Mark C. Taylor is the chair of the department of religion at Columbia University. Obviously, this is a man who has spent years teaching and who has had plenty of experience with the college education environment. Considering this, it makes it even more interesting that he has written a new book called Crisis on Campus: A Bold Plan for Reforming Our Colleges and Universities.
In his book, Taylor argues that the higher education system in the U.S. does not prepare students for success in the real world. He also claims that is is “headed for a financial meltdown.”
“If we project from where we are today, within ten years, the cost of four years at a top-tier school will be $350,000,” said Taylor. “Parents used to pay for their kids’ education by taking out a second mortgage, but of course that option has blown up.”
If the cost of an education does increase this drastically, we can be sure that the average student will graduate with even more debt. Today, the average student graduates with $23,000 in debt; imagine how much debt he/she will graduate with in 10 years.
Taylor also claims that we are using an out-dated system of teaching. He thinks that the world is a more interconnected world, but college departments are becoming more isolated and specialized.
“We have institutions made of walls, in a world of webs,” Taylor said. “We’re training people (who are being taught arcane expertise and) for whom there are no jobs.”
Taylor has some advice for how colleges can improve the level of education they offer to students.
1. Shake up academic departments. Taylor recommends diversifying each student’s education. This would help students become more innovative and creative.
2. Encourage colleges to partner with one another. By doing this, students could attend one school for a specific class and another school for another. This would be beneficial for the students because they could pick and choose which classes worked best for them or would be best for their education.
3. Kill tenure. Some professors just really should not be teaching any more. Unfortunately, tenure allows them to keep their jobs without doing as good of a job as students deserve them to do. By removing tenure, teachers would have to work hard to keep their jobs, therefore giving students more dedication and attention.
4. Focus on teaching. Just because someone has written a thesis about a subject does not qualify him/her to be a professor. Teachers should focus on teaching and spend much of their time actually teaching students. This would create more personalized involvement for students.
Check out Taylor’s new book, available on Amazon.com today!