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斯坦福教授文章:美国大学如何从可怜兮兮到如日中天?

已有 2892 次阅读 2017-10-16 17:27 |个人分类:美国观察|系统分类:海外观察

在王鸿飞教授的微信朋友圈读到他转发的一篇好文,题目叫 How The US College Went From Pitiful To Powerful?


英语文章链接:


https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s?__biz=MzIzMDI0NjYzNw==&mid=2662397700&idx=3&sn=5b588d90abdc5f9f36e2e2ce6bc91c6e&chksm=f3f20686c4858f909e9e9b31870e1a4f4b0e83e7e2327ac78269fcfd0eea4b50e5311ae357fd&mpshare=1&scene=1&srcid=1016ewpNJYf6MuZnk18uPCPo&pass_ticket=AfD2AdsrH66gcOrBwhyd4VSdX59wKj9b5UZf14JVm%2Bd2VCOD6oNQuHhxy4vkMIjU#rd


查询得知,作者是斯坦福大学教育学院名教授David F. Labaree。


现将微信上写的评论 和 部分译文招贴过来,供有兴趣的朋友参考。


微信评论:


这篇文章讲美国大学如何从卑微的出身成长为世界的艳羡(作者是美国顶级文理学院Middlebury College 建校初期一位任期25年的校长的玄孙),非常有意思、有启发性,值得一读。其主要观点有:


美国大学建校之初,不管是私立还是公立,主要是为了搞房地产,卖地!美国地广人稀,为了卖地,得找卖点啊,还有什么比拥有大学这个文化中心更能吸引卖家的?(位于衣阿华州的顶级文理学院Grinnel College 创始人就叫 Grinnel,为了卖地,把已经建立的 衣阿华学院鼓动搬到了他的地盘上,然后每公顷地,15亩吧,卖到了1.63美元)


美国大学从出生就深深植根于当地社区,先是跟当地教会拉关系,一来可以廉价使用牧师做教师,二来还指望教会能不时接济下(那时大学穷的叮当响,作者的高祖拿年薪1千五,相当于现在三万二美金,还总被欠薪拿不到手,就这样还要自己想办法给老师发工资、维持学校运营)。入学、毕业都没啥标准,只要有钱交学费就能上!


大学多如牛毛(1850年美国学院数量是整个欧洲的五倍!),又没啥学生。导致一所学校平均也就一百来学生、十个教师,一年毕业不到二十个人。学校倒闭也是家常便饭。


那美国大学咋从19世纪时欧洲人眼里的笑话变成了世界最强(世界前20名占80%,前100名占50%)?


作者认为,就是这种没有中央控制、市场竞争、企业家精神(董事会都是校外人士,他们选择任命的校长就是C E O,权限很大)、迎合学生、不断适应新形势早就的。


作者在文章结尾祝愿世界其他地方模仿美国成功,但似乎这些条件都具备的地方全球也没多少😯


看完感受:大学扩招绝对正确!国家真的需要对高等教育放手,不能没完没了地211、985、双一流搞计划、搞工程了。


部分译文:


George Washington, for instance, accumulated some 50,000 acres in the western territories, and spent much of his life unsuccessfully trying to monetise his holdings.


美国国父华盛顿,在西部弄了5万公顷地,然终其一生,也没能将这笔资产变现



In 1854 he settled on a location in Iowa, named the town Grinnell, gained a charter for a college, and started selling land for $1.62 an acre. Instead of organising a college from scratch, he convinced Iowa College to move from Davenport and assume the name Grinnell College.


1854年,Grinnel牧师离开华盛顿,到衣阿华定居,然后弄到了一张开办大学的特许令,随即以1.62美元一公顷(15亩卖地)。但他并没自己建校,而是鼓动衣阿华学院搬到了 格林奈儿



In 1790, at the start of the first decade of the new republic, the US already had 19 institutions called colleges or universities. The numbers grew gradually in the first three decades, rising to 50 by 1830, and then started accelerating. By the 1850s they had reached 250, doubling again in the following decade (563), and in 1880 totalled 811. The growth in colleges vastly exceeded the growth in population, with a total of five colleges per million people in 1790, rising to 16 per million in 1880. In that year, the US had five times as many colleges as the entire continent of Europe. This was the most overbuilt system of higher education the world had ever seen.


美国高等教育机构数量:


1790年,19(每百万人5所);

1830年,50;

1850年代,250;

1860年代,563;

1880年,811(每百万人16所。高校数量是欧洲大陆的5倍)


这是世界历史上过度建设最厉害的高等教育系统



In 1880, the average college boasted 131 students and 10 faculty members, granting only 17 degrees a year. Most were located far from centres of culture and refinement. Faculty were preachers rather than scholars, and students were whoever was willing to pay tuition for a degree whose market value was questionable. Most graduates joined the clergy or other professions that were readily accessible without a college degree.


