I stumbled upon a very interesting and spot-on article by Leslie Jensen-Inman over at A List Apart. The opening line caught my immediate interest:
"Let’s face it. Technology moves fast; academia doesn’t."
As a web designer in an academic environment I often find myself at odds with my collegues and their view of how data should be discovered and delivered. Her article is very well done and she calls on many examples from other frustrated webbies as well. From web designer Rob Wychert
"Hire faculty that are motivated to maintain their own continuing self-education (just as many of us in the work force do, largely via the blogosphere), and have schools fund it whenever possible (conferences, workshops, seminars, etc.). I hear too many horror stories about schools teaching sorely outdated practices. As much as I’m sure budget constraints are a problem, I can’t get my head around the idea of hiring professors who lack the curiosity to keep up with what’s going on in the web design/development world. It moves too fast. Hire people willing to keep up with it."
And from Jeff Croft:
"Hire instructors that are relevant. By and large, educational institutions are not doing this…I was contacted by a large university about teaching web design and was quite interested. Then they found out I had no graduate-level degree. So instead, they hired a retired Java programmer to teach, ‘web design.’ Huh? Most of the relevant folks in the industry today don’t have graduate-level degrees in web design or development. Why? Because web design and development programs didn’t exist when we came through school. Most of us stopped going to school as soon as we realized the schools weren’t teaching us anything relevant.
To be more relevant, colleges and universities are going to have to get over their accreditation standards and hire the people doing great work on the web today to teach. That’s really the only way…Likewise, they can’t expect the same folks that have been teaching graphic design for 30 years to really be competent web design teachers. They need new blood—people that really understand this stuff and are passionate about it."
Worth a read.