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I'll throw my two cents, pence, pfennigs or whatever in here. Overall, the primary purpose of professors at universities is research. Teaching is one of the obligations of a professor to bring that knowledge full circle and raise more professors...or so the university hopes. In any event, you find that professors who are required to teach lower level undergraduate courses may not necessarily have the general knowledge associated with such a course. If you take the same professor for an upper level undergraduate course you find they have much more knowledge of the subject matter because chances are it is closer to their field of research. Of course at the masters and doctoral levels the professors are the content experts.

Now in many cases, the lower level undergraduate courses my be instructed under a TA...a graduate student, fulfilling their obligations without a very good background in the subject as they are, as yet, not professors. They are only a few years older than you...on the average...and their world experience is usually not more advanced than yours.

As a student, general education requirements are the nature of the beast. I know I hated every moment of general studies. The goal, of course, is to make you a well rounded individual...and we cannot forget that tuition revenue bonus for the university. I say just suck it up. It gets better at the upper level. Smile knowing you know something your professor doesn't. Those little victories get fewer as you progress.
 

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FrothyChimp said:
I'll throw my two cents, pence, pfennigs or whatever in here. Overall, the primary purpose of professors at universities is research. Teaching is one of the obligations of a professor to bring that knowledge full circle and raise more professors...or so the university hopes. In any event, you find that professors who are required to teach lower level undergraduate courses may not necessarily have the general knowledge associated with such a course. If you take the same professor for an upper level undergraduate course you find they have much more knowledge of the subject matter because chances are it is closer to their field of research. Of course at the masters and doctoral levels the professors are the content experts.

Now in many cases, the lower level undergraduate courses my be instructed under a TA...a graduate student, fulfilling their obligations without a very good background in the subject as they are, as yet, not professors.

As a student, general education requirements are the nature of the beast. I know I hated every moment of general studies. The goal, of course, is to make you a well rounded individual...and we cannot forget that tuition revenue bonus for the university. I say [highlight]just suck it up[/highlight]. It gets better at the upper level. Smile knowing you know something your professor doesn't. Those little victories get fewer as you progress.

I agree with everything you've said here except the "just suck it up" part. I have been disappointed in the way that customer service has gone down the tubes in all forms of business (education included), and it's the "just suck it up" mentality that allows this to continue. Becoming educated is immensely expensive and I believe that the educational institutions owe their students services equal to this monetary value. No improvement in the quality of the education that is being received will result from just sucking it up, and for the money people need to see an improvement. I've never been able to understand what makes an educational institution any less of a business than Edward Jones for example. They are businesses just the same, only they seem to feel that they owe the individual student (the customer) nothing for their sizable investment. They prefer to place the blame for a bad education on the students rather than the school, which may be true in some cases, but for the most part I believe it's the other way around. There just isn't any accountability these days for delivering a lousy product or service upon receipt of payment, and that's not going to change a bit if everyone just sits there. In life, if you let people walk all over you they will just continue to do so in more and more blatant ways until you finally put your foot down and say "enough"! I think that we all need to do a little more to stem this disturbing trend..
 
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Well let me retort. Universities are not about students...they never have been. Tuition and fees cover the oxygen and floorspace a student occupies. The business of the university is grant money and sports (if it is large enough). The income generated from these two endeavors is more money than the tuition students pay. Universities are run like a business. Students just don't realize the business is not about them. That's the hard facts. Suck it up means you've got better things to do with your time than to fight a system that will not change for you. It's a matter of economic utility.
 
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FrothyChimp said:
Well let me retort. Universities are not about students...they never have been. [highlight]Tuition and fees cover the oxygen and floorspace a student occupies[/highlight]. The business of the university is grant money and sports (if it is large enough). The income generated from these two endeavors is more money than the tuition students pay. Universities are run like a business. Students just don't realize the business is not about them. That's the hard facts. Suck it up means you've got better things to do with your time than to fight a system that will not change for you. It's a matter of economic utility.

That's some expensive oxygen and floorspace, then.. I at one point entered into a legal dispute with the university that I was attending over this very thing. I felt that the roughly $60,000 spent on my education up to that point obligated them to provide me with the very best services they could muster, and they disagreed. Rather than actually fight it out in court, however, they decided it would be best to settle outside the legal system. I got my education for half that cost. Ever since, I've always wondered why. Was it just to avoid a headache, or were they concerned that I may have had some valid points? We'll never know, but I don't necessarily believe that the system can't be made to change. It all depends on the resolve of the people involved. At the very least you might raise a few of the right eyebrows..

The fact that sports are among a universities' top priorities is just one more example of how skewed priorities are today. I understand that sports are an important part of today's society, but what's really more important to society, sports or the education provided to the students? Just because these priorities are "just the way it is" doesn't change the fact that they are ridiculous. Also, they could spend some of the sports/grant money on making sure their teachers and professors are competent.

