UIUC Plans to Add 500 Full-Time Professors: Says “Nyah-Nyah” to MOOCopalypse

May 2, 2013 at 1:43 am 3 comments

I’m guessing that the regents at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign does not think that “the end of the University” is near.  At least, not in the next five to seven years.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announced this week that it would hire about 500 new full-time, tenure-track faculty members in the next five to seven years.

The hiring spree follows years of budget shortfalls that limited hiring at the university, including one year in which hiring was frozen campuswide. University officials now want to restore the total number of full-time faculty members to a level closer to what the campus had in 2007, just before the recession hit.

The hires will be made in two ways, said Barbara J. Wilson, executive vice provost for faculty and academic affairs. Some new hires will fill traditional roles in academic departments. Others will be hired in clusters.

The “cluster hires,” Ms. Wilson said, will be sorted into the six areas that have been identified by the university’s “Visioning Future Excellence at Illinois” project, an effort begun by the chancellor to map out the university’s needs for the future. The review focused on two questions: “What are society’s most pressing issues?” and “What distinctive and signature role can Illinois play in addressing those issues in the next 20 to 50 years?”

via U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Plans to Add 500 Full-Time Professors – Faculty – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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President Barack Obama’s Speech to the National Academy of Sciences J’accuse: SJSU faculty say MOOC profs are complicit

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  May 2, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    500 faculty in 5–7 years sounds like a lot, but it is only a 1% annual growth rate, assuming that the UIUC separation rate is about 3.4% a year (which is the latest figure I could find for University of California, where I’d expect a similar separation rate). If they are to make their target of 2000 faculty, they will have to do the 500 hires in 6 years, not 7.

    To get a comparable 1% growth rate, UC would need to make 2600 hires in 7 years, which doesn’t seem likely with the current university administration, which seems complacent about privatizing higher education.

    Reply
  • 2. rdm  |  May 6, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    The “MOOCpalypse” is probably worth only a fraction of whatever you paid for it (hopefully nothing, but there you go…).

    However, the underlying fear – that current educational systems are heading for disaster – is probably worth some thought.

    One side of the issue is that, despite tremendous investment, the U.S. educational system has been reported as being quantitatively and qualitatively inferior to the educational systems of some other countries. This has been widely reported and there seems to be little credible reason for disputing the observation.

    What to do about it, of course, seems less obvious.

    Another side of the issue is the concept of “computer literacy”. “Computers” are in some sense a media, in some sense they a mechanism we can use to convey ideas. In many respects computers are similar to paper products. But they are also qualitatively different. For example, the “publishing costs” of computer media are split across the consumer and the distributor and are orders of magnitude lower – per copy – than printing costs, for many kinds of works.

    These qualitative differences mean that we should expect significant innovation (some people call this “disruption”) of communicating systems as a consequence of people’s adoption of computer based media. The MOOC concept, however, is at best a shadow of this issue – a single attempt at innovation, in the context of educational communication. But I think that the real “threat” here is not really the innovations – not taken in isolation, anyways. The real “threats” here are limited budgets, limited time, limited attention, limited resources. Learning takes time, and interest.

    The other side of this coin, by the way, is that MOOCs themselves will be subject to competition for interest and attention from other innovations.

    Reply

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