Phi Beta Cons

More Credential Inflation

One of the scams done in the name of education is for universities to push needless credentials just to keep students enrolled longer.
This article in the current Chronicle Review (subscriber site) gets at this point. The question is whether artists need to have a Ph.D. The author, Daniel Grant, sees that the pressure “indicates what is wrong in academe, which is that it elevates credentials over everything else.”
Grant is mainly focused on the difference between a Master of Fine Arts and a Ph.D. “Earning an MFA means spending another year or so in the studio, developing a body of work that, ideally, prepares students to enter the art market.” But “pushing artists toward doctoral programs fundamentally changes their focus and goals. The Ph.D. says to the university, ‘I am committing myself to academe’ whereas the MFA primarily reflects a commitment to developing one’s skills as an artist.”
Grant goes on to observe that we see this mania for credentials in the performing arts as well, writing, “A friend of mine, a pianist who studied at the Juilliard School, Oberlin College, and the New England Conservatory, needed to obtain a Ph.D. in music to get a job as an adjunct teaching students at the University of Vermont how to play the piano.”
Most universities are non-profit entities, but that doesn’t mean that they’re any less interested in maximizing revenues than are for-profit schools.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

Most Popular

White House

The Problem Isn’t Just the GOP, Mr. Comey

During a CNN town hall on Wednesday night, James Comey alleged that the Republican party allows President Trump to get away with making inappropriate statements without holding him accountable. “If the Republicans, if they just close their eyes and imagine Barack Obama waking up in the morning saying someone ... Read More
Law & the Courts

‘Judges for the #Resistance’

At Politico, I wrote today about the judiciary’s activism against Trump on immigration: There is a lawlessness rampant in the land, but it isn’t emanating from the Trump administration. The source is the federal judges who are making a mockery of their profession by twisting the law to block the Trump ... Read More
White House

Trump’s Friendships Are America’s Asset

The stale, clichéd conceptions of Donald Trump held by both Left and Right — a man either utterly useless or only rigidly, transactionally tolerable — conceal the fact that the president does possess redeeming talents that are uniquely his, and deserve praise on their own merit. One is personal friendliness ... Read More

Columbia 1968: Another Untold Story

Fifty years ago this week, Columbia students riding the combined wave of the civil-rights and anti-war movements went on strike, occupied buildings across campus, and shut the university down. As you revisit that episode of the larger drama that was the annus horribilis 1968, bear in mind that the past isn’t ... Read More

Only the Strident Survive

‘I am not prone to anxiety,” historian Niall Ferguson wrote in the Times of London on April 22. “Last week, however, for the first time since I went through the emotional trauma of divorce, I experienced an uncontrollable panic attack.” The cause? “A few intemperate emails, inadvertently forwarded ... Read More