One quibble I would mention: towards the beginning of the interview, Hacker says,
I've been teaching for a long time—I won't say how long. In the past 10 or 15 years, I've seen a tremendous over-professionalization of the academic world. Professors are identifying with their arcane disciplines, the minutiae, the esoteric research. Schools get status by bringing on professors who are star researchers, star scholars. That's all we really know about Caltech or MIT or Stanford. We don't really know about the quality of undergraduate teaching at any of these places. And it's the students who suffer.Throughout the remainder of the piece he continues to emphasize liberal scholarship over professionalized research. All well and good, but I think one also has to keep in mind that not all schools were created with the intention of being four-year liberal arts centers of learning. Research universities tend to be more graduate-heavy and focused on research as a part of their mission, and if these institutions have become the prestigious place for students to get an undergraduate degree, well, I think that's more of a problem with or notion of undergraduate college education and not of research as a professionalized enterprise. Maybe we simply shouldn't send our high school seniors to Caltech, MIT, or Stanford rather than trying to make these institutions into something they're not. But all in all, the authors' points are well taken, and so long as we clarify the extent to which research can be a veritable goal in higher (graduate) education, I don't think this bit of critique needs to speak against their wider point.