This letter (published in the Wilmington Star-News) is by physics professor Moorad Alexanian, who has been a thorn in the side of the UNC-Wilmington administration for complaining that the university’s budget cuts avoid all the sacred cows:
The genesis of the problem in our universities is the “democratization” of education and the easy availability of student loans, “Affordable education,” November 7. The nation is thus saddled with a trillion dollars in student loan debt ready to follow the housing bubble.
The floodgates have been opened wide to campus admission with faculty responding by adding courses and programs that do not prepare students in the important basic areas, especially, in the hard sciences and mathematics. Accordingly, students do not seek truly academic knowledge and skills but are just satisfied with a diploma, which is used by potential employees as a selection tool.
Administrators cater to such business model irrespective of how soft academic programs expand exponentially with the more solid academic curricula not being supported and even eliminated. Students are thus shackled with bogus degrees that lead nowhere. The state subsidizes students and so the increase in the number of students results in higher tuition costs for all.
Education reform models, like outcome-based education, exacerbate academic problems and lead to mediocrity, a model that resembles a sausage factory with good quality control. Lip service abounds for teaching excellence but none for learning excellence. The failure of K-12 education is finally creeping and crippling our entire university system. Too bad.