Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The University We Need By Warren Treadgold

The University We Need: 
Reforming American Higher Education

By Warren Treadgold

Though many people know that American universities now offer an inadequate and incoherent education from a leftist viewpoint that excludes moderate and conservative ideas, few people understand how much this matters, how it happened, how bad it is, or what can be done about it. In The University We Need, Professor Warren Treadgold shows the crucial role of universities in American culture and politics, the causes of their decline in administrative bloat and inept academic hiring, the effects of the decline on teaching and research, and some possible ways of reversing the downward trend.

In The University We Need, you’ll learn:

·     How conservative think tanks and journals have developed a wider range of ideas on trade, immigration, taxation, foreign policy, and other issues than leftists will tolerate on campus;
·     How black, gay and feminist studies are sacrosanct, while Shakespeare and the American Revolution are mentioned, if at all, in courses on women and slavery as examples of sexism and racism;
·     That every year many more professors with conservative or moderate views retire than are hired;
·     That campus leftists, with strong support within the Democratic Party, still insist on the prevalence of racism, sexism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia in America;
·     That American college degrees have never cost more and never meant less;
·     That colleges keep expanding their use of badly paid adjunct professors hired after only a perfunctory look at their credentials;
·     That nearly half of college students seem to be studying very little and learning very little - surely not enough to be worth anyone’s spending $100,000 or more for it;
·     About the vague but powerful ideology that dominates American campuses today - how “socialism” fails to capture much of what this ideology is about;
·     How “inclusivity” and “diversity” are favorite terms on campus, but they call for a striking amount of exclusion and uniformity;
·     How the dominant doctrine has become that oppressive groups like whites, men, and heterosexuals cannot possibly understand the oppression endured by the oppressed groups;
·     That many professors give good grades for little or no work; the majority of students will do the least work for which they think they c an get an acceptable grade;
·     How online education has failed to take the academic world by storm so far, and will probably fail to dominate it in the future, except perhaps as a low-quality substitute for low-quality courses;
·     How abolishing tenure, often suggested as a solution to the problems of universities, would probably make those problems worse; and much more...

Prof. Treadgold explains that one suggested reform, the abolition of tenure, would further increase the power of administrators, further decrease the quality of professors, and make universities even more doctrinaire and intolerant. Instead, he proposes federal legislation to monitor the quality and honesty of professors and to limit spending on administration to no more than 20 percent of university budgets (Harvard now spends 40 percent).

Finally, Prof. Treadgold offers a specific proposal for the founding of a new leading university that could seriously challenge the dominance of Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, and Berkeley and attract conservative and moderate faculty and students now isolated in universities and colleges that are either leftist or mediocre. While agreeing with conservative critics that universities are in severe crisis, Treadgold believes that the universities’ problems largely transcend ideology and have grown worse partly because disputants on both sides of the academic debate have misunderstood the methods and goals of higher education.

“The acclaimed scholar of Byzantine culture and history Warren Treadgold offers a concise dissection of the pathologies of the modern university, from administrative bloat and record student debt to political intolerance and a therapeutic curriculum. But he offers more than the usual condemnations of the politicized campus, by systematically explaining how pernicious ideas ripple throughout society, politics, culture, and the economy - and what can be done to restore the integrity of higher education. A learned diagnosis by a scholar who knows the contemporary campus agenda inside out, and how to counter it.”
--Victor Davis Hanson, the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, author of The Second World Wars

“Warren Treadgold has spent a lifetime in the academy and now gives us the book of a lifetime about how to rescue it.” --John Podhoretz, Editor, Commentary Magazine

About Warren Treadgold: National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Byzantine Studies and Professor of History at Saint Louis University, he has taught at UCLA, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Hillsdale College, and Florida International University and has held research fellowships at the University of Munich, the Free University of Berlin, All Souls College at Oxford, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. He has published ten books and many articles on Byzantine, medieval, and late ancient history and literature and published articles on higher education in Commentary, The Weekly Standard, The Wilson Quarterly, and Academic Questions.

No comments: