A short one today, the last of term. Normal service will resume January 4th, 2016.
It’s been an interesting semester. Progress on some fronts, I think. I was certainly very pleased that for the first time ever in this election, all three major national parties released platforms that included investments in students and, in one way or another, all targeted lower-income families. That’s progress. The incandescently idiotic Green platform suggests there’s still a market for dumb PSE ideas, but you can’t have everything.
But progress in one area, eternal return to bad ideas in another. Take for example the “students and universities suck these days” piece published in the LA Review of Books last week. Written by UPEI religious studies prof Ron Srigley, it’s almost a cartoon of every knee-jerk “kids these days! Why isn’t the academy the way it was in the 1960s” piece written in the last two decades. Unengaged students! Too many administrators! E-learning is an abomination! Etc., etc. Snore.
(If you’re curious why he wrote this piece for an American publication instead of a Canadian one, it’s possibly because he calls UPEI – and by extension his former haunts at Laurentian and Nipissing – “3rd and 4th tier Canadian institutions”. Wonder what the Arts faculty Christmas party is going to be like in Charlottetown this year.)
From a personal point of view, of course, the cockroach-like staying power of bad ideas in PSE is depressing. Why can’t the sector move on? Why must there be so many dinosaurs? But of course from a consulting point of view it’s heartening. The perpetual re-emergence of bad ideas means I get to re-do the same projects every decade or so, which really helps with margins. Plus I get to re-cycle blog posts.
And speaking of blog posts, it’s time for my twice-yearly bleg for feedback: How are you enjoying these blog posts? Is there stuff you like? Don’t like? If there are things I can be doing better, I’d love to know.
And finally, thanks to all for reading all year. It’s awfully nice to have an audience that is as engaged and committed to education as you folks are. Happy holidays to all.