WASHINGTON, March 17, 2018: One of America’s greatest ongoing fiscal and intellectual tragedies is the increasing uselessness of many college degree programs. In response, Thomas Lifson addresses the crucial socio-political issue of useless college degrees in his excellent article in The American Thinker.
Headlined “Academics reeling as market discipline comes to the University of Wisconsin,” Lifson’s piece highlights the seemingly draconian yet admirable action recently announced by the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point.
Spiraling tuition rates and useless college degrees
In addition to bloated university administrations, a key reason why today’s college tuition and fees continue to spiral out of control is the proliferation of useless college degrees, departments and majors. Bogus “academic disciplines” prepare gullible college students for absolutely nothing at all in the real world. The consequences are severe.
Students possessing college degrees in these dodgy disciplines will be lucky to land a job bagging groceries at their local food emporium. As a result, the minimum wage jobs these graduates land make it impossible to ever pay off the substantial college loan debt they’ve incurred.
Meanwhile, useless departments and the tenured professors who run them continue to be an enormous cost drag on university budgets. Maintaining such comfortable pastures for the academically deranged forces tuition and fees to rise dramatically. Unfortunately, there’s no benefit whatsoever to professors and students involved in more practical majors whose degree programs can and do lead to gainful employment after graduation.
It seems that the real reason useless college department majors and degree programs exist is to provide a living for card-carrying leftists to gain rank and tenure for propagandizing – rather than teaching – the hapless students under their supervision. Employers regard the college degrees these students “earn” as essentially worthless.
Taxpayer abuse funds “hate America” propaganda mills. Why do we allow this?
Why should American taxpayers subsidize the advanced college degrees and careers of fake academics and fake disciplines that offer a less-than-zero return on this costly investment in failure?
Lifson sums up this problem in his opening paragraph. Furthermore, he describes the first sensible solution to the problem we’ve seen thus far:
“If you are sick and tired of professors indoctrinating students in politicized classes that teach nothing of any use in real life, and hate the idea that tenure immunizes them from accountability, the next decade or so is going to provide some relief. The reckoning is coming, as shocked professors at a University of Wisconsin campus just discovered. The higher education bubble that Professor Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has forecast to burst has just popped in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
“It turns out that you can’t earn a living teaching subjects that students aren’t that interested in. Even if you have tenure.”
What’s University of Wisconsin – Stephens Point doing about the problem?
Lifson next cites the story that inspired his article.
“Colleen Flaherty writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
“‘…the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point announced its plan to cut 13 majors – including those in anchor humanities departments such as English and history and all three of the foreign languages offered – and, with them, faculty jobs. Tenured professors may well lose their positions.
“‘The plan is part of the campus’s Point Forward initiative to stabilize enrollment by investing scarce resources into programs Stevens Point sees as distinctive and in demand. Those include business, chemical engineering, computer information systems, conservation law enforcement, fire science and graphic design.’”
Lifson explains exactly why this is happening at Stevens Point. Happily, his observation is much like the one this writer has been promoting for at least three decades. As a result, both of us agree. It’s time for state legislators to get rid of useless departments and the bogus professors who populate them.
“This is only possible because the GOP majority in the Wisconsin State Legislature passed and Governor Scott Walker signed a bill rolling back Wisconsin’s ultra-strong tenure protection in state-funded higher education, and the subsequent ‘rewriting of related Board of Regents policies on tenure and program discontinuance.’ As a result, if a department is closed, the tenured professors in it lose their jobs… Tenure does not protect professors when their department is folded up, usually due to poor enrollments.
(Italics by this writer.)
Federal subsidies = bloated departments, bloated tuition and fees
It seems especially relevant that the Federal government, too, is to blame for the concurrent high tuition/useless degree program proliferation in America’s academia today. Generous Federal tuition and loan assistance has led to bloated faculties and a spiraling number of new “departments” teaching coursework and handing out bogus college degrees based more on Marxist indoctrination and other fringe fads than on real world skills and useful knowledge.
According to Lifson, such factors
“… enabled many disciplines not anchored in the hard sciences to drift off into political correctness territory, teaching subjects like homoerotic imagery in Shakespeare and other obsessive concerns of the left. As result, enrollment in politicized humanities and social sciences departments has fallen, as students motivated by jobs have focused on more utilitarian courses.”
So how, exactly, is the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point addressing this costly intellectual, social and political dilemma? Our next article will discuss the hows, whys and wherefores: hopefully a harbinger of what is yet to come.
Next: Down to the specifics. What’s U.Wis. – Stevens Point cutting and why? And what does this tell us about academic and government corruption?