Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Higher Education Academic Conference Racket

The Marriott Los Suenos Ocean Resort and Casino in Costa Rica
At the risk of being accused of exposing one of higher education's "dirty little secrets," let's have a frank discussion about the market racket? for academic conferences.  This post was inspired by an email invitation I received today to attend an academic conference in Costa Rica next March at the Marriott Los Suenos Ocean Resort and Casino in Herradura, Costa Rica (pictured above).  It seems like I get one of these unsolicited invitations every week for an academic conference somewhere in the U.S. or overseas.  Here's how this "academic conference racket" works:

1. Promotion from assistant professor to associate professor with tenure at most universities is primarily based on publications in academic journals and presentations of research at academic conferences (which often then lead to publications).  Sure, teaching counts too, but marginal, below-average teaching can usually be offset by a strong publication record (but not vice-versa). 

2. Promotion from associate professor with tenure to full professor is also primarily based on academic publications and presentations at academic conferences.  Sure, teaching counts, but see above.  

Therefore, there is a HUGE demand from thousands of tenure- and promotion-seeking professors across the country (and around the world) to attend academic conferences, present their research, and then hopefully have that research subsequently published in an academic journal or in the conference proceedings, or sometimes both. Publications lead to tenure and promotion, and often large pay increases of $8,000 per year for promotion to associate professor, and $10,000 for promotion to full professor (those are the current increases at UM-Flint).  Another factor that increases the demand for academic conferences is that all travel expenses, conference fees, and meals are generally paid by the professor's academic institution.   

That explains the demand side of the market, which as I said is HUGE.  Now what about the supply side?  Of course, it's grown to meet the high demand and it's no surprise that there is a large and growing "academic conference industry," along with a large and growing industry for academic journals to publish academic research (which is typically ignored, except for a few other academics).  

The National Business and Economics Society (NBES) is sponsoring the conference in Costa Rica and is just one of hundreds of academic organizations on the supply side of the academic conference and publishing industry.  Previous NBES conferences have been held in Hawaii (every other year), the Lesser Antilles, the West Indies, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Virgin Islands and Key West (and never in Duluth, MN, Sagniaw, MI, or Buffalo, NY).  See a noticeable pattern?  Hold an academic conference in early March in an exotic location like Costa Rica, and professors will flock to those events, with all expenses paid for by their university students and/or taxpayers.  Let's be realistic, don't professors deserve a "Spring Break" getaway around the time their students are heading down to Daytona Beach or Miami Beach?   

Now, to attract the greatest number of scholars to an academic conference in an exotic location in March, should the organization make the academic focus of the conference broad or narrow?  Obviously, it should be as academically diverse as possible, and the NBES isn't holding back, it invites scholars from Finance, Accounting, Marketing, Management, Information Systems, Operations Research, Economics, Public Health and Administration, Psychology and related areas.  Wow, that's every department in the entire business school plus some almost unrelated departments in the College of Arts and Sciences! 

While they're on their all-expenses-paid trip to the four-day conference in Costa Rica (often with a spouse, who pays airfare but usually not for the accommodations), the professors can take advantage of a host of activities in Costa Rica during their ample free time (their academic obligation may only involve one 30-minute research presentation, or maybe one other session where they serve as a discussant) that includes shopping, dining, deep sea fishing, water sports, hiking, golf, tennis, and an on-site casino.

For the last four years, the NBES has published electronic "conference proceedings" (password protected) of the papers presented, which could count as an academic publication for some universities.  In that case, the professor gets credit for presenting academic research at a conference in Costa Rica and possibly for an academic publication for his or her paper in the conference proceedings, and that research may eventually lead to an academic publication, which may eventually lead to promotion, tenure and a large increase in salary. 

