Thursday, April 23, 2020

Covid-19 as an agent of disruption

In 2011, a survey conducted by TIAA-CREF Institute senior researcher Paul J. Yakoboski estimated that 73% of professors with senior tenure ranged between the ages of 60 and 66 and that the remaining 27% were above the age of 66.   -Wikipedia

I stumbled into this topic by accident.

Belladonna is trying to get into a program and the mandatory, prerequisites for transfer-students are not being offered. The reason given "We don't have the staff to teach them."

Bella is pursuing having those prerequisites waived or replaced with similar classes. She is pursuing it "with-in channels" and I will not pollute her chances by commenting any further on her specific issues.

But it does raise the point that Covid-19, especially if it hangs on through the better part of a year or it revisits the population in recurring waves, will have a purgative effect on the University education system.

Cynic say that Universities exist to create a very limited number of tenured professors and all other functions are ancillary to that goal. Educating students? An unfortunate necessity to claw money from the public weal. Research? A gateway to limit the number of wannabes trying to claw their way to the plateau.

Once tenured, life is easy and lucrative. Unfortunately, the path is long and many decades are spent reaching the top. That means that tenured professors may be the "oldest" profession in terms of age of its members.

Unfortunately, college students tend to be stupid about communicable diseases, asymptomatic AND the death-rates more than double with every 10 years of age.

That makes being a +65 year old professor teaching swarms of college students in meat-space something like swimming in a piranha tank. It is not surprising that many of them are either retiring or taking "a leave" while events sort themselves out.

Covid-19 is one more challenge to the University system as executed in the past. The University system is demonstrating fragility and we need parallel paths for credentialing...ones that don't put students $50k in debt and don't rely so heavily on people older than sixty to function.


  1. $50K? try $250K... The university system is a scam, period. Very few of those 'professors' you mention actually teach classes, many are taught by their 'grad students' who fill in for them.

  2. The education is not worth putting up with the indoctrination.

  3. Maybe a bland observation that lack of prerequisite classes means a lack of new students resulting in a lack of enrollment and a lack of need for a bunch of instructors...

    If you don't teach them now you are likely to run out of students to teach at all.

  4. It's also the age of adjunct professors and instructors - these are the educators who actually give the lectures and the labs. They have no tenure, no tenure track, and they pay and hours are miserable. They are the tutorial janitors of higher education and treated the same. It's due, IMHO to the commercialization of the education model and its over-administration. They've forgotten their mission and turned into a weird kind of summer camp / theme park abomination: day care for transitioning adolescent adults.


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