Tuesday, July 07, 2009

future of research

"The income-producing research activity will follow the trend of moving into nondepartmental locations — institutes, centers, and programs — that can be closed with less fuss if the income dries up."--MARC BOUSQUET, Associate professor at Santa Clara University, and author of How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation (New York University Press, 2008)

From: "FORUM: The Faculty of the Future: Leaner, Meaner, More Innovative, Less Secure," Chronicle of Higher Education.

Tim Carmody, whom I admire and whose blog, Facebook updates and now tweeting I follow, has a statement here too, part of which reads:

The curriculum, especially in the humanities, valorizes thoughtful curation and recirculation of material rather than comprehension or originality. The traditional unidirectional model of knowledge transmission (best represented by the now-deprecated "lecture") has been effectively discredited, although it persists through habit, inertia, and whispered doubts about the efficacy and rigidity of the new model. Many professors periodically pause to lecture, but only apologetically, or when distanced by ironic quotation marks. / The 'teens are as widely remembered for technical innovation and radical dissemination of knowledge as the '20s are for job loss, technological retrenchment, and economic concentration. In 2019, when Google used its capital to snap up the course-management giant Blackboard and the Ebsco, LexisNexis, and Ovid databases, it effectively became the universal front end for research and teaching in the academy.

Anyone who has read this blog knows how much I would (and do) disagree with Tim's use of the lecture (his valorization of it and pre-nostaligia for it) in this scenario. His error is to tie inextricably the "traditional unidirectional model of knowledge transmission" (which he implicitly commends) to the techno-corporate consolidation of profit-making information providers.

Now, as for "originality" in this context: oh, don't get me started. For another time. I promise.

(For more from me on the lecture, click on "end of the lecture" just below.)