Higher Cost and Lower Quality
Chapter 6: The Gresham Effect, Lemons, and Teaching
6. The Gresham effect, lemons, and teaching If universities truly compete with one another, why do they neglect their teaching so? At least part of the explanation is that rewards for excellent research far exceed those available for excellent teaching. Successful scientists gain worldwide reputations. They receive abundant recognition, awards and prizes, opportunities to consult, offers from other institutions, and salary increases to counter these offers. In contrast, the successful teacher is often unknown beyond her own campus. Her rewards are limited to the satisfaction of a job well done and the gratitude and approbation of her students – all pleasures well worth having but seldom comparable to the fame and other, more tangible benefits given to the accomplished researcher. Small wonder that so many professors concentrate more on research than on teaching. Derek Bok (2003: 160) Although superb teaching can bring popularity on the campus, no one becomes a superstar because of classroom prowess; no one makes a reputation, either in a discipline or as a media sage, by introducing twenty-year-olds to Wittgenstein or Einstein. David Kirp (2005: 122) 6.1 INTRODUCTION Anecdotal evidence suggests that research productivity drives job mobility among senior faculty; mobility is, at best, only coincidently influenced by teaching.1 Indeed, an accomplished scholar who is also a poor teacher can retain considerable mobility, while an accomplished teacher who is a poor scholar has little mobility. A casual review of the employment ads in the Chronicle of Higher Education or Job Opportunities for Economists reveals that teaching institutions...
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