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Is University Becoming a Waste of Time?

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My daughter is in university psychology and this year on day 1 the teacher said just one thing "white males are the privileged class and we'll be working everything that that starting point". She came home for reading break talking about microagressions.

What was the name and number of the course she was in?

-k

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My daughter is in university psychology and this year on day 1 the teacher said just one thing "white males are the privileged class and we'll be working everything that that starting point".

Whoa wait..."said just one thing"? So your daughter went to class on day 1 and the prof said that quote and then class dismissed?

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Maybe you should read some of the stuff from the Atlantic...

Maybe you should reread the opening post, where whats-his-name-this-week alleges that university is a waste of time now because instead of learning anything people just get politically correct indoctrination.

That doesn't sound like the university I attended, and it doesn't sound like the university you attended either.

I'm sure there are nutty professors teaching nutty students somewhere at the University of Alberta, but I took math, science, and medical courses when I attended, and didn't encounter any of that BS. I doubt you did either, and neither do most students, because most students are in normal programs, not fringe topics.

And yet it's that inconsequential fringe that seems to be the entire focus of the current right-wing obsession with universities.

-k

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I am always curious how many of those who disrespect university education have actually been to university.

Or is this just the same old 'engineers diss the artsies' childish game?

Whatever. It's stupid.

But I'll play a bit:

Q How many engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

A They can't. Too hung over. The bright light would make them barf.

.

Edited by jacee

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Haven't you heard? There aren't engineering students anymore. Universities are just teaching political correct propaganda now.

-k

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Maybe you should reread the opening post, where whats-his-name-this-week alleges that university is a waste of time now because instead of learning anything people just get politically correct indoctrination.

That doesn't sound like the university I attended, and it doesn't sound like the university you attended either.

I'm sure there are nutty professors teaching nutty students somewhere at the University of Alberta, but I took math, science, and medical courses when I attended, and didn't encounter any of that BS. I doubt you did either, and neither do most students, because most students are in normal programs, not fringe topics.

And yet it's that inconsequential fringe that seems to be the entire focus of the current right-wing obsession with universities.

-k

I think it's fairly obvious that technical programs still teach technical things and rarely/never touch on social issues in any of the technical classes. I also think it's fairly widely accepted on all sides of the political spectrum that these technical programs are generally quite beneficial for the student's career prospects, trolling OP aside.

But as for "fringe topics"... how fringe are they, really? Here's a breakdown of Bachelor's degrees conferred in the US by different field of study:

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_322.10.asp

Of the 1.8 million degrees awarded in the last year which has data, only about 500k are in the "hard" science/tech/medical fields you mention.

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Maybe you should reread the opening post, where whats-his-name-this-week alleges that university is a waste of time now because instead of learning anything people just get politically correct indoctrination.

Obviously a wild over exaggeration. Nevertheless, I found some of the stories from the Atlantic to be quite disturbing, and in particular "The Coddling of the American Mind" while referring to US institutions describes some behaviours starting to come into being in Canada in places like Ryerson. Our academics and progressives have always embraced what theirs do, usually a decade or so later.

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I believe that the University experience, like all other experiences, depends on the individual. My observation has been that at least one year attending University has a profound effect on youngsters. The youngster, many for the first time in their lives, is living away from home and coming into contact with other young people their same age but from all over the world.

I have also found that to their surprise, they realize that they are at least as intelligent as their fellow students and have far more in common than different. I believe that to be very important as the youngster develops a sense of self worth and confidence. This is also the first time that the youngster is able to interact with those who are of their similar intelligence, expectations and share their work habits. For most young people this is a very comforting epiphany.

Home coming athletic celebrations, frat parties, political protest groups, listening to world class lecturers and many, many other diversions allow the individual to mature and blossom. The University also appears to be a very efficient dating-leading-to-marriage medium.

All of my children met their eventual spouses while attending University.

