We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Universities seem increasingly to focus on the so-called student experience over the students’ education, with universities putting huge resources into public relations, league tables and student surveys. University has become the place for teenagers to go when they wish to delay being an adult, rather than being the bridge to independence it was once considered to be. As someone who chose to leave university, it felt like I was simply putting my life on hold for three years, when I really wanted to jump into the world of work. This feeling was further enhanced by spending time on campus, where it felt like all students were being kept together and shielded from the outside world.

Jennifer Richards

34 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Given all of the bullshit around raising the school leaving age, I wonder how long it will be until a university education (+attendant loans) becomes compulsory in the UK?

  • Martha

    Go to a better university.

  • staghounds

    The purpose of a University, like the purpose of an hotel or amusement park, is to get people to pay to stay there.

  • momo

    > Go to a better university.

    May I suggest the University of Missouri, or Dartmouth?

  • Paul Marks

    Two bad examples momo – but then you were probably being sarcastic (and with justification).

    Both these universities are rotten with P.C. (sorry “Critical Theory”) intolerant closed-mindedness.

    If students had to pay the full cost of university, no more government backed “student loans”, things might be different.

    Hillsdale is a good example of a liberal arts university.

    If such places have a future – Hillsdale is it.

  • Mr Ed

    She wrote

    In fact, any form of education is valuable.

    She’s still got a lot to learn.

  • CaptDMO

    I knew there was a problem at the State University when the “graduate” students began asking ME stuff, based on my known “real world” experience, as well as the knowledge I brought TO the college experience.
    Pro tip: State University “teachers” do NOT appreciate the diversity of being corrected, and subsequent verification, by mere Freshmen.
    I left after 8 weeks because “advanced college level” preforming arts technology “studies” was interfering with my regional/National/international theater tech, Fortune 500 industrial display production, job.
    One of the few industries where…(and I deficate you NOT)
    “Here’s my resume.”
    “WOW,impressive. Where did you get your BA and MA?”
    “I didn’t”
    “*phew* Can you start… tomorrow?”

  • Dom

    Remember the scream girl at Yale? “It is not about creating an intellectual space;it’s about creating safe spaces.” Sums it up.

  • RRS

    In determining the characteristics of post secondary learning (not “education,” learning) facilities the principal issues have become (a) where does authority lie? (b) how and why is it usurped? and (c) to what ends?

    If money (as claimed) has an excessive role in politics, it has an even more excessive role in learning facilities; witness the financial role of spectator sports.

    The rise of alternative learning facilities for the needs of the so inclined is well underway. Many of the others will soon run out of other people’s money for their crumpets and circuses.

  • Laird

    The redoubtable Fred Reed puts his inimitable spin on this.

  • Nicholas (Andy.royd) Gray

    The Uni experience can be devastating. I went to Uni, and didn’t like it- they told me I didn’t have the right grades! What a predicament! They shouldn’t be allowed to judge people just like that! Let’s hope no-one else has to go through such an embarrassing experience!

  • Johnathan Pearce

    And when it comes to providing people with skills and knowledge that might be useful, higher ed in its current form seems not to be working.

  • pete

    Universities are not all the same.

    A niece of mine goes to the same Russell Group university I went to 30 odd years ago.

    Like I did, she lives off campus, has about eight hours of lectures a week and sometimes skives off them and doesn’t see the campus for days on end.

    I also have a relative at a very new university. He has nearly all his 9-5 Mon to Fri time accounted for with staff led lectures and other activities, his work is constantly assessed and measured throughout the terms, he lives on campus, and to me his university sounds like an extension of school.

    Now that university is available to people of average ability some universities need to cater for them, and can’t expect the same independence, organisational skills and self-motivation that is characteristic of brighter students.

  • Cal

    Consider the University of Nottingham. It has recently been crying poor, and sacking staff. Savings, apparently, have to be made, and this has been affecting teaching and research. Loads more students have come in, but (as in many other places) extra academics have not been hired to cope with this.