And for the record, I don't have anything better to do with my time than fight for my financial security, especially since it is crucial to my ability to successfully conduct my life and raise my family. You can bet that if an entity feels like trying to mess with my finances in any way that I deem inappropriate (including bad service or a skewed idea of services rendered), then I'll be the first to fight them no matter if they are the corner store, the government, a school or a religious entity. The bottom line is it's my money and I intend to see to it that I am receiving maximum value for my $$. This has never been more important than in an economic climate like we see today.
 
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Look I'm not defending the university policies. I'm just stating the facts about what they are about. By getting your education at half the cost you validated the university's position that almost all the students are willing to pay $60,000 for what was legally settled as a $30,000 education. If that's not market economics in action I don't know what is. The market will bear $60,000 for an education. Yes, very expensive floorspace but people are willing to pay it. There's more to it than just that because there are two sides to funding. Public funding of universities for students and grant funding for research. How floorspace is accounted for students along with federal funds determines tuition. They never take into consideration those other sources of income because grant money can only be used for the research for which it was received. Sports money tends to prop up the infrastructure of the university.

I see university as a place, a venue to learn. It's a place to put your books. It provides some direction toward an end. What the professors teach could just as easily be learned in books widely available outside of the universities. In fact the study hours far outweigh the time spent in front of a professor or TA. An argument could be made that they are superfluous based on the hours of interaction. The end of course is that diploma. They are all the same. I've never been asked by any employer what my GPA was in college. They just wanted me to have the degree and frankly they never even verified that.

So in the end, the value of universities boil down to the individual. As with most things you get out of it what you put into it. If you worked hard and studied, learned all you could learn then you are a better person for it and in theory should make out better in the long run due to the knowledge and the motivation. The others will fall by the wayside having wasted whatever they paid.
 
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FrothyChimp said:
Look I'm not defending the university policies. I'm just stating the facts about what they are about. By getting your education at half the cost you validated the university's position that almost all the students are willing to pay $60,000 for what was legally settled as a $30,000 education. If that's not market economics in action I don't know what is. The market will bear $60,000 for an education. Yes, very expensive floorspace but people are willing to pay it. There's more to it than just that because there are two sides to funding. Public funding of universities for students and grant funding for research. How floorspace is accounted for students along with federal funds determines tuition. They never take into consideration those other sources of income because grant money can only be used for the research for which it was received. Sports money tends to prop up the infrastructure of the university.

I see university as a place, a venue to learn. It's a place to put your books. It provides some direction toward an end. What the professors teach could just as easily be learned in books widely available outside of the universities. [highlight]In fact the study hours far outweigh the time spent in front of a professor or TA. An argument could be made that they are superfluous based on the hours of interaction. The end of course is that diploma. They are all the same. I've never been asked by any employer what my GPA was in college. They just wanted me to have the degree and frankly they never even verified that.[/highlight]

So in the end, the value of universities boil down to the individual. As with most things you get out of it what you put into it. If you worked hard and studied, learned all you could learn then you are a better person for it and in theory should make out better in the long run due to the knowledge and the motivation. The others will fall by the wayside having wasted whatever they paid.
Excellent points. All of this is definitely true, especially the highlighted portion. It really is all about obtaining the necessary proof that you know what you're talking about. That's what you are paying for as the student.

My big problem is summed up in my last post: There's just no accountability for wasting peoples money anymore short of the individual bringing the accountability to the institution in question (which would be considered fighting for personal financial security). In past times, it was considered common-sense by most (but certainly not all) businessmen that good customer service leads to an increased customer base which leads to more profit in the long run. Today that mindset has been replaced by one that states that once you are an established business, no amount of customer-screwing will ever cost you enough customers to really dent the amount of profit the company sees. While it is unfortunately valid, I hate this concept as it is based in greed. I'm sure we all know that the number one cause of the global financial crisis we are in now is greed. My (and everyone's) question is: Given the evidence before us today, how much money and jobs must be lost before we learn that change must occur within the very foundation of business as we know it. Conditions will not improve until we do. I have simply applied this idea to learning institutions as well as conventional businesses.
 

bmw328aw

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We got some really wise folks in here! Im glad to hear these things as I'm half way through my first year in college and I'm looking at what to expect. I just found it frustrating to sit in a class and hear so many false things being taught and people just sitting there as if they were the truth. But, I know the truth and I know when to turn a blind eye. If you ask me, this teacher isn't worth proving anything over. But its good to know what you guys make of it.

To be really honest, I was tempted to take apart a dvd drive right in front of her and show her the actual diode lol. There were and still are many instances where information is assumed by the professor to be right where she is in fact wrong. Especially when it comes to the newer software, especially Office 2k7 which is the core component of the course (sadly).
 




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