I believe that it is imperative that any individual who shows the intellectual ability to handle University pressures, attends at least the first year, as a process to accelerate their maturity into future emotional, psychological and financial development and success.

Edited by Big Guy

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I doubt you did either, and neither do most students, because most students are in normal programs, not fringe topics.

It's not that fringe anymore, especially the number of students that are taking liberal arts, sociology, gender studies, journalism, etc. Plus there are being many program changes to require these 'non-fringe topic' programs to have 'fringe' classes.

Haven't you heard? There aren't engineering students anymore.

Engineers are mostly immune to this stuff but it's finding ways to creep into areas that are not traditionally affected by this stuff. You even having nobel lauraete in biology getting fired over this nonsense. http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/13/tim-hunt-forced-to-resign

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It's not that fringe anymore, especially the number of students that are taking liberal arts, sociology, gender studies, journalism, etc. Plus there are being many program changes to require these 'non-fringe topic' programs to have 'fringe' classes.

Bonam posted a link to a list of degrees in the US. I compared the percentage of students who received degrees in cultural/gender studies, communication/journalism, liberal arts, sociology (included philosophy, theology, psych etc as well) in 1970 (as a percentage of total degrees) to the percentage of those who received degrees in the same areas in 2012 (as a percentage of total degrees again). The percentage of students taking what many consider soft degrees in 2012 is about the same (I found it to be a little lower) as it was in 1970.

As to changes that now require "non-fringe topic" programs to have "fringe" classes - I haven't witnessed that through my experiences. When Carl Sagan did his undergrad there were several non-science required courses (philosophy, english etc). When I did my biochem and molecular biology undergrad every required course was either in bio, chem, physics or math.

Engineers are mostly immune to this stuff but it's finding ways to creep into areas that are not traditionally affected by this stuff. You even having nobel lauraete in biology getting fired over this nonsense. http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/13/tim-hunt-forced-to-resign

I consider this incident to have much more to do with how social media works, and how businesses, including universities respond to this new phenomenon. Similar non-university examples are discussed in Jon Ronson's book "So, You've Been Publicly Shamed." The uproar was based in general social media, not among students and faculty (who as far as I can tell generally supported him).

Edited by biotk

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Obviously a wild over exaggeration. Nevertheless, I found some of the stories from the Atlantic to be quite disturbing, and in particular "The Coddling of the American Mind" while referring to US institutions describes some behaviours starting to come into being in Canada in places like Ryerson. Our academics and progressives have always embraced what theirs do, usually a decade or so later.

While many of our progressives are already embracing the things mentioned in the article, very few academics on either side of the border are. The article also lists a lot of factors that have cause this change, and while university administration does appear to be one factor, the professors themselves do not appear to be. Other factors that were talked about include the change of parenting style (more fear based, helicopter, coddling, not letting them solve their own problems), social media etc. I grew up before those changes, but I believe that I see many of these same changes in my own friends on facebook despite few of them having gone to university (and none currently). As people self-restrict the groups/media/news etc that they receive many appear to be becoming increasingly unable to handle or accept, when they leave their bubbles, that others have different views. Campbell and Manning have referred to it as a transition from a culture of dignity (which itself arose from a culture of honour) to a culture of victimhood ("in which people are encouraged to respond to even the slightest unintentional offense, as in an honor culture. But they must not obtain redress on their own; they must appeal for help to powerful others or administrative bodies, to whom they must make the case that they have been victimized."

As for the professors - from the article you posted:

The American Association of University Professors’ report on these warnings, which notes, “The presumption that students need to be protected rather than challenged in a classroom is at once infantilizing and anti-intellectual.”

From the Canadian Association of University Teachers: "Trigger warnings are inimical to the academic enterprise"

Edited by biotk

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Maybe you should read some of the stuff from the Atlantic...

According to posts in the Microaggression thread, the Atlantic is being sensational about it's depiction of Universities being a cesspool of Political Correctness and a places that actually stifles real debate.

