Education Quote of the Day
| Peter Klein |
There is a settled mediocrity in American college teaching, surpassed here and there by talented and energetic individuals, but seldom disturbed in its languorous self-satisfaction. On most campuses, mediocrity can rightly pride itself on being a whole lot better than the conspicuous dreadfulness of a handful of professors who dedicate themselves variously to the nine muses of bad teaching: Boredom, Mumbling, Disorganization, Confusion, Forgetfulness, Stridency, PowerPoint, Textbook, and Vacuity.
That’s from Peter Wood, whose subject is actually the division of labor at many large US universities between tenured/tenure-track faculty, who do research and teach small classes to graduate and advanced undergraduate students, and the specialized, non-tenured teaching specialists who handle the bulk of the undergraduate instruction, assisted by a “small army” of graduate and undergraduate TAs. Wood points out, rightly IMHO, that one day the universities may decide that the prestige and grant dollars and other bennies generated by the research faculty isn’t worth their high salaries, perhaps choosing to go the University of Phoenix route instead.