Monday, February 13, 2006

Faculty Follies - Cash for Humbug

My informants in the Faculty of Education at Wooloomooloo University (ref. Monty Python) tell me that the Faculty has taken an extraordinary step to increase the C1 research publications of its academic staff.

C1 research publications are those articles written by academics for academics, which are approved by other academics in a review process, with the expectation that the academics who approve the aforementioned articles will in turn be approved by the academics who first sought approval if they in turn submit articles to another publication for which the first academics mentioned above are referees. But only if they cite each other, and agree with each others' findings. Such is the process by which new knowledge is generated in education.

But I digress. The reason for my post, is that the faculty in question has decided to offer cash rewards to academics who write such articles. These same education academics no doubt encourage their teacher education students to emphasise intrinsic motivation and achievement motivation in their teaching. And yet... intrinsic motivation and achievement motivation is apparently not enough for these academics. They need filthy lucre... token reinforcement - a debased form of motivation which they no doubt disparage when they pontificate on matters of educational principle to their own students.

Needless to say, there is no incentive offered to those education academics who wish merely to write helpful and interesting articles for the teaching profession. Such articles are usually disparaged and dismissed as far less worthy than turgid and formulaic articles on banal research directed at "discovering" the bleeding obvious.

I fear that if the token reinforcement idea doesn't work, food pellets and electric grids are next on the agenda. (See architect's concept illustrations for the new staff offices at Wooloomooloo University - discovered in the Dean's wastepaper bin by one of my informants.)