After 35 years in academia, Anderson (Senior Fellow/Hoover Institution) gives a cri de coeur about what's gone so dreadfully wrong with the American university: Academic intellectuals, he says, have ``betrayed their profession'' and, within the halls of academe, ``integrity is dead.'' Strong charges, but Anderson does nothing if not back them up with facts, figures, and plenty of common-sense observation. Part of the problem is simply in quality-control: Between 1960 and 1975, the number of those attending college ``almost tripled, an increase of some 8 million students,'' and in the rapid hiring of faculty to teach these hoards of new students, ``there has been a slow but significant decline in the average quality of academic intellectuals.'' Add to this what Anderson calls ``hubris'' (the ``unchecked intellectual arrogance'' that leads academics to believe themselves above the rules that govern other people); and add to that the transformation of universities from what were ``rather small, quiet, dignified institutions of rarefied scholarly pursuits and the teaching of a select few'' into huge and ``sophisticated megabusiness machines''—and the stage is set for deterioration and trouble. Like bound apprentices of medieval times, graduate students ``teach'' (Anderson calls it ``children teaching children'') so that professors can produce still more research for their own institutional gain—most of it ``inconsequential and trifling''—while real education lags. Academics, says Anderson, ``begin by lying to others, and end up lying to themselves.'' Empty research, padded budgets, poor teaching, tenure-protected faculty who claim academic impartiality but in fact judge politically, corporate-style image management— all of this, overseen by boards of trustees who know little about education, makes for ``a recipe for disaster, a witch's brew of incompetence, timidity, and neglect.'' There may be bones to pick here, but few will be unimpressed by a veteran insider's faithful-oppositionist view of the intellectual shambles our universities seem to have become.
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