Journal: College True Costs versus True Ignorance

04 Education

Seth Godin Home

Pushing back on mediocre professors

College costs a fortune. It takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of money.

When a professor assigns you to send a blogger a list of vague and inane interview questions (“1. How did you get started in this field? 2. What type of training (education) does this field require? 3. What do you like best about your job? 4. what do you like least about your job?”) I think you have an obligation to say, “Sir, I’m going to be in debt for ten years because of this degree. Perhaps you could give us an assignment that actually pushes us to solve interesting problems, overcome our fear or learn something that I could learn in no other way…”

When a professor spends hours in class going over concepts that are clearly covered in the textbook, I think you have an obligation to repeat the part about the debt and say, “perhaps you could assign this as homework and we could have an actual conversation in class…”

When you discover that one class after another has so many people in a giant room watching a tenured professor far far in the distance, perhaps you could mention the debt part to the dean and ask if the class could be on video so you could spend your money on interactions that actually changed your life.

The vast majority of email I get from college students is filled with disgust, disdain and frustration at how backwards the system is. Professors who neither read nor write blogs or current books in their field. Professors who rely on marketing textbooks that are advertising-based, despite the fact that virtually no professional marketers build their careers solely around advertising any longer. And most of all, about professors who treat new ideas or innovative ways of teaching with contempt.

“This is costing me a fortune, prof! Push us! Push yourself!”

Phi Beta Iota: Virtually everything we have been “sold” as essential (e.g. university credentialing, sub-zero fridges) comes with time-energy costs that are not known to the public.  Now, increasingly, the true cost versus true worth of alternative time-energy expenditures (e.g. two years spent traveling around the world versus four years listening to tenured professors pretend to teach), is “visible.”  2012 could be the year of great convergence-emergence in which all of the pent-up possibilities of the Information Era begin to visibly drown all of the drawn-out losers of the Industrial Era.