Tuesday, March 11, 2003

On the Cheap
According to my academic hero, Erin O'Connor, the University of Michigan is now using undergraduates as instructional aides. From what I could glean from this editorial in the Michigan Daily, instructional aides are similar, if not the same as graduate assistants. I am thus assuming that these "instructional aides" are teaching sections of courses just like graduate assistants do. Here is the kicker-- IA's do not receive the same tuition waivers or stipends that GA's do. In other words, IA's make for cheaper instructors.
But the real impact here, besides GA's being denied opportunities to prepare as teachers, is on the quality of undergraduate education. Can you imagine your roommate as your Bio 101 teacher? In the past people questioned the number of grad students who were teaching undergrads at large research universities, but now we have undergrads teaching undergrads. What's next?


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