    Yet despite this apparent lack of money, it has started building a new £40 million sports centre. Yes, £40 mill on a gym:


    Nottingham are now boasting to potential students that they will have the biggest Uni sports centre in the country.

  • Alisa

    Cal, looks like a donation was made by an alumni for that specific purpose, so…

  • Fraser Orr

    You know I was thinking about this subject. I have a son who will be going to college in a few years. We live here in the USA and frankly I am more and more disinclined to send him. The PC crap, raw political indoctrination, the anti intellectual atmosphere and frankly the risks associated with being a white male seem to me to overwhelm the benefits of a college degree.

    I had thought about sending him overseas, perhaps to my Alma Mater, the University of Glasgow, esp. since I have family in the area. So my question for you Brits, are things as bad in the University systems in the UK as they are in the USA? Someone mentioned the U of Missouri; do you have students on hunger strike refusing to eat until the President of the University resigns because he apparently was not quick enough in responding to some minor racial slight?

    When I was there there was plenty of “ban the bomb, Thatcher needs to die, free council housing”. But it was more tolerated as free speech by the University rather than being actual University policy as it seems to be today.

  • Rob Fisher

    I did an engineering degree at what was once a “polytechnic” and has since become a fairly respected university in certain fields. There were student union activities but from our point of view it amounted to cheap beer. A group of us rented our own house. I took a year off half-way through to do a real engineering job. I remember once there was some big protest in London about fees or somesuch, and student union types came into our lecture theatre moaning about how they couldn’t fill even one minibus to go there and protest, and how we were all a bunch of Tories.

    Wrong, we were just geeks with more interesting things to do. So yeah, I guess it depends.

  • llamas

    @ Rob Fisher – me, too (the engineering degree at what was once a polytechnic and has since . . . . . ) Experience identical. I was too bloody busy learning steam tables and Coriolis components to bother about having a ‘student experience’. While I do recall doing and seeing some pretty riotous things (Party on the Underground? Signwriting on the side of a 14-storey block of flats? Seeing Pink Floyd’s flying Algy, and then not seeing it? Remotes with Nicky Horne sitting by the Serpentine? Nah. Didn’t do any of that), none of them were organized by the polytechnic. See, in them days, we made our OWN fun!



  • Cal

    >Cal, looks like a donation was made by an alumni for that specific purpose, so…

    Alisa, that alumni, David Ross (Carphone Warehouse guy), gave £10 million towards it. The University is paying the other £30 million.

  • Alisa

    Oh. So where are they getting the money from?

  • Cal

    I should also add that Nottingham had a perfectly decent sports centre anyway. But in the eyes of those who run the place it wasn’t quite modern and high-tech enough.

  • Cal

    >Oh. So where are they getting the money from?

    Nobody has access to that sort of knowledge these days. Corporate secretiveness rules.

    But Nottingham often boasts about how it doesn’t ever get loans or go into debt. So perhaps it’s all the money that they have scrimped off the academics’ research budgets over the years.

  • Laird

    Gaaahhh! Alisa, “alumni” is plural! The (male) singular is “alumnus”. You should know better!

    [Rant over.]

  • Julie near Chicago

    Fraser, depending on what your son thinks might be his major, The U. of Chicago (to me still “UC,” no matter what anybody hopes) still has decent math and science departments I think.

    If he’s interested in the humanities, I suppose Hillsdale or Grove City College might be safest though I have no experience of either. I do have some criticism, but if they err at least it’s in the other direction. (The same might or might not be true of Liberty Univ. or Oral Roberts, Michelle Bachmann’s alma mater.)

    Going strictly by the buzz, by the way, I wouldn’t consider sending him to a Catholic school, as they seem to have been taken over by the Social Gospel crowd. Notre Dame–Tariq Ramadan, good gawd! They say Villanova is probably the leftest of the Catholic U’s here. Then again, maybe there are some good small Catholic schools nobody ever heard of. I wouldn’t know.

