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Scott de Montevideo!

Wisconsin Plan to eliminate Liberal Arts at the University of Wisconsin

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Posted (edited)

Not everyone has a predilection for a love of knowledge and education. (I'd wager that most do only to a very limited degree and furthermore this love should already be fostered in small children and high school kids, it is no specific to higher education) Why should such a love be a condition for getting a decent job? There is nothing wrong with "trade schools" focused on practical training. The only problem is when ALL universities are turned into trade schools or when all de facto trade schools want to be universities and subsequently fail both as universities and as trade schools because in the end their students know neither Latin nor Accounting.

As for "critical thinking skills": Why has a population that has a higher percentage of degrees than any other in history (I assume that this is roughly true of the US, it certainly is true in most western countries) elected a buffoonish con man as leader and CiC? If this had been the purpose of higher education it has utterly failed for some time already.

Edited by Jo498

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Jo498 said:

Not everyone has a predilection for a love of knowledge and education. (I'd wager that most do only to a very limited degree and furthermore this love should already be fostered in small children and high school kids, it is no specific to higher education) Why should such a love be a condition for getting a decent job? There is nothing wrong with "trade schools" focused on practical training. The only problem is when ALL universities are turned into trade schools or when all de facto trade schools want to be universities and subsequently fail both as universities and as trade schools because in the end their students know neither Latin nor Accounting.

As for "critical thinking skills": Why has a population that has a higher percentage of degrees than any other in history (I assume that this is roughly true of the US, it certainly is true in most western countries) elected a buffoonish con man as leader and CiC? If this had been the purpose of higher education it has utterly failed for some time already.

When election time comes around,  people for reasons only  known only to them , turn of their common sense and simply vote for what sounds the best  

Edited by GAROVORKIN

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15 hours ago, kairparavel said:

Also, it's one campus in the entire U-WI system. A campus that looks on the map to be fairly remote? Hard to say exactly but major cities like Madison, Milwaukee and even Green Bay look hours away. Anyone with familiarity with the area please correct me.

This is an important item that has gone unaddressed.

Wisconsin is a geographically big with a widely distributed state university system. For many residents who desire in-state tuition to curb expenses, they may not want to travel all the way to the main campus in Madison or one of the other satellite campuses. Having an option for a full UW education close to home is a big boon for residents in that area. Diminishing the offerings of a campus, especially something as universal to colleges as liberal arts, is not a good sign.

Each one of the campuses may have its known specialty, but keeping the liberal arts as an option is a no-brainer, especially in the farther reaches like Superior, Whitewater, Platteville, etc.  It's something that ties the state together.

Scott Walker might be great for cutting taxes, but he's doing damage to the long term of a well regarded university system.

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15 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

As long as I still get my cheese.

Wisconsin cheese is fake cheese. Pay the extra money for the good stuff!

 

12 hours ago, King Ned Stark said:

Most people love knowledge, 

 

10 hours ago, Altherion said:

I've met very few people who are outright dismissive of learning

What world are you two living in? Currently the zeitgeist is to reject knowledge and expertise and embrace “information” that reinforces your world view. People today would rather watch a reality T.V. show than read a book that expands their world. We’re in the Age of Information, and yet people are openly yearning for the dumbing down of their world.

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, kairparavel said:

They are seeking to eliminate majors but not courses, so there is opportunity for students to still learn about liberal arts as electives.

Sure, but some people want to enter into academia as their career path, and eliminating the ability to major in their respective fields is detrimental to their chances of success, especially given how incredibly hyper competitive job recruitment in academia already is. 

17 hours ago, kairparavel said:

Also, it's one campus in the entire U-WI system. A campus that looks on the map to be fairly remote? Hard to say exactly but major cities like Madison, Milwaukee and even Green Bay look hours away. Anyone with familiarity with the area please correct me.

UW Stevens Point is one of the larger campuses in the state (it is larger than UW Green Bay), with enrollment of about 9,500. I'd say of the 13 four-year universities, it is probably about the 6th largest, as a guess. There are also 13 one to two-year colleges in the UW System. A lot of people in the rural areas surrounding Stevens Point depend on the campus as an affordable and accessible means to pursue a four-year education. Stevens Point itself has a population of ~26,000, which is fairly large for Wisconsin. 