1880年,一所学院平均只有131位学生,10名教师,一年获得学位者只有17人。这些学院远离文化中心,教师是牧师而不是学者,只要能交学费,谁都能上,学位也没啥价值。反正毕业生或做牧师,或从事其他行业,没有大学学位也能做。



Hired for a salary of $1,200 a year (roughly $32,000 today), he found that the trustees could not afford to pay it. So he immediately set out to raise money for the college, the first of eight fundraising campaigns that he engaged in, making a $1,000 contribution of his own and soliciting gifts from the small faculty.


作者高祖父以年薪1200美金受雇做校长(相当于现今32,000),但董事会却没钱付。校长立即着手筹款(在他25年任上共筹款八次),自己还捐出了1000美金。



As market-based institutions that had never enjoyed the luxury of guaranteed appropriations (this was true for public as well as private colleges), colleges survived by hustling for dollars from prospective donors and marketing themselves to prospective students who could pay tuition. They had to be adept at meeting the demands of the key constituencies in their individual markets.


这些学院都是在市场上自由竞争的机构,无缘享受固定拨款(私立学院如此,公立学院也是这样),为了生存,它们四处向潜在的金主化缘,向招生对象推销自己,以期收到学费。它们必须善于满足各自所在市场重点用户的需要。



Successful colleges were also deeply rooted in isolated towns across the country. They represented themselves as institutions that educated local leaders and served as cultural centres for their communities. The college name was usually the town’s name.


成功的学院也深深植根于分布在这个广大国土上的一个个孤立的市镇。它们培养了当地的领导者,成为当地社区的文化中心。学院的名字常常就是当地市镇的名字。



Because they were located in small towns all across the country and forced to compete with peers in the same situation, they became more concerned about survival than academic standards. As a result, the US system took on a character that was middle-class rather than upper-class. Poor families did not send their children to college, but ordinary middle-class families could. Admission was easy, the academic challenge moderate, the tuition manageable. This created a broad popular foundation for the college that saved it, for the most part, from Oxbridge-style elitism. The college was an extension of the community and denomination, a familiar local presence, a source of civic pride, and a cultural avatar representing the town to the world.


因为坐落在各个小镇,并不得不和对手竞争,这些学院更关心的是生存,而不是学术标准。美国高等教育因而具有中产阶级、而不是上层阶级的性质。入学容易,学业难度不大,学费也在能力范围之内。这就使大学有宽广的群众基础,从而将它们与以牛津剑桥为代表的精英主义区别开来。当地的学院成了当地社区、教会的延伸,成了当地人人觉得亲切的一个存在,一个令人引以为傲的源泉,一个代表向世界展示本地的文化代言者



The economist Caroline Hoxby at Stanford and colleagues did a study that compared the global rankings of universities with the proportion of university funding that comes from the state (using the ranks computed by Shanghai Jiao Tong University). They found that when the proportion of the budget from state funds rises by one percentage point, the university falls three ranks. Conversely, when the proportion of the budget from competitive grants rises by one percentage point, the university goes up six ranks.


斯坦福大学的经济学家Caroline Hoxb及其同事比较了大学的排名(根据上海交大的世界大学排名)与从政府获得经费的比例。她们发现,这个比例上升一个百分点,大学的排名就降三位!相反,竞争性资助的比例上升一个百分点,排名上升六位。



In the 19th century, weak support from church and state forced US colleges to develop into an emergent system of higher education that was lean, adaptable, autonomous, consumer-sensitive, partially self-supporting, and radically decentralised. These humble beginnings provided the system with the core characteristics that helped it to become the leading system in the world. This undistinguished group of colleges came to top world rankings.


19世纪时,国家和教会的支持较弱,迫使美国的高校发展成了一个精干的、不断适应性改变的、自治的、对消费者需求敏感的、资金部分来自自身的、及其分散化的系统。正是这种卑微的出身让这个系统具有的核心特征使它成为全球领先的高教体系。



Rags to riches indeed. No longer a joke, the US system of higher education has become the envy of the world. Unfortunately, however, since it’s a system that emerged without a plan, there’s no model for others to imitate. It’s an accident that arose under unique circumstances: when the state was weak, the market strong, and the church divided; when there was too much land and not enough buyers; and when academic standards were low. Good luck trying to replicate that pattern anywhere in the 21st century.


一个从一贫如洗到家财万贯的故事?确实如此。美国的高教体系不再是笑话,而成了世界羡慕的对象。不幸的是,这个系统是自然产生的,不是计划出来的,因此没有一个别国可以模仿的模式。它是在这样独特的环境中意外出现的:弱政府、强市场、分裂的教会;土地过多,买主不够;学术水平低。在21世纪的今天,想要在别处复制这一模式,那祝你好运




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