>> ... as opposed to an instructor designing an effective sequence of experiences
I beleive that humans are more than happy and willing to create what you call "an effective sequence of experiences". The problem is most of the time there will be no agreement of what constitutes such a sequence. And in such a situation conformity will operate in full force, and you are stuck with the status quo.
>> There are plenty of policy makers who would be happy >>to get rid of most instructor/teacher contact, and make >> us into tutors and support staff.
Is this is only a wish of policy makers, or sometimes a wish of the instructors themselves ? What I mean is, I seen some university professors lecturing the same lecture year after year at undergrad level(or slightly revised when needed), granting students 1 question / person / lecture, and relaying on TAs for most of the other stuff so they can focus on their research. At least for an outsider eye like mine, it seems such individuals also desire to minimize the interactions with their students.
And if you focus on students and doing great by them, it might be very well a double edged sword. If your research suffers, even if you create a new generation of extremely well prepared students, what will be your reward ? Denial of tenure or something like that ? Or your peers ironically asking what was the last paper you published ?
The irony is, the best researchers are not always the best instructors.
This is not a judgment on anyone. It's only natural to act this way, since the institutionalized educational process is subjected to very powerful socio-psychological and economic factors.