Monday, March 19, 2018

Universities Breaking Down

Powerline’s Steven Hayward has been tracking the break up and break down of American universities. By his lights, universities are now dividing between the STEM fields and the rest. More numbers-based fields like economics will find themselves with the STEM fields. (via Maggie’s Farm)

Hayward explained his thought in a lecture at Arizona State University:

I think we’re already seeing the beginnings of a de facto divorce of universities, in which the STEM fields and other “practical” disciplines essentially split off from the humanities and social sciences, not to mention the more politicized departments.

At this rate eventually many of our leading research universities will bifurcate into marginal fever swamps of radicalism whose majors will be unfit for employment at Starbucks, and a larger campus dedicated to science and technology education.

The break up is starting to happen, he continues, at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. That school has now decided to eliminate a significant number of humanities and social science departments.

He quotes Inside Higher Education:

Programs pegged for closure are American studies, art (excluding graphic design), English (excluding English for teacher certification), French, geography, geoscience, German, history (excluding social science for teacher certification), music literature, philosophy, political science, sociology and Spanish.

Some commentators responded to Hayward by noting that while English and French were being eliminated, the fever swamps of leftist thinking, gender and ethnic studies were not.

Hayward responded:

To which I would say, you’d be astounded at how politicized some foreign language departments are. Many English departments are totally lost to the left; one easy screen is to see whether they have dropped Shakespeare as a requirement for an English degree. When you see that, you can cross them off your list. I’ve already written here about how most Geography departments have become leftist fever swamps that have nothing to do any more with what you’d recognize as “geography,” and I’ll bet “geoscience” is doubtful too. History is often more than half lost to the left, too, though there is more variance in History.

But, Hayward sees a silver lining in it all. Perhaps the English professors who are about to lose their jobs will band together and take out after the identity politics departments and the oppression studies faculties:

It will further isolate the crazy “studies” departments, and may galvanize the faculty members who know, but lack the courage to say, that these “studies” programs are mediocre fever swamps. If more and more tenured faculty in traditional departments face the axe, they just might start to find some courage to say aloud what everyone knows—that the academic emperor of oppression studies isn’t wearing any intellectual clothes.

Calling them “mediocre fever swamps” seems a mite generous to me. They are indoctrination mills designed not only to brainwash students but to make it impossible for them to learn much of anything within the context of the humanities and the social sciences.

I would appear that the students who have suffered this brainwashing are being rendered dysfunctional, unable to function with a normal work environment. Yet, I have been informed by a commenter on this blog that the corporate world has been working to adapt to the dysfunctionality and does not hold young hires responsible for their malformation. If such is the case, we are in worse shape than we think.


Sam L. said...

Soooooo...businesses and corporations are turning to deprogamming new hires?

Walt said...

In a way, that's a shame. Though on the one hand, the tainted humanities are deforming, on the other, do we want a breed of technocrats with no leavening understanding of literature, history, sociology or art?

Anonymous said...

As several have commented on the Stevens Point course reductions...they are the continued razing of the Humanites developed within "western" culture...with the aim of replacement.

It's a very narrow minded class of humanity, left or right, that wants a technocratic ruling class with no historical or cultural background.

This is an attempt to remove and replace, not eliminate.

- shoe

Jack Fisher said...

I cannot get myself worked up over what 22 year olds think or want. Nobody I know is remotely the same as they were in kollege, and everything I wanted to learn about (and that includes humanities) I learned almost exclusively after skool daze ended. For that matter, I doubt I'd even be interested in a 22 year old's insight into Shakespeare.

Sam L. said...

Walt, I think we'd like "a breed of technocrats with no leavening understanding of literature, history, sociology or art" AS TAUGHT NOW. Since they wouldn't understand art, literature, history, or sociology. The real stuff, yes.