Phi Beta Cons

The Problem with ‘Competency’

Writing elsewhere on NRO, Peter Augustine Lawler, a professor at Berry College, has quite a bit to say about the trend toward “competencies.” He thinks that requiring measurable  “competencies” instead of intellectual content is weakening the universities and creating uniformity rather than the much-talked-about diversity.  He is, in fact, rather stinging when he writes:

The imposition of increasingly detailed and otherwise intrusive competency-based uniformity is an administrative project enforced by the accrediting associations (backed up by foundations and government bureaucrats). Accrediting associations reflect the class consciousness of administrators as such. That class consciousness is increasingly defined against the faculty or the fecklessness of faculty governance and as the real intellectual labor of the institution.

And one college begins to look just like another.

Jane S. ShawJane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...


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