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Thread: Future of colleges and universities

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Future of colleges and universities

    Post-secondary has not changed its formula too much over a few centuries. If you can afford or borrow enough to attend, you get a degree. Changes have been unfolding for some time with Open University, Coursera and others. The pandemic has expanded the role of the virtual university beyond belief. What will happen to the bricks and mortar, expensive facilities etc?

    This article https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...CMP=GTUK_email made me think about the future for the upcoming generations and their access to education.
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

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    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    I'm ok with some colleges going under. I briefly was on a board of alumni for my college, and was exposed to a number of practices I found distasteful/wasteful. Every department had a figure head, with an assistant who really did the work, and the assistant to the assistant who did the clerical function. Colleges and universities have raised tuition 2 and 3 times the rate of inflation since I was paying attention to this when I graduated. And they have gotten away with that because a college education was seen as the one and only path to success. I would love to see more support ala Mike Rowe for vocational education or something like the German model where an apprenticeship is held in high esteem also. I'd love to see more 2 year colleges and trade colleges being an esteemed path, and not the path for the "dumb kids who can't do college".

    There are so many more options now if someone wants to pick up knowledge. The lagging part of this ecosystem is HR departments, who still look for "credentials" so if there is a bad hire, it won't be their fault. As a manager, I had to really fight to hire some folks into my open positions who didn't have the traditional education or degrees, but could clearly do the job at hand.

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    Senior Member Yppej's Avatar
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    I found the book Excellent Sheep instructive in showing that post-secondary education often serves more of a social class than a learning purpose.

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    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    Many people in the trades make more money than people with college degrees. Many people enjoy the challenge in that type of work and it definitely takes skills and intelligence. Germany definitely has the right idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by herbgeek View Post
    I would love to see...something like the German model where an apprenticeship is held in high esteem.
    Some towns already have that because a big local employer can never find enough good new employees.

    It works like this: The employer provides machines, instructional material, and an instructor for free. The school provides a classroom for free and gives students who take the employer's class academic credit just like you used to get for taking "shop" or ROTC. The students who take the employer's class learn how to do woodworking, or metal working, or electronics work, or whatever it is the employer does, and if they pass the class with a certain grade they're guaranteed a summer job when they graduate from high school. It's nothing but a flatout apprenticeship program but the school and students both benefit at no cost and the employer gets a potential pool of student's who might have never thought about going to work there if they weren't offered the incentive of an "easy" class credit to fill out their graduation requirement.

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    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeParker View Post
    Some towns already have that because a big local employer can never find enough good new employees.

    It works like this: The employer provides machines, instructional material, and an instructor for free. The school provides a classroom for free and gives students who take the employer's class academic credit just like you used to get for taking "shop" or ROTC. The students who take the employer's class learn how to do woodworking, or metal working, or electronics work, or whatever it is the employer does, and if they pass the class with a certain grade they're guaranteed a summer job when they graduate from high school. It's nothing but a flatout apprenticeship program but the school and students both benefit at no cost and the employer gets a potential pool of student's who might have never thought about going to work there if they weren't offered the incentive of an "easy" class credit to fill out their graduation requirement.
    General Electric partnered with the Lynn Vocational Technical School (where I was taking my night-time carpentry classes) to help turn out qualified machinists for their large plant in Lynn, MA. Lynn is not a particularly wealthy community, so this pathway to stable, decent paying jobs is definitely a good thing for Lynn.

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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    Many people in the trades make more money than people with college degrees. Many people enjoy the challenge in that type of work and it definitely takes skills and intelligence. Germany definitely has the right idea.
    I had a classmate that accumulated several degrees. He went to work in the trades--pipefitter?--because he said there was more money and far less stress than a white-collar job would have had.

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    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    My second husband had a bachelor and master’s in math. He hated working in a office. My dad got him a tool and dye apprenticeship and he loved it. He made great money and overtime on weekends. He spent his career doing that and if he got laid off he could find a new job in less than a week. When I got my second master’s we took my best offer because he could get a job anywhere. He worked with others that also had degrees.

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    When you hear complaints about the “skills gap”, it’s never about a shortage of English majors. I agree that we place too much social weight on what degrees you have and where you got them.

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    Probably the majority of time you hear complaints of a skills gap, it's just some employer not wanting to pay market wages (so let's import some people who will work below that in indentured servitude). They'll talk about skills gap even while people with that skill can't get work. I'm not saying in theory a skills gap can't exist for a few highly specialized skills, it's just not always what is going on. (note: if you are training your replacements, it's not a skill shortage )

    I wonder how many females would really be comfortable going into some heavily male blue collar trade, because it's more macho and rougher than say being an engineer (male dominated, but white collar). But yes if they will pay you to learn it and apprentice (and this does exist in some trades), it is probably indeed in demand. Other trades like much construction, you will just be competing with a bunch of illegal immigrants and how promising is that really - they aren't exactly making bank off it, though their employers may be.
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