Walter E. Williams

Colleges are in business. Students are a cost. Research is a profit center. When colleges boast about having this professor who has won a science award or that professor who has won the Nobel Prize, very often an undergraduate student will never be taught by that professor. It is a "bait and switch" tactic and very often your youngster will take classes not taught by a professor but taught in large classes by a graduate student. Faculty who bring in large grants are more highly valued than faculty who teach well. Teaching excellence is so often undervalued that the late Ernest Boyer, vice president for Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, quipped that, "Winning the campus teaching award is the kiss of death when it comes to tenure."

Parents and taxpayers cough up billions upon billions of dollars to the nation's colleges and universities. Colleges make money whether students learn or not, whether they graduate or not, and whether they get a good job after graduating or not. Colleges and universities engage in "bait and switch," confer fraudulent degrees and engage in other practices that would bring legal sanctions if done by any other business. There is little or no oversight of the nation's over 4,000 colleges and universities that enroll over 17 million students. There are some colleges, such as Grove City College and Hillsdale College, that do a fine job of undergraduate education. Useful information about what colleges are doing what can be found in the Delaware-based Intercollegiate Studies Institute's "Choosing the Right College".


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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