The future of academia

The academic system of science and research in the US is something that evolved, and is not sustainable. This blog is about the problems that plague the system, and ideas (mine and others’) for solutions.

I propose that we split teaching and research. Hire trained researchers to research, and trained teachers to teach. In our current system, professors are hired, retained and promoted on the basis of their research excellence, and by the way they also teach. They may not be given the resources or incentives to become qualified teachers. They do have incentives to reduce their teaching load by getting grants, and then who teaches their courses? Exploited and poorly paid adjuncts.

I propose we hire the adjuncts on a more permanent and less exploited basis, as some universities hire Instructors. Then we hire researchers to research. These researchers will be independent and have their own labs. Their part of the education mission of the university is to provide research opportunities to undergraduates, graduates and postdocs. They might teach a graduate-level course here and there.

There is evidence that we are moving in this direction, such as this article about teaching certificate programs offered to graduate students in science: Preparing Professors to Teach by Allie Grasgreen.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The future of academia

  1. Rachel says:

    It’s not about bicycling. Except when it is.

  2. Iain says:

    Maybe the scientists (that is, the researchers) should only co-teach classes. Trained professionals (e.g. teachers) teach the class, but the researchers are brought in to impart the research perspectives and techniques. This might be a way to deflect the problem where a good scientist is not automatically a good teacher.