17 hours ago, kairparavel said:

What's being proposed is sort of like a high end trade school which in and of itself isn't awful. Especially as it could fall under the umbrella of supply and demand business decision. On it's own I don't look at it as a terrible thing (though I don't think it's awesome either). From a societal perspective is it wise to keep churning out highly-educated, unemployable young people with mountains of student debt or is it better to fill employment needs, in particular at a public school? 

Subsidizing more trade schools is not a bad idea, but I don't think the proper means to do that is to convert-by-defunding one of the four-year options that central Wisconsinites have available. 

 

Edited by IamMe90

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Posted (edited)

Colleges and universities, private and public, are investing their funds into sports teams and the infrastructure that supports sports -- and donors go for that.  They don't go for endowments that support writing programs or programs that think.  Though the Big Alt Right etc. donors do go for endowing programs and chairs that support their agendas.  Also salaries for the support of those who chase the Donors, and where they can do it, and places to entertain the Donors.  But not every school has any of this.

Next week I'll be at a Big Name University in the South and where I'll stay, where I'll be dined, etc. will be very very very nice.  Travel is paid, nice honorarium paid. Go out to ------ College -- and they can't even pay the subway fair for me to get there. Which is why ------- College needs us more -- but they can't support us, and there's no one who cares who has the money to help them do so.  It's appalling. 

As for enrollment in Political Science declining -- it's thoroughly clear the MONEY in politics is having the tech - digital skills to run with a Cambridge Analytica etc.

 

 

Edited by Zorral

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1 hour ago, Zorral said:

As for enrollment in Political Science declining -- it's thoroughly clear the MONEY in politics is having the tech - digital skills to run with a Cambridge Analytica etc.

Employing big data is a huge movement within the discipline, and has been for awhile.  It's why I've kept quiet about the recent uproar.

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5 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

Wisconsin cheese is fake cheese. Pay the extra money for the good stuff!

 

 

What world are you two living in? Currently the zeitgeist is to reject knowledge and expertise and embrace “information” that reinforces your world view. People today would rather watch a reality T.V. show than read a book that expands their world. We’re in the Age of Information, and yet people are openly yearning for the dumbing down of their world.

Gah, I know right? Both about the cheese and the hatred of knowledge. "alt facts"

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16 hours ago, Altherion said:

Third, academia cannot be ideologically opposed to half the country forever. It can (and, in fact, must!) generate new ideas which will no doubt temporarily put it at odds with various sectors of society at times -- but it cannot remain in this state for decades when the sector in question is large. Academia's response thus far has been some mix of elitist quipping (along the lines of "We can't help it if you hate the truth, ha ha") and the treatment of the people who are increasingly distrustful of them as some sort of exotic species of animal.

Well, I'm with @dmc515 here: academia is naturally at odds with conservatism to begin with.
It doesn't help that many of the core values of present-day conservatism indeed don't square well with facts.

Let's take a -rather- uncontroversial example: belief in God. Even with all the goodwill in the world, there's nothing much academia can do to give the amount of respect to faith that conservatives would want. Academia can approach faith through philosophical, psychological, historical, or comparative approaches (to name but a few), but all of them will only seriously put one's faith in perspective.
And then, any study or theory that would aim at respecting religious beliefs would have serious methodological issues. We've seen that with creationism, but that's only the most glaring example. To some extent, the blind belief in the values on unfettered capitalism also stem from an irrational belief in divine justice. Hatred for feminism or homosexuality also takes root in an idealized view of the "traditional" family that are linked to religion. As regard all these issues, conservatism hasn't built its policies on facts, but on beliefs, values or principles ; it has even attempted to create erroneous facts or dismiss inconvenient ones. You yourself do that on a regular basis as a matter of fact.
There are *some* issues on which the left is not as much fact-based as I'd like and where left and right could actually find a compromise - if they wanted to. But these can hardly be called "ideological" issues.

Because finally, there's the matter of what you mean by "ideologically opposed." As far as I'm concerned, the left-right divide is still essentially socio-economic, rather than socio-cultural. By definition "ideology" is supposed to be mainly about politics and economy, and on that front the left is way more solid, and could even gather popular support easily if the right's propaganda was less efficient. By attempting to redefine left-right in essentially socio-cultural terms and changin the meaning of "idology" you are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

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Sorry, did you ever study the history of academia? I thought you were a political scientist? Certainly you know better than to perpetuate facile self-congratulatory myths like "critical thinking, naturally opposed to faith/conservative values" etc.? For most of their history, including much of the 20th century, universities were not opposed to "half of the country" (I don't even know if this is true nowadays) but firm defenders of "faith and status quo". (And I am not talking about the middle ages but the late 19th and early 20th century.)