In the end, students (or their parents or taxpayers) ultimately pay for their professors to attend academic conferences in places like Costa Rica in March, which contributes to rising tuition and the "higher education bubble."  And it's not clear that students reap any benefits from these academic conferences relative to the costs, especially if the trade-off is lower tuition and fewer academic conferences, or higher tuition and more academic conferences.  The fact that community colleges typically charge tuition that is about 50% of a four-year university might partially be explained by the fact that professors at community colleges aren't under pressure to publish, and don't attend expensive, four-day academic conferences in Costa Rica, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands with the same frequency as their counterparts at 4-year colleges.    

Academics: Am I being unfair or inaccurate? If so, please respond. 

33 Comments:

At 8/15/2012 10:14 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

So, are you headed to Costs Rica?

 
At 8/15/2012 10:41 PM, Blogger Trey said...

You make several valid points. I think this would make an excellent presentation at an academic conference. In costa rica. I hear the canopy tours are outstanding.

 
At 8/15/2012 10:41 PM, Blogger AIG said...

You are being both unfair, and inarticulate.

1) Ok you made your point that publishing, and presenting your work to your peers, is an important part of promotion. But you didn't say why this is somehow...a problem. IE, an important part of a researcher's job, is research :) Doh!

2) You make the point that "teaching is secondary". Not true. That depends on the institution you are working. If it's a research institution, they are hiring you for research mainly. If it's mainly focused on teaching, you don't need much to your name (and there are a LOT more institutions focused on teaching, than otherwise..and a LOT more professors of all grades out there with little to their name than otherwise)

3) You make the claim that expenses to travel to these conferences are paid for by the school. FALSE. Absolutely false. Most defiantly false. There's a budget assigned for such travel expenses, yes...but even at rich schools, that's very limited (and you have to fight others for it) . The school will pay for you, if you are actually presenting at the conference, not just going.

4) You claim that these conferences are usually, or mostly, in exotic tropical locales. Hmm. Last year I was in Minneapolis for one. While I really like Minneapolis, tropical it isn't. No conferences in Buffalo NY? That ought to be a surprise to SUNY Buffalo. I'd say that the absolute vast majority of academic conferences are in places with a high degree of research institutions; Boston, NYC, etc etc.

Now I remember why I stopped reading this blog.

 
At 8/15/2012 11:27 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Sorry...meant to say "inaccurate" in the first sentence.

 
At 8/16/2012 5:03 AM, Blogger mmanagedaccounts said...

You must have been inarticulate. AIG missed your point.

 
At 8/16/2012 6:21 AM, Blogger sykes.1 said...

Where the money comes from is interesting. At major research universities, all (as in ALL, every cent) of research and travel money comes from externally funded research grants obtained by individual faculty members. Areas that don't have external funding like English are subsidized by siphoning off overhead dollars from those areas that do.

The case of undergraduate colleges is different. There, the money comes from earnings on the endowment, if any, gifts, what little external grants they have, and general operating funds. Travel money is usually competitive.

All in all, successful professors live a jet set life style. Large amounts of their actual income never appears on a W2.

As to AIG (he/she really wants that moniker?), almost all travel money ultimately comes from taxpayers, and they have a right to know it and to regulate it.

Our faculties (I am a retired one) are largely corrupt and delusional. They actually think research is relevant to things other than tenure. Virtually all the research presented at conferences and in journals goes unread. It is mostly crap.

 
At 8/16/2012 6:22 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

There's nothing FALSE about it, AIG. If you read the post, Mark made it pretty clear the university pays for professors to go and deliver papers. This is exactly how it was for my mother. The university paid, she went to conferences in great locations around the world, delivered her one paper and then hung out with her buddies from other universities for sight-seeing for the rest of the week. She managed to travel the world this way. Deliver one paper in Oslo and then go hiking in the fjords of Norway.

Sure, there are some conferences in Toronto in November, but there were plenty in Europe, California, Hawaii, etc.

And, btw, I discovered this conference racket extended beyond professors to librarians who also have the same ranking system as professors with full and chaired positions and surprisingly must also publish to advance their careers.

