There is a city, somewhere in the US, with this really large employer, G Company. G Company isn’t a very well-run company; largely due to the fact that it’s a REALLY BIG company. But it’s also due to the fact that many of G Company’s hires are based on nepotism, and MOST of G Company’s promotions and raises are based on tenure. G Company doesn’t really care much for performance; they don’t really have a lot of competition.
Working for G Company is CAKE, decent pay, great bennies, and they really can’t fire you (they don’t care about performance, remember!) To work for G Company is the goal of most of the residents of this city. Occasionally G Company may want an employee to have some academic letters by their name, but that’s just for appearances.
And that’s where Letter U comes in! Letter U provides the letters one needs to move forward in G Company. Letter U used to be a fine school. But since its founding, things have changed…. a few academic standards have dropped. But it’s cool though, because the #1 goal is to provide letters (not knowledge) for people who work for G Company: Bachelor’s, Master’s, even PhD’s. You want your letters, come and get’em!
Ever thing is easy-peasy, kosher, copacetic. G Company sends it current employees to Letter U. Letter U sends it’s grads to G Company. It’s symbiotic love fest!
But there are some problems…
- G Company isn’t the only employer in the city; and
- Not every student is eventually hired by (or is currently employed at) G Company.
These other companies in the city don't drink the “performance doesn’t matter” Kool-Aid. They want people with degrees to be able to do degree-level work. No ifs, ands, or buts.
And these other employers know that Letter U, quite frankly, SUCKS. Some of the students could not read their way out of a box. They cannot write a professional email, much less a report. AND PLEASE DO NOT EVEN MENTION DATA ANALYSIS!!! Data = Numbers = Kryptonite to a Letter U grad.
And the secret is OUT. Letter U students were sent into the world lacking degree-related skills. The students were hired by employers with expectations that were NOT met. It happened too often and too long. Now the employers have come to know what to expect from a Letter U grad. As a result, these companies do not hire from Letter U. Or if they do, they do not hire Letter U students for the jobs that there degrees should entail. To many Letter U grads (undergraduate AND GRADUATE) are working as Administrative Assistants.
Because Letter U has history, the students aren’t always aware of the Letter U’s current reputation among other employers (although some of the alumni are, and they are NOT happy.) So the students don’t realize that their degree that isn’t going to get them as far as they may think (unless they work for Company G.) Because education IS an investment, and an EXPENSIVE investment, I think it’s a damn shame when it doesn’t enhance a student’s career options.
I used to think that a University was defined by its instructors, its programs, and/or its mission. But I’ve come to the realization that a University is actually defined by its GRADUATES. And every time we pass someone that doesn’t deserve to pass, or we graduate someone that doesn’t have the skills and knowledge expected for the degree we GAVE them, we weaken the reputation of ALL of our graduates. And we do a LONG-TERM, and expensive, disservice to those students who have actually earned their grades and their degree.