since 1998

personal website: joe crawford. code. occasional comics. toy robots. bodysurfing. san diego. california. say hi.

How many quotes of the day are enough: Clay Shirky

Transformation of Higher Ed: Great Books and American Diversity by Clay Shirky. Seriously, read it. Some of the quotes which made me laugh and think include:

You will never guess where the deepest questions were asked and the greatest texts written, and since you won’t be able to guess, I’ll just tell you: It was Europe!

If the English department is strong, English courses will be required; if weak, electives. If a school is organized around research, students will choose their major early; if it is organized around teaching, they may have two years of “general education”, of which there is of course no such thing. Georgia Tech requires a course in computing; Bard does not. Bard requires a course in Meaning, Being, and Value; Georgia Tech does not. And so on.

In the same way a pizza is a pie chart of how much pizza is left, the curriculum is a record of who won the argument about what goes in the curriculum.

Over the arc of American history, colleges started to become non-sectarian when not enough students of their chosen religion applied to pay the bills, coeducational when not enough men applied, diverse when not enough whites applied, and international when not enough citizens applied.

That change was slowed, however, because mandatory retirement for faculty was abolished in 1993. Prior to that year, most professors had to retire at 70. After the limit was uncapped, many stayed on; one study measured a 14-fold increase in professors over the age of 70, increasing their numbers from 1 in 100 to around 1 in 7.

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