Saturday, December 03, 2011

Managing above our weight on a world stage

My Waikato Management School degree is on the world stage. While studying they had the triple crown accreditation - achieved by only the top 2% of the worlds institutions, since they have improved to the top 1% - bundled in with Cambridge and Oxford - infact the only ones in a thousand years who were invited into the Cambridge debating chamber. If people think that the real debate occurs in the the debating chanbers of various parliaments they are wrong. What do you think has occurred for that thousands years in the Cambridge debating chamber - and are yo more interested in the results on GE crops from this chamber or the debating chamber of the a bunch of newbies in parliament?
Quite. Deborah Hill Cone writes a considered piece about the commercialisation and degradation of our universities, so JD leaps in to correct her, with news of the hitherto-unknown Cambridge debating chamber, almost as old as the Althing  and closed to all outsiders but the Waikato Management School. Cambridge celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2009. Do the maths. Correct the grammar.

Barely literate, under-informed and over-opinionated, JD is a shining example of the modern managerial class. Armed with a degree in Doing Things, trained but not educated, JD doubtless will go far - probably in a BMW. Whether JD will make any sense is another matter.

Here is a long piece full of difficult words by Keith Thomas in the London Review of Books, a magazine read by bookish people:
We are all deeply anxious about the future of British universities. Our list of concerns is a long one. It includes the discontinuance of free university education; the withdrawal of direct public funding for the teaching of the humanities and the social sciences; the subjection of universities to an intrusive regime of government regulation and inquisitorial audit; the crude attempt to measure and increase scholarly ‘output’; the requirement that all academic research have an ‘impact’ on the economy; the transformation of self-governing communities of scholars into mega-businesses, staffed by a highly-paid executive class, who oversee the professors, or middle managers, who in turn rule over an ill-paid and often temporary or part-time proletariat of junior lecturers and research assistants, coping with an ever-worsening staff-student ratio; the notion that universities, rather than collaborating in their common task, should compete with each other, and with private providers, to sell their services in a market, where students are seen, not as partners in a joint enterprise of learning and understanding, but as ‘consumers’, seeking the cheapest deals which will enable them to emerge with the highest earning prospects; the indiscriminate application of the label ‘university’ to institutions whose primary task is to provide vocational training and whose staff do not carry out research; and the rejection of the idea that higher education might have a non-monetary value, or that science, scholarship and intellectual inquiry are important for reasons unconnected with economic growth.
Now read on.

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