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This is a weird bit of business now that the role of the university is changing. More students are showing up treating it like any other business transaction—they pay for a service ("education" in the form of course credits and grades) and a commodity (a degree which makes them more valuable to employers). The general undergraduate culture is less interested in any expansive idea of learning than in being told exactly which page(s) they need to quote to get an A on their paper. And god help you if you don't post your PowerPoint slides online.

Schools are more and more like factories, and the governments that fund them either grant or withhold that money based on the "value-added" products (i.e. people) we churn out for the labour market.

Unfortunately, this model breaks down when it comes to a lot of arts degrees—especially political theory. Yes, we teach "critical thinking and research/writing skills," but mostly we're there to teach students to question what power is, how it works, what makes it legitimate, and whether or not the social status quo makes any goddamn sense. Depending on where you're sitting, you'll either be relieved or alarmed to know that most students don't bother thinking too hard about the big questions of social justice.

As you can imagine, governments don't like this nebulous "thinking" shit very much, so the axe tends to come down on us hard and fast whenever they want to save money. And since the modern university is less a utopian space of free thought and intellectual exploration than it is an assembly line for fleecing money from young adults, they are often only too happy to follow suit. Just ask the fine folks at York and the U of T...

Undergrads Today Are the Worst: A TA's Confession | VICE | Canada

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