Take a handful of young, impressionable people who are searching for knowledge, add a charismatic kind of guy who’s on a mission to convert you, and you’ve got yourself a cult. Slowly the mission-guy places his thoughts in their minds and, for want of a better word, they’re brainwashed.
However, the thing about cult mentality is that it extends to normal life; and in a way, this same process occurs in university education. An under-graduate could well be part of a watered-down cult, so his independence of thought could well be degraded.
This is particularly so with ‘top’ professors. Sure of themselves, they tend to be single minded, and there’s a real possibility that the students don’t even get a rounded education in the subject, but simply HIS ideals.
But in general I think education is suffering today by the requirement to teach for work rather than teach for education’s sake. This, combined with increasing numbers going to university, leads to a degrading of initiative and other values that used to be important. It is producing a bland mediocracy, led by a new generation of dumbed down graduates.
Of course, many in universities argue we’re not dumbed down, but maybe it is unnoticed by passing generations. By this, I mean that a professor from the 1980s would disagree that dumbing down has occurred by the 2000s because he relates it to his intellect, which he could not possibly admit has dumbed down since the 1960s.