 
At 8/16/2012 7:29 AM, Blogger Krishnan said...

There are indeed legitimate conferences and meetings - and sure sometimes interesting papers are presented, discussions ensue, you come back rejuvenated - and yes, not all of such conferences are paid by "university" (but by sponsors - often Federal Agencies in some way) - but I agree that there is much abuse. What is indeed worse is the pretension of the importance of "teaching" in places where the professors do "research" - Research is not about truly advancing the boundaries of the known and making an impact - but "publishing" and making a note of such. The proliferation of journals and papers describing some obscure piece of work that no one may have really reviewed properly is making it impossible to figure out true advances in many fields (I am talking about the hard sciences). These publications lead to conference papers (or vice versa) and the cycle continues. The signal to noise is dropping rapidly - there are HUGE numbers of papers, but only a few that have anything really new and significant to say - it is so easy today to cite references and appear to have surveyed the field and prior work - but examine the details and you come away with nothing.

The true racket is what administrators do - there are conferences for "Chairs" - regional, national, international - conferences for Assistant/Associate/??? Deans - Chairs - Assistant/Associate/??? Provosts - people coming and going talking about how to prepare for class/talk in class ... webinars - travel to conference to learn about webinars - etc etc etc - Almost ALL fluff and designed to spend other people's money

There is indeed much abuse of money in Higher Education - and those with their fingers on the finance button are seemingly immune - they are having fun at other people's expense

 
At 8/16/2012 9:36 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

"...Am I being unfair..."

It would be unfair if the educators are paying for their travel and lodging themselves.

BTW, academic conference boondoggles extend to primary education also.

 
At 8/16/2012 1:50 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"Where the money comes from is interesting. At major research universities, all (as in ALL, every cent) of research and travel money comes from externally funded research grants obtained by individual faculty members. Areas that don't have external funding like English are subsidized by siphoning off overhead dollars from those areas that do.

The case of undergraduate colleges is different. There, the money comes from earnings on the endowment, if any, gifts, what little external grants they have, and general operating funds. Travel money is usually competitive."

That's right. That's what I said too. Depends on the institution. That's not the way Dr. Perry made this sound. Not at all.

"As to AIG (he/she really wants that moniker?), almost all travel money ultimately comes from taxpayers, and they have a right to know it and to regulate it."

Of course not. By what logic do you figure that "all travel money" comes from taxpayers?

"Our faculties (I am a retired one) are largely corrupt and delusional. They actually think research is relevant to things other than tenure. Virtually all the research presented at conferences and in journals goes unread. It is mostly crap."

Ridiculous. I don't know where you people get off making up such things. My research was funded by Xerox and HP for example. Strangely, they seemed to think they wanted to know the results. You don't. Guess you're right.

But hey, sweeping generalizations are a lot easier to make than to recognize that the world is a pretty complex place.

 
At 8/16/2012 1:57 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"There's nothing FALSE about it, AIG. If you read the post, Mark made it pretty clear the university pays for professors to go and deliver papers. This is exactly how it was for my mother. The university paid, she went to conferences in great locations around the world, delivered her one paper and then hung out with her buddies from other universities for sight-seeing for the rest of the week. She managed to travel the world this way. Deliver one paper in Oslo and then go hiking in the fjords of Norway. "

Yes yes, You missed the point where you have to...DELIVER...a paper. That's not what Dr. Perry said. That's what I said; the school will pay if you're a presenter, not if you're just going.

"Sure, there are some conferences in Toronto in November, but there were plenty in Europe, California, Hawaii, etc"

Of really? Of all the thousands and thousands of conferences in hundreds of different fields, you've managed to narrow it down to "a few happen in Tornoto, but most happen in Hawaii". Man, I must be in the wrong academic field then. My conferences take me to exotic tropical paradises like Rochester NY and Minneapolis MN.

