Thursday, January 17, 2013

Value of Teaching vs. Research at the University Level

UC Riverside philosophy prof Eric Schwitzgebel points critically to the California governor's recent statement that professors need to teach more, and research less.

It's hard to be critical of students and their financially beleaguered parents for wanting value for their tuition dollars, and most of the immediate value to the students comes from teaching. But Jerry Brown clearly understands that research is a major function of universities. Unless he's in the dark (which he may be), he also understands that the expansion of university administrators is the major driver increases in the cost of education, not a decreasing teaching:research ratio. (There are now more senior administrators than faculty in the UC system.) So he's either grand-standing for voters who don't understand the importance of research, or he's signalling the very large power bloc of university administrators that with him in office, they're safe.

Universities are major drivers of innovation and therefore of their local economies. They create wealth both by creating competent professionals and by advancing research. It would be very interesting to see some average value-per-time number for both teaching and research. It will very likely be different for professors in various departments.

No comments: