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University Alternative

Away from the rubber-stamp factory.
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No need to do too much review. Basically, the Bachelor's degree has become the High School diploma, and kids are going from high school to 13th grade because "they have to." More people are being turned down by prospective employers because they do not meet the "minimum education requirement" i.e. a Bachelor's Degree. By the way, I should mention that my point of view is USAian... I'm not sure what the picture looks like in other parts of the world (read: let me know if the situation is similar elsewhere, because I'm an ignorant USAian.)

Rather than pay $8k-$100k into the system to get a BA that doesn't really mean much anyway (they used to be respected, but are now so commonplace, one needs a graduate degree to matter much (and since BA's are cranked out by the bungload every year to people who haven't had to do much to earn them (btw, I love nested parentheses))), one could be part of a seperate "intellectual community."

Let's face it, Liberal Arts (hate the term) people like me don't really have a whole lot of prospects after graduation, other than more school so that we can teach, or a comfy burger-flipping job. This intellectual community would exist and be respected by employers, and *gasp* even the Ivory Tower. One could put on one's CV/resume that he/she/it is part of a thinking community, and has written these articles and so on. Employers could test the applicant based on merit rather than on supercillious degree acronyms.

Also, it could bring about reform in its own odd way, creating a dialectic between the Ivory Tower and itself, borrowing the best from both, chucking the worst from each, and perhaps breed something better and more meaningful than the current system.

meninotis, Nov 23 2001

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       You're doing a liberal arts degree, and you want to be respected by employers? Dream on! Do something practical/commercial/job-related out of classes, if you're not doing anything practical in classes. Employers only respect stuff that's useful to them, and for most employers that means useful in the short term.   

       By the way, it's pretty much the same deal in Britain, and I do sympathise (undergraduate degree in english literature and philosophy, masters in american literature, now working about as far from that as you can get), but how would this help? You can't just create something that'll be respected.
pottedstu, Nov 23 2001
  

       Also baked through new-age apprenticeships, and skillseekers, and colleges, and trade schools, police schools, etc.
[ sctld ], Nov 23 2001
  

       Although I agree with most of what PeterSealy has to say, the career path he describes doesn't really exist any more in Britain. Nowadays, most white-collar jobs are more and more keen on degrees, and relevant degrees at that. You can't be a lawyer without a degree: there's far too many law graduates with degrees for the number of legal jobs as it is. I'm less sure about accountancy; I think may still take recruits straight from school. But even things like supermarket assistant-manager are now looking for a business or marketing degree in a young applicant, although you might in some cases be able to work your way up. It does depend what work you want to do, though: it's unlikely jobs in trades or manual work will ever want a degree.   

       The problem is there are way more people with lots of education, so employers can be much, much choosier, and it's easier to rely on pieces of paper than to make individual decisions about a person's abilities and character.   

       As to PeterSealy and [ sctld ]'s examples (in-job training, apprenticeships), meninotis seems to be after something more academic, not less. I still fishboned this, though, because it's pretty much a WIBNI ("I want to be respected!" "Why?" "Because I went to University Alternative" "Oh, ok")
pottedstu, Nov 23 2001
  

       Like becoming a hacker? it is a 'intellectual community', crossbreeds with academia, will get you jobs if you don't do anything too blazingly stupid, and had (very briefly) something of Rods Tiger's suggestion. I'm sure there are other fields in which experts still come up through the hawse-hole; gardening, natural history, ??   

       It's only useful once the 'intellectual community' has proved its worth, though. If you were specific about how you could prove your worth in this system, & why it would be better for anyone than academia, I'd vote for it. Your last para "...could...perhaps breed something...more meaningful" sounds just like what one fears from stereotypical LibArts majors.
hello_c, Nov 23 2001
  

       Will the intellectual community strive for a uniform product, i.e., numbingly good looking, well-heeled, masters of parlance who are thoroughly drilled in the craft of stereotyping everyone they meet? Those characteristics should fit nicely in most proper circles, the luxury service or legal realms, and within government or academia. In short, they'd be people you'd trust out of fear. Kind of a thinking man's Al Qaeda.
reensure, Nov 24 2001
  

       Alright. Apologies for the personal note in the idea. I'll change some wording so that my horrid LibArts insecurity won't jump to the fore so quickly. (honestly, I'll be going back into the system to teach... this isn't so much an idea/WIBNI/wotever(sic) about being respected as a look at the system that I'll happily use to do what I want in life.   

       First off, about all the claims of "baked"... these examples that you're giving are all specific trade schools, which is not what I'm talking about, as [pottedstu] points out. I really don't know what a "new-age apprenticeship" is, [sctld], 'splain(sic)?   

       As for the "you're doing a liberal arts degree and want to be respected by your employers" [pottedstu], statement, I guess I was unclear. I'm not talking about an individual being respected by employers, though that's what it comes down to in the end. I'm talking about them respecting this sepArate (sorry, [Mr. DeGroof], mebbe(sic) they could teach how to type, too) entity/organization that isn't about keeping students around to drain their wallets for 4+ years, etc. I'm sure you've talked about all this before.   

       [Rods] I was thinking either rock star or drug dealer. I guess the trick is to know when to quit. Remember, "it's better to burn out than to fade away." Or something.   

       [hello_c] This is the part I'm having trouble with: how to prove this thing's worth. Its mere existence isn't going to get it done. Hell, there are plenty of intellectuals (and pedants) and great ideas here in the 1/2bakery, but if you were to go to an employer to apply for an R&D or "ThinkTank" job, and use this place as a reference, you would probably be laughed out the door. One could set up tests, portfolios, etc., but I'm not sure that's the way, which is I guess why I posted the "idea". So keep ripping, and if you can build on the idea, let me know. I'm still trying to polish it.   

       As for advantage over universities, [hello_c], I was thinking that it would be less expensive, less cookie-cutter/rubber-stamp, with people able to pursue their interests with less fluff/bullshit that comes along with a BA.   

       [reensure], I was actually thinking of something that wasn't going to produce uniformity in any way. Let one's strengths be one's strengths, and pursue the course of knowledge that fits them, as opposed to the other way 'round.
meninotis, Nov 24 2001
  

       ¯¯meninotis: I've listed "Frequent contributor to Halfbakery.com" within the context of my credentials with no ill effect…like anyone is popularized thanks to their excellent choice of page hits!!   

       Seriously, that \\ there are plenty of intellectuals (and pedants) and great ideas here in the 1/2bakery, but if you were to go to an employer to apply for an R&D or "ThinkTank" job, and use this place as a reference, you would probably be laughed out the door \\ does qualify this idea to be retitled as "ThinkTank Conferred Degrees".
reensure, Nov 24 2001
  

       I've often wondered whether the halfbakery is actually a secret government thinktank!
The inflation rate of education at all different levels is not a USA-specific problem, meninotis. But your idea is actually very similar to that which began the entire concept of formalised learning. The first European universities (such as Pisa, Uppsala, Toulouse) were places where the intelligentsia, by which I mean the social class who could afford to spend their time thinking rather than labouring (see Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs and Steel"), formalised their status by devising a system of mutual recognition. The enormous expansion in areas and modes of learning, and the realisation by a large proportion of society that some degrees are more appropriate or 'worth more' than others, means that a similarly enormous paradigm shift in delivery of formalised learning and recognition of intelligence skills is long overdue. Reacceptance of in-job training and apprenticeships could be very realistic elements of this Brave New Education.
Viennoise, Nov 26 2001
  

       In the UK the correct Humanities course from the right university can be the equivalent of a Law degree from the right universities in America. However a lot of graduates from the lesser courses seem to suffer the kind of problems [meninotis] expresses.
Aristotle, Nov 26 2001
  
      
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