"There are indeed legitimate conferences and meetings - and sure sometimes interesting papers are presented, discussions ensue, you come back rejuvenated - and yes, not all of such conferences are paid by "university" "

Clearly, you've bought into the racket and the lies of the..uhm...uhm...I lost track of the conspiracy here.

"The true racket is what administrators do - there are conferences for "Chairs" - regional, national, international - conferences for Assistant/Associate/??? Deans - Chairs - Assistant/Associate/??? Provosts - people coming and going talking about how to prepare for class/talk in class ... webinars - travel to conference to learn about webinars - etc etc etc - Almost ALL fluff and designed to spend other people's money"

See the funny thing is, everyone thinks that the OTHER guys having a conference, are the ones wasting their time. Conferences in my field? Well...my research is important and valuable. But those OTHER guys over there...what a racket man I tell ya!! We humans are a funny bunch.

 
At 8/16/2012 2:12 PM, Blogger AIG said...

There is indeed much abuse of money in Higher Education - and those with their fingers on the finance button are seemingly immune - they are having fun at other people's expense

There is much abuse in EVERY filed, be it private or public. But you haven't told us anything. At whose expense? A private school which decides to spend its OWN money on conferences and journals, or a private company that decides to sponsor conferences or sponsor research..is doing something at YOUR expense? Or at someone else's expense?

In order for anything said here to make any sort of sense, we have to assume some things:

1) research is useless.
2) private companies and institutions do not partake in these things
3) vast majority of professors are forced to join in this racket in order to advance

All 3 of these points, are demonstrably false. So if research is not useless ( I would LOVE for you people to go and tell people in engineering, or medicine or some science, that their research is "useless" because Methink's MOM enjoyed skiing in Oslo)...and if private companies and private institutions are major sponsors and participants...and if the vast majority of college professors in the US do not partake at all in conferences, or publishing or any of these things (because the vast majority work in teaching institutions, where publishing 1 paper in 10 years is perfectly ok)...then what is the complaint here?

It's already clear that the schools do NOT pay for you to travel to wherever and whenever you want.

So what's your point? Dr. Perry should know that his publications, his university career, and his salary...are a matter of public record (since he works in a public institution). Therefore it is strange that someone who makes as much money as him, but according to google scholar (not the best tool) hasn't actually published in a journal in 12 years, comes up with the "theses" that publishing is a racket and teaching is underestimated.

If that were so, would he be in the position he is in at Flint, and making as much money?

PS: When I was working at Boeing, the amount of money spend by people gaming the system for trips and "supplier visits" and all sorts of ridiculous things to go have a 1 week vacation...puts academic conferences to shame.

Waste, is a phenomenon of large organisations, regardless of what form they have. To ignore such a thing in an "economics blog" (even though there is precious little economic discussion happening here, for years now!)...is strange. To somehow invent an alternate reality where somehow, everyone ELSE in academia who isn't you, is wrong and irrational...doesn't seem to me to be very "economic" in analyses.

 
At 8/16/2012 2:16 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Yes yes, You missed the point where you have to...DELIVER...a paper. That's not what Dr. Perry said.

So, you're saying your reading comprehension is not so good. See, this is why you're going to conferences in Buffalo and Des Moines.

 
At 8/16/2012 2:21 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

AIG: I've pretty much published continually in peer-reviewed journals, including ten journal articles over the last five years: one paper this year (2012) in Business Economics, one paper in 2011, four papers in 2010, two papers in 2008, two papers in 2007, etc. You're right Google Scholar must not be a very good tool.

 
At 8/16/2012 2:22 PM, Blogger pkd said...

YMMV. Your first point rings mostly true for my former university, where promotion was primarily based on publications in academic journals. Presentations of research at academic conferences did not, although they sometimes led to publications. Marginal, below-average teaching could be offset by a strong publication record. Also, presentations (and publications) were rewarded with salary increases, back when there were such things.

On the other hand, when I first started teaching, the budget for travel to conferences for presenters didn't necessarily cover the whole cost, and it shrank over the years.