There were a few far out people although in former times they could also be far out in other ways than far left (after all the Chicago boys were also academics of some sorts) but Haidt had a graph in one of his talks on youtube that for the first half or two thirds of the 20th century or so faculty of American universities was not quite evenly divided between "left" and "right" (it tended slightly more left than the populace) but there was not a huge imbalance. Haidt thus shows that the current imbalance is fairly recent and obviously far more pronounced in some sections than in others. He thinks that this is problem because it seriously restricts the breadth of discourse. A pity that he does not seem to realize that it is only the opposition of facts vs. irrational values that naturally lead the smart and educated people to the left...

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Posted (edited)

yeah, considering western academia grew out of monasteries and then universities grew out of church sponsored instruction and that a huge amount of interest in science and developing the scientific method was so that the church could prove theological assertions.

the idea that western academia has been opposed to western religion is just wrong until the post war era, and even still, religion was and is deeply embedded in both higher and lower education. I mean just look at British public schools, a lot of them probably still have mandatory daily morning chapel even today, they certainly did fifty years ago. up until recent times you couldn't even become a western academic without being a rather stalwart participant in western religion. 

Theological oversight was a problem for the development of human knowledge, indeed, it may be a signal reason why so much work was luckily done by idle rentiers like Descartes who were possessed of an excess of income and of curiosity and became amateur researchers but weren't subjected to the religious restrictions a dean might impose.

on the other hand, I would not be surprised if most of the work of the development of knowledge was done by universities like Jena and the rentiers simply loved bleating overly excessively about themselves and their greatness. interesting question, did the relentless self-promotion of the rentier amateur researchers lead to the commensurate adoption of the publish or perish mentality by the universities in order to compete with the rentiers? or the other way around? which came first, chicken or egg? 

Unfortunately, the problem with religion sponsored education (or charity work) is of course rather well illustrated by British public schools, they certainly did not educate everyone, only a very select few.  This innate and sweeping discrimination of religion sponsored education is seen as its signal virtue by those who benefitted from being amongst the select. 

Arguably, it's the separation of church and education with publicly funded universal schooling (through high school in America) that has had a century-ish long slow motion effect of freeing western academia from the baleful oversights of religious superiors. Absent non-religious education for the masses, pretty much all academics would still be overwhelmingly religious and religiously oriented.

Edited by lokisnow

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Posted (edited)

@Jo498  I was genuinely puzzled by your message for a moment there.
It seems I should have really written science instead of academia.
A rather small number of academics move science forward at any given time. This is an evolution that I think is naturally at odds with conservatism.
Academia, as in the community of academics, is a completely different beast indeed.
Funnily enough, come to think of it, and unlike many, I view it as rather conservative even today, har har.

Edited by Rippounet

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Posted (edited)

What does the future hold for higher  educational institutions , if this becomes a trend.?:(

Edited by GAROVORKIN

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This isn't a trend.  It's the feature for a long time already.

It means that higher education and particularly study of humanties and arts are to be confined only to theose who don't need to make a living, just as it was for most of the history of the world.   Except for what weren't considered arts back in the day such as dance and acting, which were mostly slaves back in the day.

Higher education was intended only for the elites from the beginning.  We're going back to that.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, GAROVORKIN said:

What does the future hold for higher  educational institutions , if this becomes a trend.?:(

A reset to realistic value?  I know a guy who has a four year degree and works in a factory.  Colleges have bamboozled the majority of the population into believing a college degree is necessary and somehow makes you superior.  My daughters college costs close to 50,000 a year; that’s beyond absurd.  The gall to charge that and tell people with a straight face that you care about the kids.  College doesn’t teach you how to do your job, your company or firm does that.  I could do my job without my degree. 

As someone who went through kindergarten-college (and didn’t get brainwashed into thinking that somehow makes me superior) it seems to me that a goodly portion of what is taught in school is completely unnecessary.  I guess it all comes back to money.

