Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Great Scam of the modern University Education

Here is a great video clip on 20/20 that aired the other night. Follow the link and go to the January 16th clip called "College: Worth the Price of Admission?" Any of us who have been to college, only to find out how little they had to offer us, can relate to this.


Sakievich said...

I like John Stossel, but I think he's over emphasizing some of his points and using bad examples to make them. You’ll notice he didn’t cite the students’ GPAs or have any kind of statement as to what kind of students they were. I wasn’t impressed with the rotund dimwits that he presented.

I think the focus of the video should have been to have a clearer idea as to what it is you want to do and educate yourself as to what it is you want to do, before you pick a route for an education. And then go and get the right sort of education or experience. Or as I read between the lines there, 40% of high school students are too stupid to go to college, because they lack the acumen to study, learn and pass tests. We live in a time of entitlement and everyone expects success based on certification and sprinklings of hope, as opposed to grit and wit. We live in a society that expects to be hand fed success, regardless of the realities around them.

As far as getting educated at BYU in the illustration program, as we both were, it was a great illustration program. You would be hard pressed to find an equal education at a private university for the price we paid to be there. There's no promise of success there and despite the teachers' efforts to get students to focus, work hard, and develop a portfolio, many of the students simply did not take advantage of their opportunities there. The teachers also know that depending on the student’s career goals, not everything can be learned there. A solid foundation in illustration concepts and skills can be laid. All education must be self-education and the students who recognize their own responsibility can take advantage of the insular time at a school, where their primary activity and responsibility is to educate themselves. There are experienced people to talk to and learn from, there are models to work from and time to work there. Recognizing that any system, regardless of whether it’s accredited or not, is not going to be perfect for any given student. It’s simply up to the individual student to know what he/she wants and then to exploit the opportunities to achieve that. Only one on one systems can tailor to the individual and even then there will be holes in the education depending on the difference between the student’s objectives and experience and the teacher’s. There is no magic pill, no secret key of knowledge. I’ve met people who spent a long time looking for it and have either given up on it or swear by shallow systems.

I've talked to a student who after graduation lamented that there were no digital painting courses at BYU's illustration program...when we have one of the most respected educators of Painter/pShop teaching there. He simply didn't look around and take that class. I’ve watched his work slowly regress into less thoughtful and less innovative work while becoming more prideful about it as he gets further from the school that benefited him so much. I’ve heard others complain that they really didn't get to learn about painting in the illustration program...well of course they didn''s an illustration program, which has separate purposes than the study of painting. You won't find an academic 19th century style art program at any university, though you may occasionally find pieces. And that presumes that the end of the 19th century had the last best say on art education, even though at it’s height, there were still a lot of arguments as to what was important for a student to know. Looking at the discussions between the classicists and the naturalists is a great reference point for these debates. They saw a vast gulf between themselves, while now we look at them as largely being the same, when they’re not.

I also received a lot out of my non-major course, with a few exceptions. I think an artist has to know more than his craft, and moderate to intensive courses in the general education program are beneficial to an artist’s intellectual development.

I guess one could self educate oneself in between the two 11.50 an hour jobs, that Stossel mentioned, if you have the drive. But it wouldn’t be efficient and you would lack access to people who are experts in those fields. I know a great number of people that have benefited greatly from their university educations and maybe they would have been successful without it, but college formed a great nexus for learning and networking.

The fact is, that if you or I would like to see any kind of change in the university system or in the education of the arts, we have to be that change. Nobody is going to do it for you or me, except us. The only way to engage in that change is to get the proper degree and then jump in the system making the tedious adjustments gradually until the system is changed. This can only happen on a large scale if there are enough people of the right qualities. This can also happen on a private level at private non-accredited institution. The popular nature and expanding number of schools speaks to the interest in so called traditional art education. Even though, as far as I’ve studied, the contemporary traditional atelier differs greatly from the 19th century one in many important respects, which I think has to do with the inability of the teachers to look beyond the exercise to the purpose. But the move is an exciting and positive one. There is much that can be expanded and the opportunities are there for those willing to try.

Jesse Needham said...

I cant believe this broadcast suggests that a college education is not worth attaining, how anti-humanist, and strikingly ignorant. for those that are passionate about public service and truth this is the best institution the world has to provide.

the whimpering fools on the video misused the academy and attempted to spoil its name; kicked aside their responsabilities and pointed the finger at the university for not making sure the graduates were handed a fat pay-check after graduation. here is common and disappointing view, that a higher education is simply a step-by-step time investment that promises great (personal) material gains at the end. it's no wonder why these graduated are disappointed, they entered the academy for all the wrong reasons. one has to wonder why they devoted their time to liberal studies, and most importantly; did they learn anything at all??