Conferences in my field were rarely in exotic locations, although at one in L.A. I complained that no one was around, and another scholar said everyone was probably at Disneyland.

One rationale for attending conferences was to network with one's peers, but I never met anyone useful or even got helpful feedback on my papers.

 
At 8/16/2012 2:39 PM, Blogger Paul said...

I've stayed at Los Suenos in Costa Rica and man, those scholars are going to have a good time. Speaking from experience, I do hope somebody warns them the hot girls at the Beetle Bar are all hookers.

 
At 8/16/2012 2:47 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

When I was working at Boeing, the amount of money spend by people gaming the system for trips and "supplier visits" and all sorts of ridiculous things to go have a 1 week vacation...puts academic conferences to shame.

Who cares? That's Boeing's business. Are they doing it on the taxpayers' dime? No? Then I don't care.

 
At 8/16/2012 3:13 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I do hope somebody warns them the hot girls at the Beetle Bar are all hookers.

Warn or inform :)

 
At 8/16/2012 7:51 PM, Blogger retired VP of Finance/CFO said...

As I retired CFO, I can confirm that this is part of the generally recognized expenses at every level of the academe; from the president to administrators to faculty and yes even to students.

 
At 8/16/2012 8:37 PM, Blogger mongander said...

Yes, higher education is a racket not because of trips and conferences but because it's an overpriced, antiquated bubble. 80 or 90% of education could be accomplished much cheaper and more effectively on line.

 
At 8/16/2012 9:56 PM, Blogger Tamerlane said...

What I want to know is why we don't know where the funds paying for travel are coming from. Why is there any question or debate. Aren't we talking about public institutions? Shouldn't transparency be in order. Can a freedom of information request be made to an academic department to get such records?

Just thinking out loud about how things might work in a world where the taxpayers rights are protected above all others.

 
At 8/17/2012 6:16 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

I used to see these things advertised back when I was a grad student, but I assumed people didn't take them seriously. However, I don't know if these presentations were counted in hiring decisions, would be pretty stupid if they were.

AIG, I completely agree with skyes.1 that academic research is mostly crap. You claim that your work for Xerox and HP wasn't crap: OK, then please provide a link to your paper. You continue with your dumb arguments and name-calling in trying to defend the academic scam. If you believe it's all so worthwhile, do you think that the colleges and universities will be able to beat back the competition from online learning? I don't, I think they will all go bankrupt within the next decade or two, just like has happened with music and newspapers already. Someday soon, I'll be able to produce the same chart for university and college revenue. Do you honestly believe otherwise?

 
At 8/17/2012 6:55 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Tamarlane,

Although there's a lot of B.S. not every paper presented at a conference is B.S. and not every reason to hold a conference is B.S. either. The problem for taxpayers is that even if they took an interest in this matter, they wouldn't necessarily be able to tell where money was wasted and where it was used wisely.

The way I propose solving this is to get government - and therefore taxpayers - out of the business of higher education entirely. My alma mater is a public university with an enormous endowment which it uses for idiotic projects like a "lawn extension" which cost untold millions and serves no purpose. Why not waste it on conferences in St. Barth's instead?

 
At 8/18/2012 5:08 PM, Blogger J Scheppers said...

This may be a late response but, I thought it an important question.

I do agree with much of your point that waste occurs with potential prof's running around trying to publish. Few of these ideas get adopted and implimented in the capitalistic system. Conference in Costa Rica reek of vacation opportunities.

I do however agree with some of your critics that have pointed out that conference funding is under fiscal constraint and that there is not an unlimited budget.

But the more important point is that the publish or perish rule at major universities is the result of years of culture that has produce our best education insitutions. They are now faced with a serious foe of online eductation with most information provided for free. This will force Mainstream education to change. I eagerly await the market solution that can verify the knowledge being acquired by the informal education process.

 
At 8/18/2012 11:08 PM, Blogger AIG said...

