Graduate education is the Detroit of higher learning. Most graduate programs in American universities produce a product for which there is no market (candidates for teaching positions that do not exist) and develop skills for which there is diminishing demand (research in subfields within subfields and publication in journals read by no one other than a few like-minded colleagues),I disagree. I think overall US graduate education is the envy of the world and is one of the most effective institutions in the USA (besides the car industry, compare research universities to health insurance, public schools, immigration, banks, Wall street, welfare, public housing, ....). Most graduates, particularly in science and engineering are highly sought after by industry... (and until recently Wall St.)... There are certainly things to improve. I did a Ph.D in physics at Princeton and am very familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. system. But overall, I think Taylor's views and arguments are coloured by his own experience. He states:
In my own religion department, for example, we have 10 faculty members, working in eight subfields, with little overlap. And as departments fragment, research and publication become more and more about less and less. Each academic becomes the trustee not of a branch of the sciences, but of limited knowledge that all too often is irrelevant for genuinely important problems. A colleague recently boasted to me that his best student was doing his dissertation on how the medieval theologian Duns Scotus used citations.Unfortunately, I fear this may be an apt description of much research that goes on in religion departments. I certainly would not describe research in the physics department at Columbia in these terms. A return to academic theology, in the tradition of Karl Barth, would go a long way towards addressing the problems of irrelevance plaguing religion departments.