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GRE Issue 73: Universities Should Require All Faculty To Spend Time Working Outside The Academic World - With A Free Essay Reivew
Colleges and universities should require all faculty to spend time working outside the academic world in professions relevant to the courses they teach.
Write a response in which you discuss your views on the policy and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider the possible consequences of implementing the policy and explain how these consequences shape your position.
The statement claims that colleges and universities should require all faculty to spend time working outside the academic world in professions relevant to the courses they teach. It is true that spending time working outside the academic world is beneficial to professors because it would help faculty put theory into practice and broaden their visions. On the other hand, when it comes to some disciplines, especially abstract science, such as discrete mathematics or theoretical physics, teachers are more likely to enrich their knowledge in universities and colleges since these subjects need teachers to think or calculate rather than hands-on activities.
If this policity were implemented, teachers working in practical science could benefit a lot. Working outside the academic world, these teachers would have the chance to enrich their knowledge and improve their skills. With this knowledge they get from practice, teachers not only have a much better understanding of these subjects than previously but also could impart experience to students, assisting them to master practical skills easily. For example, with the rapid development of technology and industry, some fields update dramatically fast. Professors in computer programming are likely to experience the rapid change of knowledge of this subject. Often, some programming ideas are distinct from ones from textbooks. For the sake of getting the latest knowledge, it is the best way for these professors to work in noted IT companies where the newest thoughts appear and are applied to projects. Otherwise, quite a few professors would just retell the knowledge they learn from textbooks or their teachers once told. Therefore, like computer programming, practical subjects are suitable for teachers to spend time working outside the academic world so as to gain the latest knowledge and hone their skills.
However, in other fields, professors are unlikely learn a lot when this policy is implemented. Some subjects, different from practical science, are far more abstract. Due to this property, the best way for these teachers is to work in colleges and universities. It is widely acknowledged that as for abstract science, the hypotheses could hardly be utilized in industry and enterprises. Always, industries would put theories into practice when only these theories become mature and sound. As a result, working outside could not provide professors with enough opportunities to prove their hypotheses as well as revising them. Take teachers of theoretical physics for example. They spend most of their time thinking, calculating and testing their hypothesis by computers. They do not need to go to other places since their laboratories in colleges satisfy their needs and requirements. Throughout history, we can also see that in most cases, theories were created in colleges and universities instead of outside the academic world. Hence, carrying out this policy would not be beneficial a lot to professors of abstract fields very much.
In conclusion, this policy is favorable for some professors of practical science as they have chances to practice and improve their abilities. However, when it comes to teachers who teach abstract science, this policy is not suitable for them because they might not prove their hypothesis outside the academic world.
Your discussion of the consequences of implementing the policy is limited to the positive consequences for teachers of requiring those in the practical sciences to spend time working outside academia. You see no positive consequences of requiring teachers of pure science to do the same. Both of your arguments in that respect seem good to me, but it is a slightly limited approach to the prompt. You donít explicitly discuss the possible benefits to students of the policy, although it is implicit in what you say; and you donít discuss the possible benefits to society. You also donít discuss the possible negative consequences in either case, and presumably there might be some negative consequences for faculty who are forced to interrupt their research, and their teaching, to work in the so-called real world. (And if the policy were that faculty should have worked outside academia before taking up their university posts, then presumably some of the positive consequences, such as the one you mention in the case of the computer science professor, might no longer apply).
Finally, you donít discuss anything other than consequences. Youíre required to discuss consequences, but you are also free to consider other approaches to evaluating the policy. For instance, it might be argued that the separation between academia and the world beyond plays an important role in creating a space for the free, disinterested pursuit of knowledge. Of course, you could address that point, too, by way of a consideration of the possible consequences of the policy, but it would not be strictly necessary to do so.