AIG: I've pretty much published continually in peer-reviewed journals, including ten journal articles over the last five years: one paper this year (2012) in Business Economics, one paper in 2011, four papers in 2010, two papers in 2008, two papers in 2007, etc. You're right Google Scholar must not be a very good tool.

Thank you for the correction. I could only go with what I had in front of me, unfortunately.

 
At 8/18/2012 11:11 PM, Blogger AIG said...

So, you're saying your reading comprehension is not so good. See, this is why you're going to conferences in Buffalo and Des Moines.

hehe. Good one. But since the one's I've been to are mainly INDUSTRY sponsored conferences, they tend to be where those industries are located. But once again we're skipping over the very important distinction that school does NOT pay for you; it pays for you if you present a paper. But that is not the same thing as "the school pays for you to go"...which was the original point made here

Who cares? That's Boeing's business. Are they doing it on the taxpayers' dime? No? Then I don't care.

Is my university doing it on the taxpayer's dime? No. So why do you care?

 
At 8/18/2012 11:14 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Yes, higher education is a racket not because of trips and conferences but because it's an overpriced, antiquated bubble. 80 or 90% of education could be accomplished much cheaper and more effectively on line.

So many things wrong with this.

What I want to know is why we don't know where the funds paying for travel are coming from. Why is there any question or debate. Aren't we talking about public institutions? Shouldn't transparency be in order. Can a freedom of information request be made to an academic department to get such records?

You're kidding, right? There is someone preventing you from knowing about the finances of your PUBLIC institution? I don't think so. Why do you assume it to be so, if you've never taken the effort to look for this info? Not taking the effort to look for it, because you really don't care, is not the same as no information available.

 
At 8/18/2012 11:22 PM, Blogger AIG said...

AIG, I completely agree with skyes.1 that academic research is mostly crap. You claim that your work for Xerox and HP wasn't crap: OK, then please provide a link to your paper.

Providing a link to my paper would reveal too much info on me ;) Not something I want to do here.

Why exactly do you doubt the fact that industry sponsors research, quite regularly?

If you believe it's all so worthwhile, do you think that the colleges and universities will be able to beat back the competition from online learning?

What competition? Almost all universities of all types in the US practice many online tools. Why do you think that somehow "online learning"...or the use of interactive electronic means...is not happening at the "traditional universities"? I get most of my reading done online, class notes and materials are all posted online, submissions, grading etc is all done online, discussions can be done online...yet here you are comparing some mythical magical "online learning" institution that does not exist, with the 1950's traditional university.

It is your very concept of what constitutes the use of "online learning", and what constitutes a "university", that is flawed. So I can't answer what isn't real.

If, of course, you're referring to the University of Phoenix types of schools, I think you'll find that the evidence is not in your favor. Those types of schools have been around for well over a decade by now, and the evidence is they compete in completely different space from universities or even community colleges...and are more closely related to your idea of a "scam" ;)

I don't, I think they will all go bankrupt within the next decade or two, just like has happened with music and newspapers already. Someday soon, I'll be able to produce the same chart for university and college revenue. Do you honestly believe otherwise?

Yep

 
At 8/18/2012 11:43 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Although there's a lot of B.S. not every paper presented at a conference is B.S. and not every reason to hold a conference is B.S. either. The problem for taxpayers is that even if they took an interest in this matter, they wouldn't necessarily be able to tell where money was wasted and where it was used wisely.

The way I propose solving this is to get government - and therefore taxpayers - out of the business of higher education entirely. My alma mater is a public university with an enormous endowment which it uses for idiotic projects like a "lawn extension" which cost untold millions and serves no purpose. Why not waste it on conferences in St. Barth's instead?


Well, here's the problem Methinks, both with these points of yours, and with the whole "criticism" of research and what research/publishing means in academia.

1) There are public institutions, and then there are private institutions. Why exactly do you speak of only 1, and pretend like there is only 1?

