Academic Malaise: Bring Back the Groves of Academe
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“Happiness is not the absence of problems but the ability to deal with them”—French judge and political philosopher Charles-Louis de Montesquieu (1689–1755), famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers.
There is a malaise creeping into the American tertiary education system. Shared governance of academe is slowly becoming a dinosaur. Tuition costs are increasing at triple the general inflation rate. Tenure-track faculty are systematically replaced by term teachers. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are mushrooming. Universities in the United States are no longer the envy of the world. Those interconnected vagaries will be raised in turn, but first the genesis. Let there be light!
The modern autonomous university traces its roots to the University of Bologna (1088), University of Paris (1150), University of Oxford (1167), and University of Modena (1175). Those followed the sixth century Christian cathedral schools and the Islamic Al-Azhar...