Ruh-oh. In this op-ed, Columbia’s Mark Taylor promotes some dumb, dumb ideas about higher education (replace departments with “problem-focused programs”, about “Space”, “Time”, and “Life”? Is he aiming to be cute? Does he also want us to craft our senior theses on Twitter?). Sure, it’s great for universities to adapt to the times, and granted, there might be a few more graduate students than the world needs right now. But I don’t think academia is in danger of becoming a social deadweight so soon — and I’ve been made to understand that Harvard, for example, still churns out a lot of relevant research.
Besides, what’s wrong with a dissertation about how Scotus used citations? I think it sounds swell.