    Speaking of which, two “small” schools that used to have excellent reps are Ripon and Beloit Colleges, both in Wisconsin. I understand they are major reservoirs not only of cooties but also of Demon Spawn. UW, of course, has two reps: 1. as a party school; 2. as a hotbed of progressivism and Leftism generally. And I think always has been.

    Again, Shimer College (originally in Mt. Carroll, Ill.; now in, I think, Lake Geneva) used to be rather good. Probably the usual left-leaning junk now, but might be worth checking.

    From what I hear, he shouldn’t be allowed within 500 miles of Carbondale (S. Ill. Univ.). I doubt that U of I is much better. (Nor IU — Indiana.)

    By the way–again for math and science and engineering and maybe ag, Purdue has always been a good school where (unlike UC) the technical profs actually teach. At UC the idea is that if you can’t teach yourself topology (say), what are you doing here in the first place? Or so it was between 1961 – 1973, at least. Of course, STEM only except they have no medical school. On the other hand, they used to have one of the best veterinary schools around. Northwestern’s was very good too, but Dohrn ended up there, so your son might catch some brain-eating disease which substitutes for breathable air. (UW also has a vet school, as does Cornell — used to be excellent. Both very, very risky.)

    If, Lawd Save Us, he wants to go into Law…I guess he should try to find the school with the strongest Federalist Society chapter. Naturally, you would consult Laird and RRS on this rather than YrsTrly, but that’s what I’d tell the Young Miss if she were a Younger Miss and interested.

    On the other hand, if he really wanted Law, maybe he could go to Georgetown and persuade them to let Randy Barnett teach all the classes he takes. :>)

  • Nicholas (Andy.royd) Gray

    Laird, such rule-loving is now frowned on up. Once you couldn’t end a sentence with a preposition, now it’s okay to. Why should Latin be exempt?

  • Laird

    Nicholas, because Latin is dead; it can’t evolve!

  • Nicholas (Andy.royd) Gray

    I think that Italian, especially as spoken in Roma, can claim to be the most evolved up-to-date version of Latin. It didn’t die off- it evolved! The language of Ancient Rome could be thought of as early Latin, and modern Latin is Italian.

  • Alisa

    Indeed I should and do, Laird – thanks 🙁

  • Julie near Chicago

    Look, Royd, some of us are still above using a preposition to end a sentence with.

  • gongcult

    The best thing to do (and unfortunately may not be repeated given today’s rising educational costs…) id noodle around with an engineering major until you realize what you want is a liberal education at an illinois insipid institute where the humanities faculty will be grateful to have an actual major but will allow a policy of salutary neglect which meant that I could have as my senior thesis advisor , an administrator who studied with Uncle Miltie and Friedrich back in the day. Later on it was the to univuniversity of challenges (still on the sout side) but that is another story…

  • gongcult

    Sorry for the typos- early onset arthritis…

  • Julie near Chicago

    Omigosh, gong! From your missive I divine that you have attended Illinois’ answer to MIT, which though it be on the South Side is not quite so far south as its more illustrious distant relative, my very own alma mater! (I always really liked the van der Rohe buildings. And, were you so lucky as to live in Prairie Shores?) Also, I’m amazed that IIT could even spell “humanities,” let alone have any. :>)

    I do hope our British hosts recognize what intellectually aristocratic guests dine at their feast of reason (but not flow of soul, as I do not see how one can dine upon a flow).

    Especially one such as you, who actually experienced Uncle Miltie and that Austrian fella up close & personal. I had a class with Eugene Parker and another with Charles Fefferman (who won the Field Prize one year), but I don’t imagine they are quite so revered outside of the professional physics and math communities as are your Economic Lights. I did have a class with Richard Weaver, though. At the time I had no idea he was famous or somepin’.

  • Nicholas (Andy.royd) Gray

    Julie, we can fish from the flow, can’t we? Though that would make me a flower… something wrong with english there…
    Never mind. Here’s another joke to brighten your day.
    Q. how do kangaroos handle harsh living conditions?
    A. they just hop for the best.