Center for Spiritual Inquiry and Integral Education

R. Michael Fisher
"American Academy in Decline"
by R. Michael Fisher - Saturday, November 9, 2013, 08:21 AM

My daughter Vanessa recently sent me a good (sad state) article on higher education in the USA. It particularly points out the ongoing disparity of costs of higher education, and the real job prospects of getting hired as a professor (commonly a non-tenure track adjunct) with low pay and no benefits and insecurity of employment in the next term.

Go to

Of course, one can always look at just the negative side of anything, there are positives to higher education as well. And the author of this article is short on those, other than saying people who go get Ph.D.'s love to do research and teach (often). And yet, we teachers teach for peanuts, relative to the cost of gaining the education to privilege ourselves to teach at post-secondary institutions. It is not much of a different story than what public school teachers have complained about for probably a century or more, and that is that in capitalist societies they are relatively disrespected and underpaid. This trend has now risen into higher education, following the capitalist neo-liberalism ideology of the past two decades particularly (also called the corporate take-over of the university).

Here at CSIIE, we saw this coming, as have others. And we trust someday our alternative and many others will take-up the 'market' of appropriate and high quality education for the demands of the 21st century without costing learners and arm and a leg.

For my part, I also have huge student loans from doing graduate studies relatively late, as did my wife following in my foot-tracks. I also know, I didn't solely do this because I was convinced I'd get a high paying job in the academy (although, it would have been nice). I don't regret a moment the costs and pains of learning what I did on that academic journey, and I know that the 12 years of post-secondary education for me was life-long learning, when I felt that was the demand of the late-20th and early 21st century. As for how to make a living wage and gain respect and have influence in the society and academy, that's a whole other challenge. I'm still learning.