Thursday, May 14, 2009

Still stuck on the 'B' Ark

At the university where I work, we have a few good science programs, and a well-respected engineering college.

In the past few years, we have seen significant increases in enrollment. I attribute that to:

a) the fact that there are fewer good jobs out there


b) while the typical 18-year-old is lazy and ignorant, they are not stupid. Consequently, they are flocking to the analytical fields (where the jobs are), including mathematics and science education.

However, our student services people are convinced that it is because of the advertisements, 'student appreciation days', and the like, not the teaching that we do.

Accordingly, they recently brought in management experts to help us in recruitment and retention efforts.

And where did these experts come from, to help out academia? The Disney corporation!

I must really work for a Mickey Mouse operation.


Wolfie said...

I think that most of them have figured out that the MBA path is leading nowhere now. The next generation of graduates will need to be able to do something more useful than juggle debt.

Joseph Oppenheim said...

Sorry, but Disney, is a state of the art high tech company, with its end products being entertainment related.

I am personally impressed with their Imagineering division, which each year has a contest for college students, with monetary rewards and internships, especially targeted to engineering students. Heck, they recently bought Pixar from APPL which is all about digital technology, which just happens to be the best in what they do...

"The Imagineering organization encompasses more than 140 diverse disciplines, including writers, model-makers, computer animators, artists, engineers, sculptors, filmmakers, scientists, programmers, special effects designers, architects, master planning, creative development, production, and Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development."


Paddington said...

Joseph - the problem for me is that universities are the only organizations that (for now) are looking further than the next quarter. Long-range research has been dead in industry since the early 1970's. The emphasis on 'students as customers' is worse than the the middle-class American idea of 'children in charge of the house'.

Joseph Oppenheim said...

Long-range research has been dead in industry since the early 1970's.<<<<

Sure, long range thinking has been under attack, but it still exists. Think pharmaceuticals, biotech, Silicon Valley, and even Disney. That's why they look to students, investing in them, both for future hires and for new ideas which will take time to develop.

Plus, that is one advantage of this financial mess, an opportunity to restructure economies, especially in America. Think climate change, alternative energy, restructuring healthcare, giving students tuition help in exchange for future service, investing in education, etc. So far, our new administration does seem to be trying to turn the corner. Not an easy job, but "A" for effort, so far.

Paddington said...

I agree about the possibilities, and hope for the best. Unfortunately, we still have administrations that push psychology and education degrees, because they don't understand science and technology.

As for pharmaceuticals, I read that something like 13 of the top 15 companies haven't actually produced a 'new' drug in 25 years. They have re-formulated old ones.