How goes the Factory

Kelley, John

How Goes The Factory by John Kelley In their advertisements, a major manufacturer of computers and office machines employs the slogan "Machines should work. People should think." Borrowing it...

...Let us not waste their time "teaching" undergraduates, who, after all, in the technocracy of the future, run by the intellectual elite (sec works by Daniel Bell, H. Wentworth Eldredge, and John Kenneth Galbraith, etc...
...candidates appear in them...
...Yes, it is time this ghastly, inefficient institution of American society, general higher education, take unto itself Frederick Taylor's scientific management...
...One of this minority recently aired his views in the Student Evaluation of Faculty...
...will be mere underlings...
...Many universities employ them today, but not on such a sufficiently grand scale...
...And they call this teaching...
...But I. U. does its best to eliminate this dissension in the ranks via the "publish or perish" syndrome...
...Borrowing it for a moment, I suggest this phrase fits the problem of the university student confronted by the automatons loosely referred to as "teachers...
...where are your values...
...As there will be only graduate students left on campus, great savings will accrue to the university by shutting down all undergraduate athletic programs, closing excess dorms, and sending home most of the now unnecessary hangers-on, otherwise known as administrators...
...America...
...Clearly American higher education is at least fifty years behind other American institutions such as RCA, IBM, AT&T and LB J. How sad it is we have learned to produce color televisions, appliances, and automobiles by the millions, yet we still can not turn out a bumper crop of intellectuals and factory managers...
...All the lecturer can do is to separate Graduates from Undergraduates in reading assignments and exams and aim his lecture at the seniors and beginning M.A.'s...
...Some conservative educator today should do the same...
...The mind boggles at the efficiency such a changeover will introduce to the factory- As most professors merely repeat themselves in a style reminiscent of a broken record, from year to year, once their lectures are taped they may be dismissed (although receiving royalties and/or residuals) to pursue more important tasks until it is time to revise course content say every twenty years or so...
...As long as this country remains committed to the principle of higher education for "all who may profit by it" (read: "all who can read and write"), an efficiency problem will plague us...
...Returning to the slogan, the average professor in the College of Arts and Sciences can be, and should be, replaced by a machine This damn factory or diploma mill if you like is too costly...
...In 1902 V. I. Lenin wrote a lengthy pamphlet, "What is to be done...
...Must we sacrifice quantity for quality...
...I feel very strongly that the 300-400 courses in history are too heterogeneous...
...Remember, Britain has only so many brains to drain...
...Yes folks, the public university, that great bastion of the capitalist world (so we are told by the left) operates with about all the efficiency of Hero's 1st Century B. C. steam engine...
...While it may be asking too much of a democracy to accept the notion that college should be for the minority, perhaps we can offer some alternative which can at least guarantee the same educational quality accepted today, with a great savings...
...The situation is worsening...
...By cutting the professors' teaching hours, and the natural enrollment growth, many 300-400 level courses have enrollment in excess of three-hundred...
...All right, you do not like the coldness and question the accuracy of the term "automaton" will "android" do...
...This can be accomplished through taping lectures of former university professors (including canned laughter at the appropriate places) and placing them in a central library-vault-computerbroadcast complex located at the heart of the new "think tank...
...The question remains: "What is to be done...
...At present, faculty members are required to teach six hours, three of which are usually at the introductory level...
...Earlier I suggested teachers be replaced by machines hardly a revolutionary idea...
...At regional campuses, students may opt to attend public viewings of these tapes accompanied by graduate student-led discussions, or, he may choose merely to study the tapes via the library-vault-computer-broadcast complex...
...Indeed, it is not unlikely that in the future we shall be typed at birth according to mental and physical perfection, a la Huxley's Brave New World...
...This is not to suggest that there are no professors who buck the system...
...Everyone from sophomores to Ph.D...
...At least that way we can maintain appearances...
...When a professor, entering at the ring of a bell, stares mechanically at his notes for the entire period, then exits stage left with neither a nod to the students nor a concern for possible questions, then can the students assume otherwise than they are dealing with a cold hunk of metal...
...Some 300-level courses enroll freshmen...
...Yet even that minority which consistently approaches both their disciplines and students with equal interest and ability faces an impossible task...
...It neither serves with efficiency nor with candor the interest of the taxpayer, the CIA, the scholarly world, or lastly, and most certainly the least, from all outward signs, the undergraduate...
...A solution abolish the university as an undergraduate center, leaving professors to write repetitive monographs and to teach graduate students the art of perpetuating the system...

Vol. 2 • September 1968 • No. 1


 
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