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Unscientific Aspects of Tradition

To most of the academicians within and outside the United States, the American higher education system is perfect, as it is the ultimate model for the entire world. Almost all of these academicians have absolutely no idea how we have gotten here, and more importantly why this is the best system to be modeled. In university, we teach young students to deal with issues with scientific methods; but when it comes to higher education, unfortunately, we have less scientific approach. 

In our time, the progress of everything is so fast as closely connected with technology. However, today's universities are almost identical to those of 19th century (if not even older centuries). As a matter of fact, academicians are proud to follow traditions. Most people believe that traditions are golden privileges of our past heritage. It is not aimed to make a cultural discussion on this subject here, but at least when it comes to academia, traditions have a dark side. 

What Does Tradition Mean In Academia? 
In general, tradition is a lifestyle, which has been successfully evolved (to survive) in the past. We blindly follow traditions, as they were practically successful, and we do not bother to build new ones. The lifetime of a tradition is until the birth of next creative idea to be dominant in the community. A popular example can be fashion style, but the audience of the fashion industry is the layman who does not claim to spend much intelligence on following fashion style. Do we expect to have the same level of intelligence in following traditions in higher education? To clarify the issue, let us quote some unjustified which are widely followed in higher education. There are lots of similar examples, which may seem ridiculous, but they build the facts of our time higher education. 

Academic Documents: 
Following a tradition, we type academic documents (including research papers, reports, dissertations, etc.) in double-spaced style and waste lots of print sheets much more than what is needed. Remember, wasting paper sheets is cutting off more trees which are essential to the life of the Earth. This is a blind tradition we follow without knowing the reason. When academicians used to write with the aid of classical typewriters, they had to leave enough space for reviewers to annotate on the document. In addition, typewriters could not type in double-column format; thus, long lines should be separated enough for better readability. None of these obligations exists in the computer era. Any word processor can type in well-formatted style (e.g., double columns). On the other hand, reviewers usually receive electronic format and prefer to annotate their comments electronically. We use modern technology in our everyday life, but how it has been simply ignored in the heart of academia. For similar instrumental limitations, publishers preferred to publish scholarly journals in a smaller size to gain easy one-column layout. Nowadays, almost all of journals and magazines are published in multi-column layout. This shows that even the publishing industry has been evolved, but the way of thinking in academia is still deceived by traditions.  

Following this tradition blindly has three significant consequences: 
* Many trees must be cut off with no reason or benefit. Note that ugly unformatted documents printed on excess paper sheets are not a better life, just destroying the environment out of ignorance. So much the worse, it happens in academia. 
* Simply estimate the excess cost of education because of wasting a countless number of paper sheets. 
* We train students for real life, but we follow this typical tradition making our strategy irrational and inefficient. Then, how we can expect the graduates to think rationally to reach maximum efficiency at work? 

Traditionally, academicians should type their resumes with classical typewriters using monospace fonts (all alphabets have the same width with least typography). Now, these fonts are almost obsolete in computer typography (just limited applications for special purposes, e.g. displaying codes within a text), but still, many academicians prepare their resumes with ugly monospace fonts, because it makes their resumes similar to those of classical scientists. One step forward, graphical effects are becoming popular because of new possibilities in computer graphics, but we still believe that an academic resume must be ugly and unformatted.
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