America’s real unemployment rate might be in double digits but in the world of higher education, there are positions you never knew existed. For example, “Chelsea Clinton, the only child of former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, grabbed headlines recently when NBC News hired her as a special correspondent to report on the charitable work of everyday Americans,” Ian Wilhelm reports in The Chronicle of Higher Education. “More quietly, Ms. Clinton also serves as an assistant vice provost for the Global Network University at New York University.”
“She took the job in 2010, after working in the financial-services sector and earning a master’s degree in public health at Columbia University. Among other tasks at NYU, she has helped to craft a strategy to recruit the best students and faculty members from around the world.”
Meanwhile, John K. Wilson of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has come upon an opening that provides a microcosmic snapshot of the vacuity at the heart of higher education today. “Here’s an actual job posting at the University of Chicago,” he writes on his Academe blog.
“Executive Director, Intellectual Capital: Chicago Booth seeks to better exploit the wealth of intellectual capital created by its faculty,” the posting reads. “The Executive Director, Intellectual Capital serves as the Chief Knowledge Officer, and is charged with creating a vision for sharing and disseminating that intellectual capital and overseeing the implementation of that vision.”
“Chief Knowledge Officer?” Wilson asks incredulously. “Exploit the wealth of faculty intellectual capital?”
“Reading more of the job description doesn’t make it any more comprehensible: ‘Build and lead an effective team of a few domain specialists that helps accomplish responsibilities.’”
“Obviously, I’m not qualified for this job because I can’t begin to fathom what the hell this person is supposed to be doing, beyond creating more excellent and meaningless business school catchphrases,” Wilson concludes.
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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