Friday, September 11, 2009

Grade-Grubbing Explained

There's lots of good going on in academia, and I think I've defended it enough to permit myself another complaint. Previously at millinerd, I've expressed frustration with overly-professionalized undergraduates. Commence self-quotation:
Undergraduates today seem to lack what my generation specialized in - existential angst - erring as Gen Y seems to err on the side of careerism. As someone once put it, there is only one college major in the modern University: upward mobility.
But on further reflection, I believe I owe Generation Y an apology. If it is true, as indeed it is, that "the percentage of departments valuing research above teaching [has] more than doubled since 1968 (35.4 percent to 75.7 percent)," then undergraduates aren't to be blamed for soulless grade-grubbing; they're just patterning themselves after their tenure-chasing exemplars. And now, the 1987 anti-drug ad reference (a classic, by the way) should make sense.