Feb 26Liked by Robert Talbert

Another fantastic essay. I completely agree that broken systems shouldn't prevent us from making small changes (which might have big implications) in our own classrooms. As a personal note, sometimes I struggle with the opposite issue, i.e., I find it much easier to tinker with I'm doing in my own classroom than to do the hard but necessary work of contributing to more widespread systemic change.

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Feb 26ยทedited Feb 26

FWIW - as a financially independent, semi-retired, adjunct assistant professor, I've felt a little guilty about my own privilege, which may outdo that of even a fully-tenured professor. I'm not paid a living wage, and I don't need one. I can pretty much teach however I want. ๐Ÿ˜

My last professional role was as the US Lead for Academic and Workforce Development for a large, multi-national engineering firm, and in that role had the opportunity to meet many in the academic "industry'. TBH - we were pretty frustrated with what we saw, and in broad strokes this derived from two areas:

- industry knowledge had moved far ahead of professorial knowledge, and

- we just weren't that interested in the professor's assessment of a student.

In the aggregate we looked at GPA, not because it was valuable, but it was all we had. But I worked closely with our hiring managers, and the ones who were most successful built personal relationships with specific programs. I was particularly interested in apprenticeships through community colleges. In most large companies, engineering graduates must still progress through two years of Engineer-In-Training status... so what is the purpose of a 4-year degree, if graduates still need an additional two years of training before they are prepared?

BTW - with three engineering degrees and a 40-year career, I have never once been *paid* to calculate an integral, and let me tell you, that ship has sailed. Are students using the topics they are required to learn? Why would they pay for unused learning? (It might be valuable in an esoteric sense, but why would they pay for it? Go in debt, for it?)

My point being... the instructor's assessment really doesn't matter, and a systemic change is needed.

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