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Obviously a wild over exaggeration. Nevertheless, I found some of the stories from the Atlantic to be quite disturbing, and in particular "The Coddling of the American Mind" while referring to US institutions describes some behaviours starting to come into being in Canada in places like Ryerson. Our academics and progressives have always embraced what theirs do, usually a decade or so later.

Isn't this whole discussion an exercise in wild exaggeration?

How many university students are there in Canada and the US? Somewhere over a million at the very least? And what are we actually talking about in this thread? A few radicals at a handful of colleges? The University of Missouri has over 35,000 students, but a couple of dozen radical protesters apparently represent all of them. I haven't actually bothered to research the situation... but is it possible that they actually had a point in saying that the chancellor had an obligation to do more?

I'd suggest that the prevalence of nonsense like "safe spaces" and "trigger warnings" is being sensationalized because it makes for headlines and appeals to the kind of people who are looking for confirmation of their existing biases that young people aren't capable of dealing with reality.

And, I would once again that when whats-his-face started the thread, he wasn't even talking about that stuff, he was alleging that universities are centers of socialist indoctrination, which sounds like an idea that was cribbed straight from Republican talking points.

-k

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According to posts in the Microaggression thread, the Atlantic is being sensational about it's depiction of Universities being a cesspool of Political Correctness and a places that actually stifles real debate.

Actually the complaints about that particular article were that it attempts to conflate two separate ideas-- "trigger warnings", which is a ridiculous notion, and "microaggression", which is a completely reasonable idea that we can probably all relate to at some degree.

I will get back in that thread and elaborate on the point further; I've been taking a holiday from it.

-k

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I happened to come across this by accident and thought it was an astonishing revelation into the closed and intolerant minds of progressives. If anyone wants to know where these people get their sulky, victimhood ideology, well, it's at universities. The first is about an ongoing campus campaign at Yale, where hundreds of students are trying to get a pair of professors fired because one of them wrote an email which suggested that it was wrong to tell students what kind of Halloween costumes they could wear (not kidding). The other is about that mess at the University of Missouri, where the president recently resigned because, apparently, he wasn't active enough in condemning a few minor episodes of racism.

It shows just how, in the words of the Atlantic, progressive students 'catastrophize' minor incidents into huge and horrific insults to themselves, and become enraged whenever anyone disagrees, and tries to shut them down and prevent them from speaking - or even existing.

Personally, I'd simply expel every one of them as being unfit for higher education.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/the-new-intolerance-of-student-activism-at-yale/414810/

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/how-campus-activists-are-weaponizing-the-safe-space/415080/

University students have always been highly activist. You should not be a professor or a dean if you have an opinion that racism should be acceptable. Its as simple as that. Its not the place for you, go open a redneck bar or do something. Its like if you hate gays then don't go into fashion, or if you hate jews don't go into entertainment, it won't end well for you. All what would happen is that these professors would end up getting the school sued for millions that they would end up paying out.

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University students have always been highly activist. You should not be a professor or a dean if you have an opinion that racism should be acceptable. Its as simple as that. Its not the place for you, go open a redneck bar or do something. Its like if you hate gays then don't go into fashion, or if you hate jews don't go into entertainment, it won't end well for you. All what would happen is that these professors would end up getting the school sued for millions that they would end up paying out.

The question becomes which professor or dean thought racism was acceptable. Not to mention... what is racism? Some people find racism everywhere they look, and have no need of supporting evidence.

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The question becomes which professor or dean thought racism was acceptable. Not to mention... what is racism? Some people find racism everywhere they look, and have no need of supporting evidence.

The ones who were resigning and being fired. The dean was trying to sweep the racism at his school under the rug. Clearly the students felt it was such an enormous problem, so as to make this become an international news story. I think if you have racial slurs being used on your campus against multiple students you have a race problem on your campus. When you have students engaging in mocking other races using historically racist imagery you have a racism problem. When you have people drawing swasitkas of feces on original students school boards you have a racism problem. If you deny that, you are part of the problem. A president needs to look for solutions and not pretend discrimination and racism isn't occuring.

