There is this article on the changes within the American system of higher education that many people like and quote. I suggest you read it because it makes some very interesting and convincing arguments.
I, however, hated it. The main reason is that right after first reading the article I alighted on the following excerpt from an American newspaper in the 1920s:
I surrounded the relevant words in red for you. Professors are men, got it?
Of course, this magical university that the author of the OP bemoans is not that of the 1920s but of the 1950s and 1960s. However, as a recent immigrant with the name that sounds like ‘Tanya Kolbaskova”, I could only strive for a position of a cleaning lady at that amazing, super-inclusive, ultra-intellectual university of the 1950s. I couldn’t even aspire to be a secretary at that university because of my accent.
The blogger I quoted speaks of “a slow and ruinous trend” that has destroyed the American system of higher education. I would have to practice an extreme degree of oblivion not to recognize that, for all its disadvantages, this trend has brought me a possibility to practice a career where I can engage my intellect and not be discriminated against. I look around at the faculty meeting and see that over half of my colleagues are female. And now we have finally started seeing faces that are not white at that table. I’m sorry, but this matters to me. I’m not ready to immolate myself at the altar of some middle-class WASP who isn’t capable of listing these hugely positive advances alongside the negative developments because for him or her people like my female, immigrant and non-white colleagues are too insignificant even to be mentioned.
As this blogger says in an earlier post:
In the 1970s, more than 70% of all college professors were hired as full-time, tenure-track faculty. As you might expect, they were given private offices in which to do their work and meet with their students and colleagues. They had office staff to assist them in their daily activities.
Of course, the gender breakdown between those full-time professors and the assisting office staff is never mentioned. I think we can all make a pretty good guess at what it was, though. Seriously, all that is missing from this quote is to say that after teaching his one lecture a day, every professor had money and leisure to go get his shoes shined by a servile black person who knew his place in the world and didn’t get above his station too much, after which the fortunate tenured intellectual could proceed to his home where a perky housewife would gladden his heart with her Saran-wrapped body parts.
Continue reading “Has the American University Changed for the Worse?” →