Re-estruturar as universidades?

Op-Ed do NYT, do professor Mark Taylor, diretor do departamento de religião da Columbia:

Alguns trechos:

The emphasis on narrow scholarship also encourages an educational system that has become a process of cloning. Faculty members cultivate those students whose futures they envision as identical to their own pasts, even though their tenures will stand in the way of these students having futures as full professors.

(…)

[…]other obstacle to change is that colleges and universities are self-regulating or, in academic parlance, governed by peer review. While trustees and administrations theoretically have some oversight responsibility, in practice, departments operate independently. To complicate matters further, once a faculty member has been granted tenure he is functionally autonomous. Many academics who cry out for the regulation of financial markets vehemently oppose it in their own departments.

(…)

In the arts and humanities, where looming cutbacks will be most devastating, there is no longer a market for books modeled on the medieval dissertation, with more footnotes than text. As financial pressures on university presses continue to mount, publication of dissertations, and with it scholarly certification, is almost impossible. (The average university press print run of a dissertation that has been converted into a book is less than 500, and sales are usually considerably lower.) For many years, I have taught undergraduate courses in which students do not write traditional papers but develop analytic treatments in formats from hypertext and Web sites to films and video games. Graduate students should likewise be encouraged to produce “theses” in alternative formats.

(…)

Initially intended to protect academic freedom, tenure has resulted in institutions with little turnover and professors impervious to change. After all, once tenure has been granted, there is no leverage to encourage a professor to continue to develop professionally or to require him or her to assume responsibilities like administration and student advising. Tenure should be replaced with seven-year contracts, which, like the programs in which faculty teach, can be terminated or renewed. This policy would enable colleges and universities to reward researchers, scholars and teachers who continue to evolve and remain productive while also making room for young people with new ideas and skills.

Muito interessantes as colocações – ainda que nem todas sejam fáticas, e eu não ache algumas especialmente boas (a idéia de dividir a universidade por T’ÓPICOS ao invés de CAMPOS me parece uma receita para o desastre, por exemplo).

Mas vale ler o troço, e pensar sobre o assunto. Esta crise vai obrigar as instituições de ensino superior a se reciclarem – ou falecerem junto com o modelo financeiro de Wall-Street – do qual, pelo menos aqui nos Estados Unidos, elas de alguma forma se beneficiaram.

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