2) By what means did you reach the conclusion that the taxpayer pays for any of this? Who "pays" for the various journals, academies, conferences etc? Or is that not important to you? You just assume its all "taxpayers", because otherwise there'd be nothing for you to be "outraged" about?

3) What is the problem with research constituting a MAJOR part of an academician's career advancement, or consuming some of their time? (even though Dr. Perry likes to dramatize here about the focus on research vs Teaching, the average time spend on teaching by professors of all disciplines is in fact nearly twice that spend on research; ie on average the majority of time IS spend on teaching)

4) What is the "goal" of higher education? Everyone here keeps repeating the same line...Its education! Its teaching! First of all, education and teaching are not the same thing. Second, the goal of a university, is not education nor teaching. It's the production of KNOWLEDGE and dissemination of KNOWLEDGE

 
At 8/18/2012 11:43 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Education and teaching is only part of this "goal". But there would be NO education nor teaching, without first the PRODUCTION OF KNOWLEDGE.

Someone had to apply the scientific method. Someone had to do the research. Someone had to present this research to other qualified people, would could critique it and improve it. It's a long way before it ends up on a textbook to be "taught" by a teacher to some 18 year olds who could give a flying c**p about how it was reached.

And here we are, saying that academicians should focus on is NOT knowledge creation, not even knowledge dissemination (through publishing, and discussion with peers).

Quite amazing.

Now, I know what you're going to say. BUT no one cares about papers in sociology or anthropology or whatever other easy target you can think of. It's all useless stuff that adds no value to anyone (read: it adds no value to MEEE!), so why should they exist (reads: Why can't IIII decide what exists and doesn't exist? I'm a "libertarian", and even though my philosophy is one which has as it's most important tenets...the dispersion of knowledge, IIII still think that IIIII should be able to tell everyone in every field what to do! Just like my idol, the Honorable Dr. Excellency Dr. Ron Paul, who even though is specialized in some particular medical field, finds it perfectly reasonable to tell the military what sort of SHIPS it should have)...

...But for any theory of the uselessness of research, publishing, conferences etc to hold true, it must hold true for all such conferences, publishing and research. Otherwise, you have no right to use the terms "academia" etc, without it applying to all of academia.

So...if this theory of some people here holds true, then try replacing the word "sociology"...with "cardiology" :) See if the uselessness of research, publishing, and conferences, holds true for cardiology, as it does for sociology. Does it?

Well, I can predict the answers from some people here already.

 
At 8/18/2012 11:52 PM, Blogger AIG said...

So ultimately, if your "grudge" is the public financing of some institutions, or public financing in part of some institutions...that is an entirely UNRELATED issue with the creation and dispersion of knowledge, or what the core goal of an institution of higher learning is. The two are unrelated.

By attacking knowledge itself, because you do not like how some of it is financed...you only confirm the notion that some people have that the "right" is anti-scientific, and that "libertarian" notions of society are primitive at best.

Now I don't agree with those accusations at all, but I can't disagree that some people, like the Honorable Sprewell, or his Excellency Dr. Dr. Ron Paul...are primitive anti-scientific individuals.

 
At 8/19/2012 1:36 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

AIG, the problem is that we know what real science is, while you swallow whole the pseudo-scientific twaddle that the mediocrities in your beloved universities feed you. I could rebut your dumb points one by one, but your loopy, self-contradictory defense of the current debacle is itself the best rebuttal. :) You start off by saying they do a lot more teaching than research, then defend these institutions based on their research. face palm X| Suffice to say that anybody who actually examines either the teaching or the research finds both to be pretty shitty at most colleges. Now, it doesn't much matter that you are too dense to realize this, because online learning is about to bankrupt these businesses. And no, they won't do it using the silly online methods that you claim the universities are already using, which are so far from what's coming online that they're a joke.

 
At 8/20/2012 12:53 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Sprewell,

"like". Very much.

 

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