Field of Science

A teaching manifesto of merit

The tattooed professor is new to TPP, but TPP likes this guy, and we likes his teaching manifesto as well. For the first 2/3 of his career TPP taught in large introductory biology classes, both majors and nonmajors, and how well he remembers needing summers to recharge until finally it got to the point where that burned out feeling would not go away. Only then did TPP begin a second career teaching botany to people who wanted to learn it. 
As a long-time observer of higher education here in Lincolnland, the cost of higher education is not because of the high salaries paid to lazy faculty, it's not because of having too many administrators, and it's not because of inefficiences and waste, it's because a long time ago, 30 or so years, our legislators decided to shift the responsibility of paying for higher education to the student and their families. They did this by simply gradually withdrawing state support. So tuition had to cover the difference and real cost increases and unfunded mandates as well, as a result tuition has been rising faster than the cost of living.  TPP has seen state support drop from around 60% of the cost to 16% of the cost, to no state support at all this past year.  So higher education is no longer affordable to many people, and this was a choice our state made, but not by coming right out and saying it. Cleverly the very people who made these decisions found it easy to criticize the educational institutions themselves, blaming the educators!  State supported colleges and universities have been great equalizers, and TPP appreciates the opportunities they afforded him; no ivy-league or private schools in TPP's background, just plain blue-collar botany bought and paid for by his own effort.
But at least it was possible. It should be again.

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