If by "academia" you mean "doctoral and post-doc programs," then research remains a high priority. Almost zero original research is done at the masters level and below. In fact, either I'm a whole hell of a lot smarter today than I was thirty years ago, or I sailed through my masters program in part because they're dumbed-down these days as a means of graduating nearly everyone who is accepted. Academic standards apply at the door. Beyond that, even the inept will graduate provided they put in the basic work.