Monday, July 11, 2011

The American Higher Education System: Questions, Questions and More Questions

By Dr. Nnamdi T. Ekeanyanwu

The American higher education system is a paradox of possibilities. It sounds simple but somehow complicated. I just came out of a session with Professor Kalyango discussing research, teaching and services in a typical U.S. higher institution. Some of the issues raised were very revealing and others completely negated my existing knowledge.

For example, the tenure issue beats my imagination. Yes, it guarantees the professors' positions at universities but may cause problems the university can no longer handle. I can imagine the situation in my home country of having a tenured professor, one cannot easily be sacked or sacking may be expensive because of legal issues. This, coming from America, causes me some headaches. However, I love the reward system. It only pays for productivity but cannot deal with non-productivity. One lazy tenured professor may never get a pay rise but may also continue to take a salary he can no longer earn. This is a shock coming from my beloved America.

Worse still is the Mugabe/Ghadaffi Syndrome in higher institutions here in America. How can a dean sit as long as he wishes? How can a director serve a institution as long as he desires? And in God's own country and the custodian of democratic culture in the free world! Are the universities not supposed to reflect and mimic the larger society? Are such tendencies not against the greater America project built on democracy? When a child begins to ask so many questions at the same time, then there is a problem. I'm sure that they do have a problem with this arrangement.

I may have exaggerated the situation, but one clear factor that have endeared me to America is its democratic values and culture. Finding out today that the universities are disconnected in such a way, also give me a serious disconnect with what I think America was.

SUSI 2011, I hope I am not getting further shocks!!!

Dr. Nnamdi T. Ekeanyanwu
Director, International Office and Linkages
Covenant University, Nihgeria.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Higher Education system is in a very poor state. It has become the last priority and this can be changed only by changing the mindset of the people holding decision making positions. You need to revolutionize the curriculum, teaching methodologies and research approaches presently being employed in the Higher Education system. Thanks.
Jobs Universities