Almost everyday I open my email and see one report or another which
reports that employers are complaining that in certain fields they are
having problems sourcing, locating and hiring the right talent. The I
turn around and see articles about where, like in Florida at the present
time, where they are talking about cutting funding for the colleges and
universities. Their first reaction is that they are going to have to in
turn cut the research dollars.
I totally understand the impact
that university based R&D has on society as a whole. However I would
contend that these projects do nothing for resolving the talent
shortage problems. They are great for the university image but the
average student is not helped by them in a real way- finding a job and
getting a paycheck.
We need to stop and listen to the voice of
the customer–the business world–as to what they need to succeed in
today’s global workplace. We need to change the university system to be
based on not what you can innovate or write but rather we need to move
the concentration of the institutions to professors who are there
because they want to teach. They are there because they want to be
resources for the next generation of workers.
This concept was
tried once before and the institution was crucified by the establishment
universities and the politically based regional accreditation
organizations. We are in a world of change but these organizations are
stuck in a back to the future mode which says very little about their
meeting the needs of the community. A new method or better way is
suggested and like everyone else they hate change or the idea of it.This
“new” concept was referred to as the Parsons Plan and it attracted some
of the best educators in the country who saw the benefits of teaching not researching or writing.
Parsons Plan recognized the unique contributions these individuals
brought to the table and based their compensation on what they taught
and how their students demonstrated the mastery needed to enter the
workforce. It did not base the tenure of the professor on how much they wrote or how much time they spent in the lab.
I am all for standards of quality to ensure that we are turning
out new talent who will become tomorrows leaders.Just make the standards
stand for something that benefits all rather then a select few.