Mark Edmundson’s Essays Ask, ‘Why Teach?’ - NYTimes.com: "According to “Why Teach?,” inspiration is in short supply these days on campus. In the book’s first section, Mr. Edmundson describes the growth since the mid-1990s of a more commercial, profit-oriented university culture. Like many other contemporary commentators, he sees a confluence of forces in higher education leading to greater conformity and consumerism at the expense of inquiry, inspiration and challenge. Mr. Edmundson’s critique is both personal and idealistic, drawing on his deep belief in the democratic mission of liberal education and on his practical experience as a teacher. He knows the studies showing that students spend less time than ever on their classwork, and he writes of an implicit pact between undergraduates and professors in which teachers give high grades and thin assignments, and students reward them with positive evaluations. After all, given all the other amenities available through the university, the idea that “the courses you take should be the primary objective of going to college is tacitly considered absurd.”"
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