Alan Schrift, professor of philosophy at Grinnell College, has an idea. A very good one, I'd say, and it doesn't involve the market--radical, right? As published in the New Yorker's online letters section:
Adam Gopnik makes many pertinent observations in his essay on the relationship between college athletics and higher education (Comment, May 12th). Unfortunately, measuring higher education itself in terms of “market values” has now become the norm, in both public universities, which have to answer to state legislatures, and élite private universities and liberal-arts colleges. Administrators are increasingly appointed because of their ability and willingness to bring the values of the market to bear on their day-to-day decision-making. This results in an emphasis on job placement and starting salaries for recent graduates, and often in the elimination of foreign-language and other humanities departments, because they add no demonstrable “value” to students. What is most distressing is that many administrators appear to accept the self-evidence of market values. Instead of defending the humanities by arguing for the value of a well-educated citizenry, they defend them only by referring to data showing that, by the time college graduates with degrees in the humanities reach their mid-fifties, they can earn as much as or more than those who majored in pre-professional fields. If we are to escape judging college success in terms of market values and student earning potential, it will be up to educational leaders to make the case for values beyond those of the market.