Hemorrhaging Brains: Implicationsof Massification to Identification and Retention of Intellectual Talent in HEIs. Dr. Michael wainaina Graduate school Kenyatta university, Nairobi, kenya.
Introduction – A confession, a Question and Trivia Confession: I support strategies for securing equity in access and success in Higher Education Question: When it comes to academics and intellectual endowment, are all men equal? Trivia…
Who is it?He immigrated to the United States from Russia at the ageof six. He earned his undergraduate degree at theUniversity of Maryland. After graduation, he moved toStanford to acquire a Ph.D in computer science. There hemet Larry Page, with whom he later became friends. Theycrammed their dormitory room with inexpensivecomputers and applied his data mining system to build asuperior search engine. The program became popular atStanford and they dropped out of their PhD studies tostart up Google in a rented garage.
Who is it Cont’dHe majored in business administration at HowardUniversity, producing weekly dance parties and running anairport shuttle service while attending classes. Hedropped out to pursue an internship at Uptown Records,which led to a talent director position. In 2002, he wasnamed one of the 40 Richest People Under 40 by Fortunemagazine. With a current estimated net worth of over $300million, he has become something of an American icon and,against all odds, one of the countrys most successfulentrepreneurs.
Who is it…Cont’dHe started his first computer company as a student at the University of Texas at Austin. His grandparents helped fund the company, and he dropped out of college to run his company, PC’s Limited. PC’s Limited ultimately became Dell, Inc.
Who is it…Cont’dHe developed Facebook in his school dorm. Now ithas become one of the world’s most popular socialnetworking site. As Facebooks popularity exploded,he chose to drop out and relocated his company toCalifornia. According to Forbes, he is the youngestbillionaire in the world, with a 2010 net worth of 4billion U.S. dollars.
Who is it…Writer, comedian, film director and actor, he is anAmerican icon and a New York legend who has beeninfluencing art and cinema since the 1960s. Knownas a neurotic intellectual, he began his comediccareer at just 16, when he began writing. He attendedNew York University, but was eventuallyexpelled.
•What is it aboutUniversities thatmakes it difficultfor geniuses tosurvive andthrive…Do weeven know thatthey were everthere? What is thelesson ofcivilization thatthe Universitynever taught us?
What is the Mandate of the University in Knowledge Production AgendaIdentification, Training and Retaining of IntellectualTalent – Attracting and retaining the best brains ofeach generation– Not loosing it!The University has self-serving and practical reasonsto identify, train and retain the best intellectualtalent of every generation – they need it for theirown survival
What are the trends in HE in this Region?Massification- As a result of Increased AccessManagerialism – As a result of demands toincrease and manage HEI’s revenues efficiently andmanage massification
Massification Trends:◦ Willing (able) buyer - willing seller approach to financing education (It used to be that if you are intellectually gifted, you will go to the University at the state’s cost)◦ Now, if you are marginally gifted, you can access university education that you can pay for!◦ There is no guarantee that intellectually gifted people will find their way into the University, and chances are that they will not be missed.◦ If they make it, they find themselves in a mass of HE seekers with varied motivations, few of which have to do with academic excellence.
Managerialism as both Cause and Solution to Massification Managerialism as CauseThere has been a move in HEI’s to push for the maximumeconomic efficiency and value-for-money, on theassumption that the increased productivity and wealth thatare generated will ensure the welfare of allIn this view, the higher education policies are orientedtowards political economic wisdom; cost recoveryCurricula is being oriented to perceived labor-marketdemands, and there is infusion of the culture of businessinto university management
Managerialism As SolutionEducation is a business and that institutions offeringthe programs are in a ‘competitive marketplace’ inwhich their survival depends upon their attractingsufficient customers.With increased enrollment , we need more ofmanagerialist approaches to manage the increasedstudent numbers!We are so concerned with the fate of the masses wehave enrolled that the minority intellectually giftedhave been left to fend for themselves!
The Gifted - What is the most difficult part of climbing the ladder?
