Tuesday, 7 June 2011

So, how will these private universities work?

Well, according to this article, Richard Dawkins and David Cannadine's for-profit New College (£18,000 per year for an External BA from the University of London) relies at least in part on course content dreamed up 20 years ago by a 21-year-old eking out his MA grant with a little moonlighting…

Who needs experts, or contemporary scholarship. Hope Dawkins' courses aren't similarly outdated: genetics has moved on a little since then. If you really think that Dawkins will take time away from research, book-pushing and TV appearances to teach first-year frog-cutting, you're insane. Though no doubt Niall Ferguson will make the effort: he rarely gets to spout his unthinking rightwing crap to receptive audiences without being howled down, and he'll never get a more adoring crowd for his lectures on why free-market capitalism and Empire are brilliant than the spoilt toffs who'll pack his lectures.

What a horrible little institution it will be: stuffed with the mega-rich, expecting (and presumably not getting) personal attention from mega-stars. There's a long list of big names, some of which (Linda Colley!) disappoint me hugely. They have a lot to give, but these ageing lions, gradually being edged out of the pack, have decided that it's more important to make a fast buck trading on their reputations than spreading the wisdom down in the paper mines with the rest of us. 
Or not:

Every student will have a one-to-one tutorial in their main subject each week in which they will be grilled on their latest essay, though these will not be conducted by the star names, but by a professional teaching staff that is currently being recruited.

The Hegemon is about widening participation: I'd rather teach here forever than spend my time fawning over the braying privileged brats who'll flock to New College. 

One more time, with feeling: what you get out of tertiary education depends on what YOU put in. We're here to guide you, not to sprinkle you with stardust or tell you what to write. Celebrity - in academia and other walks of life - is no guarantee of quality teaching or support. 

This isn't an education: it's branding. It's the Vuitton of schooling: loud, vulgar and selfish.


Anonymous said...

I say old bean, sounds rather fun, must sign up Felicity and Algernon immediately - will it be tax deductable do you think?

The Red Witch said...

Sounds bloody awful. I don't wanted to be grilled weekly on my essays. I don't care who is doing the grilling.

The Plashing Vole said...

It will keep out the riff-raff: the middle and (ugh) working classes.

Weekly tutorials on essays is the Oxford/Cambridge model… if you're confident and disciplined, I'm sure it's a fantastic experience. If you're not, I suspect you're left to sink.

Benjamin. said...

Reading this made me want to listen to The Who's 'Baba O'Riley' #Its a teenage wasteland, They're all WASTED#

As for the University of Vainity, I would avoid that place like a nun does a nightclub.

The Red Witch said...

I am confident and disciplined, i just have my own take on things and some profs don't like you thinking for yourself. Even if you can defend your position. :-)