Phi Beta Cons

Scholars, You Don’t Need the University!

That is the message in today’s Pope Center article by Scott Rank, an historian who has 11 books to his name, but no university position. He argues that scholars can profit from their knowledge in the free market and provides some telling examples.

In the past, perhaps, the university was a necessary middleman between scholars and students who wanted to learn from them, but that is no longer the case, Rank contends. Scholars shouldn’t give up if they can’t find an academic position, or merely an adjunct professorship. It’s possible to connect with people who are willing to pay for your expertise.

This isn’t just good news for scholars, of course. It’s equally good news for students, who can learn from a highly motivated teacher and not have to buy the whole bundle of courses and extraneous stuff that colleges sell. Remember what Adam Smith said about the difference between professors who were paid directly by students and those who were paid by the university.

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

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