HOW PROFESSORS PLAY THE CAT GUARDING THE CREAM: Why We're Paying More and Getting Less in Higher Education by Richard M. Huber

HOW PROFESSORS PLAY THE CAT GUARDING THE CREAM: Why We're Paying More and Getting Less in Higher Education

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Parents of college students are already in financial pain from the spiraling costs of tuition. They'll flinch further after reading this telling critique of why undergraduates aren't getting their educational money's worth. Writing with grace and good humor, Huber (a former administrator at Hunter College) begins, as good educators often do, by posing the right questions. Why are the costs of higher education outstripping inflation by two to one? Why is a student at a community college more likely to be taught by a professor with a doctorate than is a student at a prestigious university, who probably has to settle for a teaching assistant? Who's in charge here? The multiple-choice answer most likely to be correct: The faculty. Here is no malicious villain, but groups caught in a game whose rules have fossilized. The faculty sets the curriculum. The faculty determines who receives tenure. Hired as teachers, professors are evaluated and rewarded on their output of research, not their teaching skills, Popular teachers are suspect, just as popular art is judged less worthy. Administrators, boards of trustees, government bureaucracy, and, yes, parents in search of elite schools to upgrade their own social status are guilty as well. In addition to providing a clear discussion of the several pros and cons of multicultural programs, Huber offers seven thoughtful recommendations--common sense, really--to return universities to their teaching ideals. Are his ideas likely to be realized? Not without the whip of outside forces. Earlier, it was the prod of national security; in this decade, perhaps it will be the global marketplace. A witty and erudite read, only slightly marred by repetition, that measures sacrosanct academia against the decade's new high standards of quality and productivity.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1992
Page count: 207pp
Publisher: George Mason Univ. Press