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

Politics & Policy

The Origins of Progressive Agony

What has transformed the Democratic party into an anguished progressive movement that incorporates the tactics of the street, embraces maenadism, reverts to Sixties carnival barking, and is radicalized by a new young socialist movement? Even party chairman Tom Perez concedes that there are “no moderate ... Read More
Elections

How Will the Senate Races Break?

How will the Senate races break? We have less public polling to go on than in recent years, so answering that question is harder than ever. But the news is more optimistic for Republicans than it was a month ago.   Waves and Breakers Four years ago, I projected in mid September that if “historical ... Read More
U.S.

The Media Fell for Elizabeth Warren’s Spin

Do you want to know what media bias looks like? Earlier today, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren released DNA test results that confirmed that she misled employers, students, and the public about her Native American heritage for years. Bizarrely, all too many members of the media treated the results as ... Read More
U.S.

Native Americans React to Warren’s DNA Test

Many in the Native American community reacted angrily Monday after Senator Elizabeth Warren released the results of a DNA test showing that she has a distant Native American ancestor. Warren has long said she is part Native American, prompting mockery from Republicans and President Trump, who nicknamed her ... Read More