Monday, November 28, 2011

On the "Cutting Edge" of Academic Decline

The late Philip Rieff once quipped that our modern universities are re-educating students who haven't yet been educated. My own university, Tulane, is about to take another step toward becoming a re-education camp with nice gym facilities.  A proposed "academic" program in Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, strongly encouraged by the university administration, will probably be approved in the near future. It will offer a minor that will teach students how to become "changemakers." That doesn't mean they'll become experts in swapping dollars for Euros or Yuan at favorable rates. It aims to train them as activist cadres.  The proposal for the minor in SISE is explicit about its ideological goals. In a document consisting largely of buzzwords, shibboleth, and clich├ęs, the organizers of this program describe the SISE "toolkit" as teaching intellectual, normative, and imaginative "ways of thinking and knowing." It identifies the "normative" portion as "social justice and ecological sustainability."
Contemporary academics do often think alike.  My discipline, sociology, may well be more intellectually conformist than most. But in most mainstream fields of study, the absence of free thought is at least de facto, rather than de jure. Now, we will have a program designed and openly intended to indoctrinate the students. 

3 comments:

  1. Yet another useless specialty.
    I'm sure the tuition will be free. LOL

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  2. And I thought my double major from Tulane in German and History made me unemployable...if only I would have minored in "changemaking", I would have been a much better post graduate bartender...not feeling much Green Wave pride here...

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  3. This is preposterous!!! American employers want mindless robots who spew this nonsense about innovation, excellence, and integrity. In fact they prize debt burdened products of inflated grading systems that socially and academically squelch any intellectualism.

    Putting "change" in any form on a resume is career suicide. To state that one has a degree in change is likely to relegate the individual to permament unemployability.

    This is a serious concern. There are maybe a dozen companies in the United States that want somebody to come on board and stir the pot with leadership and innovation. America did not get to it's present precipitous position by seeking or rewarding "change" or inellectual-academic excellence.

    If this were a country that valued academic excellence and responsibility the for profit education market would be loaded with demanding and competitive schools rather than diloma mills that perform little more than money laundering for US tax dollars distributed through Title IV programs. Clearly the moral decay has infected all sectors of education. Does the term "collusion" come to mind?

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