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ERIC Number: ED516586
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 31
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Professors on the Production Line, Students on Their Own. Working Paper 2009-01
Bauerlein, Mark
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
In higher education in the United States, teaching and research in the fields of language and literature are in a desperate condition. Laboring on the age-old axiom "publish-or-perish," thousands of professors, lecturers, and graduate students are busy producing dissertations, books, essays, and reviews. Over the past five decades, their collective productivity has risen from 13,000 to 72,000 publications per year. But the audience for language and literature scholarship has diminished, with unit sales for books now hovering around 300. At the same time, the relations between teachers and students have declined. While 43 percent of two-year public college students and 29 percent of four-year public college students require remedial coursework, costing $2 billion annually, one national survey reports that 37 percent of first-year arts/humanities students "never" discuss course readings with teachers outside of class, and 41 percent only do so "sometimes." These trends are not unrelated. Academic engagement on the part of students is a reflection of how much teachers demand it. But with the research mandate hovering over them, teachers have no incentive to push it. If the system favors publication, not mentoring, hours in the office in conversation with sophomores are counter-productive or even damaging to career and livelihood. Universities need to reconsider the relative value placed on research and teaching in the evaluation of professors. This paper offers several recommendations, including limiting the amount of material that tenure committees will review and creating a "teacher track" in which doctoral students are trained and rewarded for generalist knowledge and multiple course facility rather than a highly-specialized expertise. A bibliography is included. (Contains 52 endnotes.)
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. 1150 Seventeenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-862-5800; Fax: 202-862-7177; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Identifiers - Location: United States
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Survey of Student Engagement