That demands a reduction of the time spent on each subject, or the addition of more dedicated time. The present case is actually both, as I see it.

    A solution to the having-a-diploma-feels-like-being-an-ordinary-person could reside in a complete overhaul of high schooling, maybe adding two years and not teaching things deemed unnecessary (and at the same time instructing students in a lot more universitarian subjects). This could make universities a desire only for someone really interested again, and make post-high schoolers actually competitive in the job world.

    Or, you know, finding a way to instantly reach c and beginning using the benefits of slower relativistic time. That could be actually easier, maybe.

    p.s.: I apologize for eventual syntactical or orthographic mistakes, but English is not my first language, so I’m not completely able to help it 😛 I tried my best though xD

  2. HHErebus
    22/04/2010 at 2:02 pm Permalink

    Just one clarification which I now see as necessary: the quality vs. quantity argument I was referring to is not the same one Dr. Bell resigned for. What I mean by quantity vs. quality is that there is a certain number of informations and there is a certain time needed for each one to be exhausted, whether Dr.Bell fought for the quality of teaching over the quantity of students. Hope this clarifies things a bit 🙂

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