If you don't eat yer meat,
you can't have any pudding.
How can you have any pudding
if you don't eat yer meat?
--Another Brick in the Wall,
Don't know much about geography
Don't know much trigonometry
Don't know much about algebra
Don't know what a slide rule is for
--Wonderful World, Sam Cooke
The president of Arizona State University, Michael M. Crow, blasted Florida Governor Rick "Pink Slip" Scott today in Slate for lacking vision when he insisted our schools graduate more students in the STEM (science, engineering, technology and math) disciplines (America Needs Broadly Educated Citizens, Even Anthropologists). At least, I think that's what he was saying.
While applauding Mr. Crow's efforts, we feel he is the hapless victim of academese, as witnessed in the below statements:
"It is essential that we develop in our students the ability to understand the complexity and interrelatedness of our cultural, economic, natural, political, social, and technological systems. The point here is that we need all of the skill sets from anthropology to zoology as well as transdisciplinary perspectives to reinvigorate programs in civil engineering. Inspired engineering, in other words, could come as a consequence of familiarity with the development of counterpoint in Baroque music or cell biology. Or even the construction methods of indigenous tribes."
"[C]onstruction methods of indigenous tribes"? Well, don't that just beat all? Not only politically-correct, but abstruse enough that one does not know whether to cry or champion the suggestion. A "counterpoint in Baroque music or cell biology"? Yer, good luck with that.
Problem with academics -- and their think-tank brethren in politics -- is they concern themselves with sounding erudite within their discipline. Out here, we don't know what the heck they are talking about. That student with the indigenous tribe construction + Baroque music achievement . . . um, where is his job? I fear we will have to outsource him to Vanuatu.
We shall leave you with a final dose of the reason you got sick and tired of college:
"Every student should have an understanding of complexity and sustainability and decision-making matched with a general awareness of entrepreneurship and business. From this breadth of experience, students gain the perspective and focus necessary to succeed in any academic field and subsequent career trajectory. Given the multiple dimensions and global interconnectedness of many professional sectors, the trend toward choosing two or even three majors is entirely appropriate. Needless to say, the challenge is to design universities that have the capacity to produce such individuals who are also ready to work within the contexts of initially narrower assignments."
The "Multiple dimensions and global interconnectedness of many professional sectors"? Two -- or even THREE majors? Not too many students have the wherewithal, financially or otherwise, for such a pleasant dalliance in the halls of academia. What they need is a J-O-B. Thanks, Mr. Crow, but personally, we would need some Bennies to stay awake during your esteemed presentation.
Thanks for giving it the old college try, though. Boo yah.