So here is a great quote from “higher education expert” Simon Marginson:
These decisions will weaken the long-term relationship between the Labor Party and the universities, which have been pro-Labor since Whitlam.
Well it was Whitlam who said only the impotent are pure. So it has been with the Australian University sector – as Stephen Matchett explains:
The university sector now has a stark choice – it can accept the fact that it will always be given what government decides it can have or it can get serious about politics.
Slap bang in the middle of rattling the begging bowl for more money, the Gillard government has stripped out about $2.3 billion.
Mind you – universities need to get serious about the real world too. In particular it will need to give some thought to this debate.
With academic journals under increasing attack from several quarters, Mr Zicklin has upset some colleagues in urging schools to cut tuition fees by making faculty members focus more on teaching and less on publishing research in journals. He points to research that uses the University of Texas at Austin as a case study and says that fees could be halved if 80 per cent of faculty with the lowest teaching loads were to teach only half as much as the 20 per cent with the highest teaching loads.
Read the whole thing at the Financial Times.
There is something of a reply at Core Economics.
You cannot get promoted anywhere as a basket case in the classroom. Indeed, nearly every academic I know is quite good to very exceptional in the classroom. It is also the cases that I know where we looked at exactly this we found that our best scholars were our best teachers. So this idea that there are ‘teachers’ and there are ‘researchers’ is just nonsense. The best scholars are on average exceptional at communicating. Mr. Zicklin’s problem is that he is basing his viewpoint on myth and exceptions and not evidence. However, in the end, if your best scholars are you best teachers the institution must make a decision as to the allocation of their time. Unfortunately, good scholars are rare and institutions cannot replace them as easily as they could to one trick teaching ponies.
Read the whole thing too – many of the other comments and the tone of the reply might grate, however.
The point is remains: Universities need to get serious about their relationship with government. They need to get serious about what they do and how they do it. Government funding is itself a bubble.