The Decline of College

tags: higher education



Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His new book, The Savior Generals, is just out from Bloomsbury Books.

For the last 70 years, American higher education was assumed to be the pathway to upward mobility and a rich shared-learning experience. Young Americans for four years took a common core of classes, learned to look at the world dispassionately, and gained the concrete knowledge to make informed arguments logically....

The four-year campus experience is simply vanishing. At the California State University system, the largest university complex in the world, well under 20 percent of students graduate in four years despite massive student aid. Fewer than half graduate in six years.

Administrators used to come from among the top faculty, who rotated a few years from teaching and scholarship to do the unenviable nuts-and-bolts work of running the university. Now, administrators rarely, if ever, teach. Instead, they became part of a high-paid, careerist professional caste — one that has grown exponentially. In the CSU system, their numbers have exploded in recent years — a 221 percent increase from 1975 to 2008. There are now more administrators in that system than full-time faculty....




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