Q&A is an irregular series on SOTA which will pose a question to a small group of faculty, staff or students from different campuses and compile their responses. If you would like to respond to the question, please do so in the comments section of this post or email email@example.com. Here is the 2nd SOTA Q&A:
A: Peter Krapp (UCI) – This is a major scandal. If the US Senate hearings have started to shine a light on the practices of for-profit higher ed, then why is UC still indulging in dot-com fantasies? Who does [UC Dean Christopher] Edley hope to please with his authoritarian imposition of wage suppression, layoffs, and watered-down education?
A: Brett Stalbaum (UCSD) – My experience is that when faculty committees examine the application of online education to large undergraduate classes, they properly identify the hidden costs, the mixed experience of peer institutions, and very real concerns about quality. These same committees often find on the contrary that distance education could be a real revenue generator at the graduate level – especially in programs where producing a thesis requiring the student to be in a different location. (Say a deeply engaged, situated anthropology study or special collections.) Drafts and viva voce examination and support can be done with word processors, email, Skype, and other low cost tools. Using online technologies for “savings” is probably a folly tied to special interests who want to sell the UC on expensive platforms, and simultaneously distracts from the development of potentially very profitable, specialized graduate programs that are bound to our main mission as a research system.
Q&A is an irregular series on SOTA which will pose a question to a small group of faculty, staff or students from different campuses and compile their responses. If you would like to respond to the question, please do so in the comments section of this post or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is the first SOTA Q&A:
Q: How are you balancing the need for efficiency in your programs with the recognition that the arts cannot fit into an efficiency model?
A: Peter Krapp (UCI) – Efficiency does not have to be defined by corporate metrics. UC is a global leader in research, education, and service. Why can’t we
stop making important what corporate managers consider measurable, and start making measurable what is important?
There seem to be too few people in positions of influence at UCOP who have any significant experience on a UC main campus teaching undergraduates. Appropriate metrics need to be developed by faculty who are fully engaged in, and familiar with, the core mission.
A: Brett Stalbaum (UCSD) – The arts can and often do fit into an “efficiency model”, that they don’t is a canard that we largely impose on ourselves when we nod in agreement with the president. UC Administrators regularly fail to take into account that all enrolled students bring in the same state funds, and especially with fees increasing in recent years, departments such as English and Literature are cash cows because the students themselves don’t use nearly the same capital intensive infrastructure as students in the sciences do. Further, humanities and social science departments tend to have heavier teaching loads and lower salaries! The president’s assumption is almost certainly false, but don’t expect robust apples to apples efforts to correctly quantify any of these questions to come from UCOP. This president is not an honest player.