Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Open Letter to Sean Faircloth

Dear Mr Faircloth,

My name is Shawn Warren.  I am a Canadian with a PhD in philosophy and a decade of experience as an adjunct.  I have in development an alternative model for the provision of higher education that I believe can further the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS) Mission:

The mission of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science is to support scientific education, critical thinking and evidence-based understanding of the natural world in the quest to overcome religious fundamentalism, superstition, intolerance and suffering.


The current model for the service is a triad of accredited institutions (universities and colleges), public finance and union labour representation that cannot be sustained and exploits academics and students - as evinced most recently in the fate of the City College of San Francisco, California.

I believe the professional model in use by physicians, attorneys, engineers, accountants and others for the provision of their valued services can be successfully used to provide higher education.  Both the institutional and professional models are forms of social contract for service, only the professional stands to put into circulation many more academics than can be accommodated by the bottle-neck of institutional employ and service facilitation.

Higher education would reorient toward the individual relationships that matter (e.g., student/teacher) and away from institutions (e.g., universities and colleges) that do not.  I believe offering the service through licensed academics in professional society and private practice would also significantly reduce the cost of the service, while improving completion rates, quality, innovation and price competition in the service - all without loss of the face-to-face education characteristic of technological solutions such as MOOCs.

If the mission of RDFRS is to spread rational thought - a cause dear to philosophers’ hearts - then as we know (higher) education is a primary means.  At the moment 100s of thousands of individuals in California alone (not to mention 100+ million individuals world-wide) are on waiting lists with no access to higher education: an acknowledged right and source of culture and instruction in the rational.

If we could improve global access to higher education, we could better achieve the Mission - not to mention the numerous other benefits I believe the professional model can deliver.   

I hope that you find this work of use.  If you have any questions about the model or how I believe it might help realize the RDFRS Mission, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Shawn Warren

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