Dr Williams – who will be discussing her views at the Barbican in London later this month at the Institute of Ideas’ Battle of Ideas Festival – said that during her own English degree, it was immersion in the subject that had made her “employable, and a different person”.
“That transformed me and gave me confidence, the intellectual struggle of having to confront challenging new concepts and coming out the other end having mastered that body of knowledge,” she said.
But today, she said, the stress on satisfaction and employability meant that academics were not pushing students hard enough intellectually.
“Students are likely to be unhappy if you ask them to read two books before next week, and happier if it’s one journal article you’ve already photocopied for them. Whether they will learn as much is another matter,” she said.
Although she applauded optional workshops in employability skills, Dr Williams said that she had no time for “specialised academics such as philosophers trying to teach employability skills”.
Read full story.