One of the most pleasant aspect of being a Research Fellow is guest lectures. I give guest lectures in a number of different courses, ranging over several faculties and sometimes different universities. This gives me all the things I like about teaching, including (since a change is as good as a holiday) generally attentive audiences, and a chance to present material that’s not the standard textbook, but not new or rigorous enough to justify an academic seminar. On the other hand, all the unpleasant stuff – booking rooms, litigious students complaining about their grades, administrators trying to promote customer-centric shareholder value in a dynamic enterprising university, and so on – is taken care of for me.
I tend to do most of my guest lectures around mid-semester, since this is what fits the standard course structure best, and I’ve got quite a heavy load (by my very relaxed standards) this week. I’m just between lectures, then rushing off to a seminar in town, but I thought I’d pass on the reaction to my lecture today on the economics higher education.
I started with the human capital and screening theories. I’m a violent partisan of human capital theory and opponent of screening theory, and didn’t try to hide this, but my success rate in convincing the students was, based on a small sample, only 50 per cent.
One student came up to me at the end and said “Thank you. I learned a lot”. Another came up to the lecturer responsible for the course and asked “Will this be on the exam?”.
fn1. For those interested, it’s The US-Australia free trade agreement: folly or our future? at a meeting of the Australian Institute for International Relations from 6-7.30pm, April 28 at 46 George Street, Brisbane. For details, contact Colin Kennard (telephone 3371 2454, email firstname.lastname@example.org).