Democracy

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by vitanola, Jul 12, 2017.

  1. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

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    @Harp, hi! With all due respect, our colleges/universities aren't nearly as well regarded internationally as they are domestically. Sure, which college, and which department can make some difference, but it doesn't seem to me to be as much of a difference as many people want to believe, especially in Europe. Luckily for me, the Japanese are in awe of pretty much everything U.S. and European (it's a kind of inferiority complex thing).
    Economics? Heck no, I'm not 'that' smart. I started out studying Japanese, ended up in cultural anthropology. Now I'm semi-retired and dabble very slightly in history.
     
  2. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    We will have to disagree. I didn't notice any Japanese awe or inferiority complex at the Kyokushinkai dojo in Tokyo.;)
    They have this game called Beat up the American. 'Course, that doesn't always happen.:D
    I envy you your time in Nippon.:)
     
  3. Angus Forbes

    Angus Forbes One of the Regulars

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    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Well, I dunno . . . according to the latest Times (London) rankings, 15 of the top 20 universities in the world are American.

    https://www.timeshighereducation.co...gth/25/sort_by/rank/sort_order/asc/cols/stats
     
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  4. EngProf

    EngProf A-List Customer

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    In engineering there are two other subsets of "professor" ranks. One non-tenure subset is "Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor of the Practice, _________ Engineering. These are people who have had extensive "real-world" experience and are hired to teach courses that have significant professional/practical content, as opposed to more theoretical content. Academics tends to be a second career for these. (I'm one of those...)

    There are also three grades of "Research Professor", who do what their name implies - research on paid outside contracts, with little or no teaching.
     
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  5. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

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    @Angus, yeah, 'international rankings'. Hmm...
    IIRC, the Times are making up the ranking based on student/teacher ratios, funding, the number of researchers, the number of international faculty members, and many other variables.
    IMHO, the only metric that matters is the quality of teaching, but that's way too difficult for representatives from the Times to actually go out into the world and audit in person, so they resort to making up rankings based on data they can gather from the internet and stuff. Pinch of salt I'm afraid.

    @Harp, ahh, you see, your problem there was that you were playing their game, hence you will be treated with scorn if you win, and like a fan of Japan if you lose.
    FWIW, as a foreigner, I always say 'Nihon', and leave 'Nippon' to the foaming-at-the-mouth right wingers driving round in their black sound trucks.
     
  6. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Interesting system - that's significantly different than the UK. It's gettoing harder and harder over here to hget the equivalent of tenure, though for those of us who do make it there's never the saem axe hanging over us (though there are, of course, regular performance reviews, and there has been the difficulty of over-emhpasis on research at the expense of teaching). All too many early career academics now on the equivalent of zero hours contract strugling to make it. I think I had it hard compared to some earlier generations, but compared to how it is for new entrants now...

    The better UK universiti4es certainly do well - it's been reported this week that for the first time both the top two universities in the world rankings are now in the UK - though the US does have some very strong places too in my field. It's hard to diredctly compare a lot with the US in law, though, what with law not being available there as an undergraduate discipline and it very much being one in the UK - I think that affects the field, and recruitment, significantly.

    I'm an academic lawyer. Which is to say that I teach and research commercial media law (among others) as an academic disicpline (so my field would include a lot of IP, contempt of court, defamation.... all the stuff I've chimed in on here in various threads in the past).
     
  7. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    All the rnaking systems arecertainly difficult - not least because once you create a metric, the tendency can be for the sector to work to the metrics rather than the metrics being a true measurement of the sector....
     
  8. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

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    @Edward, thanks for that! I kind of had this unreliable memory that you were a lawyer, but then I was doubting myself and thinking that maybe it was Superfluous. I think you might both be lawyers now, but I'm not certain.

    Also, yes! Your comment above nails it; rankings based on easy to measure metrics encourage attempts by the universities to up their performance in terms of those metrics, and risks creating a meaningless feedback loop divorced from reality (or so a cynic would say).

    Oxford University is a excellent university indeed, but the world's best? Gee, I don't know. I think 'Worlds most prestigious, Harry Potteresque' would be more accurate.
     
  9. Angus Forbes

    Angus Forbes One of the Regulars

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    Rankings: my point being that degrees from the aforementioned 15 US universities could hardly be considered "internationally worthless" in any worthwhile analysis. Undoubtedly, of course, the UK has many excellent universities, perhaps more per-capita than the US, and perhaps indeed the top few in the world. I think that the top 100 schools (many of which are in the US) are more or less about on par with each other. I remember Jacques Barzun (iirc) saying that Oxford was no better than Michigan, just odder. Both are excellent.
     
  10. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    The "professors of practice" I think are seen across all of the more "applied" sciences. And i think I've seen research professors at large institutions in every science discipline...
     
  11. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    I see you have never been inside the Tokyo Kyokushin dojo.:p
     
  12. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    The university I did my undergrad at made the list in the top 20. My husband is a 3rd generation legacy graduate of it.

    While I'd be proud if my kid went there (4th generation on my husband's side and all that), I'd never encourage it. I struggled for personal attention. I got a very good education, and a name I can drop. That admittedly opens doors.

    Honestly I think the quality of education for undergraduates is just as good at any other institution I've been at. In fact, the smaller institutions I've been at had two major advantages over my large institution shiny undergraduate degree: the professors actually want to teach undergrads and there is large investment in undergraduate learning. At my prestigious institution professors would walk in and announce how they hated teaching, but goddammit, the university made them do it. I got a lot out of that experience, but I knew what I was getting into AND I chose it for myself (which is different than encouraging a child to go someplace.)

    I'd highly suggest my kids look at a small liberal arts institution, particularly since they'll get free tutition at a number of them thanks to my job. Because 1. money and 2. quality.
     
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  13. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom One Too Many

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    My daughter is a senior at a small liberal arts college with sky-high-academics, small classes, and personalized attention.
    Costs almost the same as an Ivy (thank goodness for scholarships!), but nobody outside of academic circles has ever heard of it (meaning, it probably won't open any doors.)
    Then again, the little munchkin absolutely loves it and is as snug as a bug in a rug.
     
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  14. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Just read the current happenings at Boise State and the demands to fire a professor for his scholarship. This is very very scary stuff and in this climate we will not see any scholarship outside the accepted norm. A chill wind indeed.
     
  15. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    The more enlightened-whatever political partisanship-understand the inherent contradiction. Intolerance devoid of reason is the unfortunate result of faculty vapidity.
     
  16. vitanola

    vitanola I'll Lock Up

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    "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices or depress wages"
     
  17. 3fingers

    3fingers One Too Many

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    ^^^
    Here is the other half. It somewhat changes the point.

    "It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary."
     
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  18. 3fingers

    3fingers One Too Many

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    And this from C.S. Lewis.

    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies, The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
     
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  19. Ticklishchap

    Ticklishchap One Too Many

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    One of the problems we face with British democracy (although there are parallels in other western countries) is reduction of political choice. Although there are some divergences between our three main parties on economic policy, reactions to Brexit, etc., all three are now equally committed to the values and cultural attitudes - reinforced by legislation and sometimes overt or subtle censorship - that can be broadly defined as ‘Political Correctness’.

    There are good philosophical grounds for opposing the PC world view and there are powerful arguments against PC that are humane, compassionate and civilised. When these arguments are not heard and voters cannot effect political change in important areas of political and cultural life, there is danger of reactionary and uncompassinate ‘counter-PC’ forms of politics gaining traction.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019

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