Tywin,

Most people want to be smarter, you and I included; whether they have the discipline to educate them self is an entirely different matter.  I would emphasize “educate yourself” because even professors can have an agenda; and there is a difference in knowledge and wisdom.  Knowledge is about facts and ideas that we acquire through study, research, observation, investigation, etc.  Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge which aspects of that knowledge are true, right, lasting, and applicable in life.  I am more proud of my daughter when she tells me she challenged her professor than if she said she memorized something the night before a test.  As I said, teachers should teach kids how to think, not what to think.

Edited by King Ned Stark

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Zorral said:

This isn't a trend.  It's the feature for a long time already.

It means that higher education and particularly study of humanties and arts are to be confined only to theose who don't need to make a living, just as it was for most of the history of the world.   Except for what weren't considered arts back in the day such as dance and acting, which were mostly slaves back in the day.

Higher education was intended only for the elites from the beginning.  We're going back to that.

 

An Autocracy with a much diminished middle working class. 

Edited by GAROVORKIN

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20 hours ago, dmc515 said:

Why not?  Academia has been "opposed," or perceived as such, the ideological right for time immemorial.  That's because academia is epistemologically based on continually building upon knowledge, an inherently progressive endeavor that will by definition be anathema to a conservative ideology.

As several people have pointed out, this is not the case unless "time immemorial" means something quite different from what most people usually take it to. Furthermore, even given the fact that there was indeed an interval of time when academia was opposed to the right, this still does not mean that it can sustain this indefinitely. The reason is fairly simple: money. It has grown much faster than the economy and is now so huge that it cannot afford to antagonize large parts of society.

11 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

What world are you two living in? Currently the zeitgeist is to reject knowledge and expertise and embrace “information” that reinforces your world view. People today would rather watch a reality T.V. show than read a book that expands their world. We’re in the Age of Information, and yet people are openly yearning for the dumbing down of their world.

This is not new: many people love knowledge in principle, but are simply too lazy in practice. :) What I meant was that they at least respect math, physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, medicine, the English canon (e.g. Shakespeare) and so on. The stuff that is rejected is mostly contemporary propaganda.

2 hours ago, Rippounet said:

It seems I should have really written science instead of academia.
A rather small number of academics move science forward at any given time. This is an evolution that I think is naturally at odds with conservatism.

Not really. Science has very little to say about most of the issues in the long post where you quote me (i.e. the traditional family, religion, etc.) and can be used by practically any ideology to further its own ends. Science and its applications (technology, medicine, etc.) have routinely been held up as reasons why given ideological positions are how the world should be and even more often enabled certain ways of life, but in fact they are nearly silent on most questions which are still debated today. For example, electronics and machine learning are enabling China to build the most surveilled state the world has ever seen, but science says nothing about whether or not this is a good idea.

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1 hour ago, GAROVORKIN said:

An Autocracy with a much diminished middle working class. 

Bot.

 

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19 minutes ago, Altherion said:

This is not new: many people love knowledge in principle, but are simply too lazy in practice. :) What I meant was that they at least respect math, physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, medicine, the English canon (e.g. Shakespeare) and so on. The stuff that is rejected is mostly contemporary propaganda

Do they? Anti-vaccers, Climate change deniers, creationists, flat earthers, homeopathy, GMO-scare mongers, etc. None of those things seem very respectful to me. I've heard to many politicians say some variant to "standing up to experts" to think that the public at large truly respects knowledge.

Quote

Not really. Science has very little to say about most of the issues in the long post where you quote me (i.e. the traditional family, religion, etc.) and can be used by practically any ideology to further its own ends. Science and its applications (technology, medicine, etc.) have routinely been held up as reasons why given ideological positions are how the world should be and even more often enabled certain ways of life, but in fact they are nearly silent on most questions which are still debated today. For example, electronics and machine learning are enabling China to build the most surveilled state the world has ever seen, but science says nothing about whether or not this is a good idea.

Science does not directly say anything about religion, or the traditional family, but indirectly it has said so much that many commonly held positions of religious basis are now fringe positions in most of the western world. The notable exception being the US. Same goes for the idea of the "traditional family" in large part revealing that no such thing exists.

I'd say much the same on whether something is a good idea or not. Directly perhaps not, but it you're not using science indirectly to inform you on whether something is a good idea than I don't know how you do do it.

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