North Texas Daily

Author speaks on higher education reforms

Author speaks on higher education reforms

February 25
01:10 2011

By Corrisa Jackson / Staff Writer –

Kelli Barr and Alex Mosiak worry about what they consider to be a lack of public investment in higher education.

Mark Taylor, the chairman of the Department of Religion at Columbia University, will speak about their concerns and more at today’s public talk titled “Restructuring Education,” at 5:30 p.m. in Environmental Science Building 110.

Taylor said that Robert Frodeman of the philosophy and religion faculty, the director of the UNT Center for the Study of Interdisciplinarity, asked Taylor to come to UNT after reading his book, “Crisis on Campus: A Bold Plan for Reforming Our Colleges and Universities.”

“Too often, instructors teach what they want to teach and not what students need to be taught,” Taylor said.

The talk will focus on what Taylor said are needed reforms in higher education, because he said it is financially unsustainable.

“It’s unlikely that financial aid will be able to keep pace,” Taylor said.

In June 2010, student debt surpassed credit card debt, he said.

Taylor said a problem with higher education is a decreased emphasis on teaching.

One of his ideas for reforming higher education is abolishing tenure.

“I think one of the biggest hurdles is tenure,” he said. “Higher education needs to be flexible, adaptable, not fixed.”

Mosiak and Barr, philosophy doctoral and graduate students respectively, will attend the talk.

Mosiak said he is interested hearing a conversation on academics instead of the usual politics.

Barr said she hopes Taylor’s talk will turn into a discussion.

“I feel it’s important to be talking about why we need to reform,” she said.

Keith Wayne Brown, the program manager for CSID, said students should attend “Restructuring Education” because Taylor speaks as a public intellectual, not a Republican or Democrat.

“I think students are just not aware that the system is broken, and he has a good grasp on the issues,” he said.

Brown said he wants students and faculty to learn something from the program.

“I hope that faculty and staff will take away a renewed commitment to better education,” he said. “I hope students will take away a new commitment to the breadth of education.”

The way knowledge is created and transmitted changing radically, Taylor said, and students should care about what is being done when it comes to their education.

“Their future is on the line,” he said. “And the future of their children.”

Restructuring Education

When: Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011 @5:30 p.m.

Where: Environmental Science Building 110

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