Thursday, July 23, 2009

Money-saver for straitened states

While California was flailing around trying to come up with a budget, cuts in the higher-education funding got a lot of attention, with predictable screams. You wanna hear anguish, talk to a bunch of professors about derailing their gravy train. We are so hellbent on seeing every kid go to college that it never occurs to us to question the value of college education. I remember reading somewhere that we had on hand an 8,000-year supply of anthropologists at current rates of employment. Now obviously we can't stockpile anthropologists against future need, but we could close down a bunch of anthropology departments and save some money and not harm anything but the employment rate for anthropology profs.
Another over-funded field is journalism. Every college around seems to feel obliged to offer courses, but anybody knows that the employment prospects are grim. Education blogger Joanne Jacobs makes some points:
Many of my former San Jose Mercury News colleagues are teaching journalism courses; one is a j-school dean. I’ve wondered: What do you tell students about their job prospects? The reality is: Dim and dimmer.
Blacksmithing is a better bet.

Read all of Jacobs's piece here. It's several posts down by now. Jacobs also leads us to a Huffpo post along the same lines:
If I asked you to pay $70,000 to get ahead in some other glamorous, extremely competitive, fairly non-technical profession — say, modeling — you might call me a charlatan. But journalism has become ensconced as an academic discipline at otherwise respectable institutions. Journalism is connected to a social mission. These are good things for J-school deans. Now that the industry is headed off a cliff — leaving them in charge of vocational schools without a vocation — all they have left is the school's imprimatur, the social mission, and — oh yeah — the glamour that keeps students coming through the door.

You can read the rest of that here.
and then there's an article by Lauren Streib in Forbes:
The Pew Research Center estimates 5,000 newspaper jobs were lost in 2008. Since 2001, more than 10,000 newspaper journalists have lost work, leaving the total count of those still employed at 47,000 nationwide. It's getting worse, fast. Erica Smith, who runs the online layoff tracker Paper Cuts, counts nearly 7,500 newsroom jobs lost so far this year.

And you can read all of that here.
The Vicad mgmt announced a little while back that they were underwriting a professor at UH-V in – get this – print journalism and some kind of ethnic studies. Have you ever heard of any jobs in __________ studies? I suppose there are a few every year for people to teach more __________ studies at some other school. And print journalism … well, the Advocate laid off and cut pay just a couple months ago. Wonder how people feel about having their pay cut and then learning that the paper was giving money to ostensibly educate more print journalists? Tsk, tsk, seems profoundly goofy to me.


Sugar Magnolia said...

Seems unethical, too; the very thing they deem important enough to "underwrite".

Once, about a year or so ago, I proclaimed on the VicAd discussion forums that higher education is a privelege, not a right. I was soundly trounced for such "blasphemy". Noooo, others pronounced, MY child has a RIGHT to use the government's (read - my) money to go to college so that they can major in kinesiology, journalism, and archaeology and party and MAYBE earn their degree in 6 or 7 years. And if they don't why, it's society's fault - we failed them after holding their hand and spoon-feeding them until they are 27 years of age.

No thanks! I worked every year I was in school, and paid my way in FULL, and never used a grant or a loan. I think that if a lot of these kids did something similar, they would truly appreciate the value of EARNING an education.


VicAd would wisely avoid any appearance of impropriety; I am sure that many people are aware that Cobler's wife works at UH-V, too. Conflict of interest?

Nah. I'm sure they teach PLENTY of ethics in high school and college these days.

Yeah. Right.

Kari said...

In 1965 the University of Texas let me start working on a Master of Creative Writing in English. Do you think I have grounds for a lawsuit?

The Loon said...

Kari – Time has run out on your cause of action. Sorry. Creative writing is another oversupplied line of work. There are more people who want to write than there are who want to read.