I still remember my first day, and my first semester, yes, I enjoyed going to classes that I was enrolled in, and also the occasional classes in which I was not. Learning was fun and it still is, and I solely believe that the access to education should be a basic human right, not some way for colleges and universities to make millions while putting students into major debt before they're even out of school.
But one particular professor still comes to mind from first year: my first year bio prof. Now he wasn't a bad prof, he taught (or read to be accurate) the slides of each lecture day in and day out. Now he got the job done, he got all the information across, but I thought university was the time for engaging lectures and intellectual development. For the most part it was, but I saw many of my fellow first years start to hate this class and stop going altogether, only to do very poorly and having to take it again the next semester. I remember thinking that I could do a better job and I didn't even have a degree! This is also one of the reasons I also aspire to teach at the university level.
Over the years, I saw a trend. A trend that may be evident to most students as well. If the prof is relatively new, the subject is taught with passion and interest, while the senior profs tend to lead very monotonous straight from the text lectures. Now, why this happens may be different, but I belive for the most part, this has to do with tenure. What is tenure? A prof can acquire a tenure position at a university with a history of continuous teaching for a certain number of years. What this means is that the tenured prof is pretty much guaranteed to have secured a position at that university for the rest of time. The new prof is trying to get tenure, so is trying very hard and trying to really engage students, while the tenured senior prof just doesn't care, cause they can't be fired (unless they do something that justifies that).
In my opinion, we need to get rid of this tenure position. It makes two big problems. First, the tenured prof no longer has motivation for teaching 'outside the box' and really engage young minds, and second, senior tenured profs remain well past their retirement ages and refuse to step down and allow new profs to begin their careers. I believe we need to change this tenure position, perhaps allow that profs can get tenure, but they will still have yearly reviews where their contracts can be terminated. And instead of tenure, we can have extended contracts, like 5 or 10 or 20 years, like in sports. At the end of your contract, the university can decide whether or not to extend the contract based on the yearly reviews. If not, the prof can continue to work as a nonteaching (research only) faculty until the contract is offered or apply somewhere else. What this also does is prevents contracts from being extended for retired profs to make room for new profs. And also might allow for the exchange of profs around different universities thereby increasing intellectual diversity among universities.
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