From the Greek meaning 'heavy with wine'
A blog devoted to science and reason
Written after a glass or two of Pinot Noir.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The New University of California Will Have No Faculty

California Assemblyman Scott Will of Santa Clarita introduced AB 1306, a bill that would create the New University of California.  What's new about this institution?  No faculty.

That's right, no professors to teach the students.  The bill states 
The New University of California shall provide no instruction, but shall issue college credit and baccalaureate and associate degrees to any person capable of passing examinations.

Students will just gain the knowledge and skills on their own and then pay the New University to take the final exam and receive academic credit. 

Students - just think.  No homework, no papers, no labs, no group projects, no tests except for the final, no all-nighters, no falling asleep in class, no professors droning on, no problems finding open seats in classes,…

CREDIT: The University of California Los Angeles
Who writes and proctors the exams if there're no professors?  The New University will buy them from "qualified entities" who will also give the exams.

Who would drive over a bridge designed and built by civil engineers alumni of the New University? If this idea is so wonderful, why restrict it to associate and baccalaureate degrees?  Who wouldn't see a physician who earned their M.D. from a medical school at the New University? 

Assemblyman Wilk to his credit does realize that even if there's no faculty, the New University does require eleven trustees and a chancellor.  This chancellor will be "authorized to employ and fix the salaries of, employees to assist him or her in carrying out the functions of the university."  How many administrators does it take to run a university that has no campus, no faculty, and no buildings?  Probably more than we can imagine.

The problem of access to higher education has a simpler solution that the ones proposed by Wilk and Darrell Steinberg.*  Invest in the existing systems: the Universities of California, the California State Universities, and the California Community Colleges.

* Steinberg introduced AB 520 that will require the state's colleges and universities to accept credits earned in Massive Open Online Courses. 

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