Ironically, the president of the university could have simply got one of those very bright professors who teach about racism from the african studies department at Mizzou to advise him on the proper way to deal with these issues. Instead he chose to do what was probably his gut reaction and a bad reaction which was to deny and cover up.

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Some people find racism everywhere they look, and have no need of supporting evidence.

'Everything is sexist, everything is racist, everything is homophobic and you have to point it all out!' -Anita Sarkeesian

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You guys keep asking for evidence, I can give you evidence but you have to understand that the phenomena of bias and indoctrination in schools and universities is mostly slow, gradual and subtle.

Someone posted this on asexuality.org today (random example):

I'm kind of annoyed with my English teacher right now because she essentially uses her classroom as a soapbox. When she had us read The Awakening, she said that the girls who didn't sympathize with Edna were reading it wrong (context: Edna lives around the turn of the 20th century in New Orleans. Her husband is kind but kind of controlling, and she eventually cheats on him with 2 different men and abandons her kids). Basically she went on this huge spiel about how Edna didn't have a choice but to do what she did back then.

Next, she had us watch a video about systemic racism read pieces by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brent Staples, two well-known black authors, to supplement our Huck Finn/ Native Son reading. The pieces made several good points about race in society, which is something that ties in to what we're supposed to be learning in English class. The problem is that she took one viewpoint on the pieces/issue and preached it as gospel truth. Now, that viewpoint (that society is designed to screw over women and minorities) may or may not be correct, but that's not the point. My point is that teachers should show both sides and let students develop their own interpretations rather than spoon-feed them.

Has anybody else had a problem with a politically motivated teacher?

http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/129202-politics-in-the-classroom/

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You guys keep asking for evidence, I can give you evidence ..

Has anybody else had a problem with a politically motivated teacher?

...

Perhaps it is time to focus on the message rather than the messenger.

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Haven't you heard? There aren't engineering students anymore. Universities are just teaching political correct propaganda now.

-k

Kimmy, Six munts agoo I cud nut evin spill engineer, now I is one.

Sure but it takes creativity and intelligence to survive some of the insanity engineering students brought down on themselves.

Been there had the T shirt.

-1=e^ipi nails it; academia is stupidity personified, self righteous and ignorant fools stroking each other's egos

There is no real world grounding any more.

At one time European Engineering students had to have a ticket in the trades, before the universities would accept them.

Then they were encouraged to work school holidays in the field.

Now they don't see real world until certified.

The ever relaxing standards have produced ignorant arrogant entitled masters, who cannot conceive their wisdom is not..

Soon the professional engineering associations will be seeking immunity from prosecution, rather than up their game.

Kimmy, I can tell you are young and don't have the real world experience to understand the nuances of this thread. But you will gain understanding as you mature. trust me.

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Perhaps it is time to focus on the message rather than the messenger.

I cannot help myself, I am immensely cheered to see the Diploma Mills reap what they have sown.

Their product is so toxic it cannot even clear the production line.

Taking money to indoctrinate/"educate" these unpersons is so micro-aggressive.

This is how the committees always implode, they get so righteous and quick to condemn all who fail their own level of irrationality, that they eat their own.

Quick send condiments, let the progressives enjoy their 5 minutes of hate as they consume their birthplace.

We are already well past the point where a university degree is a positive , when hiring competent staff.

Far too many have come out illiterate,illogical and rabidly dangerous to most business aims.

For some reason these products cannot conceive of the need for profit, in business.

Which is why private industry shuns them, with certain exceptions, most of the more useless grads infest government at every level, or human resources and safety in the big private bureaucracies. Where they systematically ensure only the most malleable & ignorant are hired into the corporate structure. Where the executive branch cannot understand why they are short skilled workers, "there is a shortage" .

Can't fix stupid, skilled workers also have independence of thought and choices, hardly compatible with the zombie HR mandate.

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