What should University “outputs” be?Universities are not judged by the number ofstudents they enroll or even graduate!!They are judged by the quantity and quality ofresearch output both in terms of scientific papers,products, patents, Nobel winners among othersHow is Africa doing in this regard? Nobel winners?
Obama’s tribute to Steve Jobs“Steve was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently,bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.
The Gifted – A marginalized PopulationCharacteristics of the Gifted They generally possess a persistent intellectual curiosity along with superior abilities to reason, generalize, and problem solve. They often display a wide range of interests and the perseverance to develop one or more of these interests to considerable depth. Many set high standards for themselves and enjoy intellectual challenge. They show initiative, originality, and/or flexibility in thinking with the ability to consider problems from a number of viewpoints.
Characteristics of the gifted cont’d Are keen observers and are generally responsive to new ideas. They often show social poise or an ability to communicate with adults in a mature wayMy argument is that in the face of massification and managerialism, this group needs special academic and social support for identification, completion and retention…(As opposed to Identification, retention and completion for the regulars)
Myths about the Gifted Students (…And why they need academic and social support?)Gifted students do not need help. If they are really gifted they can manage on their own. have fewer problems than others because their intelligence and abilities somehow exempt them from the hassles of daily life. their future is assured – a world of opportunities awaits. are self-directed; they know where they are heading. their social and emotional development is at the same level as their intellectual development.
they are nerds and social isolates.Their primary value lies in their brain power.Their family always prizes their abilities.They can accomplish anything they put theirminds to.They are naturally creative and do not needencouragement.They are easy to raise and a welcome addition toany classroom.
Why do they need Social and Academic Support They get bored with routine tasks. Resist changing away from interesting topics or activities, or disagree vocally with others. They may be overly critical of themselves or others, impatient with failure, and perfectionistic. They may tend to ignore details, turning in messy work or reject authority, be non-conforming, and stubborn. gifted students often have a tendency to be highly sensitive to environmental stimuli such as lights and noises, which they have difficulty tuning out.
Why do they need academic and social support?Gifted students may experience heightenedsensitivity to their own expectations and those ofothers, resulting in guilt over achievement orgrades perceived to be low.Gifted students exhibit asynchronous development– their chronological age, social, physical,emotional, and intellectual development may all beat different levels.Gifted students are problem solvers who benefitfrom working on open-ended, interdisciplinaryproblems.
Gifted students often think abstractly and with suchcomplexity that they may need help with concretestudy and test-taking skills. For example, they may notbe able to select one answer on a multiple choicequestion because they see possibilities in all choices.Gifted students may be so far ahead of their peersthat they know more than half the curriculumbefore the semester begins. Their boredom canresult in low achievement and poor grades.
Strategies for Academic and Social Support for the intellectually giftedMy position is that in the face of massification inAfrican Universities , talent development cannot bean ad hoc affair and it is too important to be leftentirely to the professoriate (it self under pressurefrom massification), departments and faculties“Intellectual Resources and Talent Management”Units need to be established alongside those thatexist to support equity, access and successThese should be charged with the responsibility ofsetting up mechanisms of identifying and supportingintellectually talented individuals to “be all they canbe”…we don’t even know what!!
Example…of HaemorrhageKenyatta University Graduate School regulationsallow exceptional students admitted for mastersdegree to have their registration changed to adoctorate degree provided the candidate has shownexceptionally good progress in their research90,000 (30% of all who sit exams qualify), 30,000get admitted and it used to be less than10,000…about 10% of the 30%)Yet not a single time has this regulation beenactivated in the last 25 years!!
What are the dangers of not having these support systems? The gifted will dropout of college…what happens to them when they do? What happened to the Steve Jobs who never became Steve Jobs? Those who finish will join everyone else in what everyone else does… The Universities will suffer from intellectual anemia…when all we have to work with is everyone else We shall never know what we lost…we know what happened to those of us who finished college …none of us became Steve Jobs!! Their marginalization undermines the knowledge economy – If we are in the knowledge economy, our most valuable resource are brains and more so the best brains