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PHD-DESIGN  February 2007

PHD-DESIGN February 2007

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Subject:

Re: what is a masters thesis?

From:

Jacques Giard <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Jacques Giard <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 19 Feb 2007 08:10:20 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (51 lines)

Gunnar, Chris et al,

What should never be forgotten in the discussion about master-level
education irrespective of whether we are referring to a thesis-based or
project-based degree is that a large segment of university education in the
USA is market driven. This may not be case in many other countries, at least
not to the extent that it is in the USA. Harvard, Yale and Princeton may be
exemplars of higher education at its best but we must not ignore
institutions such as the University of Phoenix, for example. It is a
corporation established to meet a market need. Nothing more. It has no
full-time faculty nor does it have a research mandate. It has no desire to
be an îivory tower.╣ Yet it is huge and growing at a rapid rate. In fact, it
just recently gave (for a princely sum) its name to the new football stadium
in Phoenix. 

And degree mills such as this are becoming common in the USA. Why? Because
there is a market for graduate degrees, especially those that can be
acquired easily and conveniently. And what does this have to do with MAs and
MFAs and even PhDs? Because this phenomenon is putting pressure on
traditional universities to provide a similar product. That pressure is
coming principally from parents and students. Their justification is valid.
Tuition at many universities has become extremely high and the question of
return on investment raises its ugly head. Parents and students alike are
asking a very pragmatic question: how will this investment of $100,000 for a
degree transfer into a job upon graduation?  For traditional universities
this question is somewhat alien; to the new universities like the University
of Phoenix the question is a no brainer. Master╣s degrees and PhDs serve
only one purpose: getting a better job.

The ivy-league universities are immune to this shift but not so many state
universities. We at Arizona State University (where I work) are next door to
the University of Phoenix and face this unfair comparison everyday,
especially from elected officials of the State of Arizona. Many wonder why
ASU can╣t be more like the University of Phoenixőno research, no faculty, no
travel, no conferences? This is a sobering reality, indeed.

Jacques Giard, PhD
Director and Professor

Cross-College Programs
BA/MSD/PhD
College of Design
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ 85287-2105

P 480.965.1371
F 480.965.9656
 

 

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