Thursday, November 04, 2004

Talk About Shaky Logic....

I have to highlight a comment from a gentle reader to the post about faculty on the left not insisting that their students make good arguments. Here is the comment:

...Well, yes, but that goes for faculty on the right, too.Your view on what is wrong with undergraduate education is way too simplistic.Do you really think things would be that different if most professors were right-leaning as opposed to left-leaning?The problem is that of faculty rewarding students for reaching the 'correct' (substantive) conclusions, as opposed to rewarding students for careful thought, logical argument, honest use of data, etc.Students simply reflect the problem with academics of the right and of the left: strong convictions, shaky logic.

I have two responses.
1. The statement here is true: far-rightist faculty might well impose their views on students, too. The statement is equally true of unicorns, or Santa Claus, or other nonexistent beasts. THERE ARE NO RIGHTIST FACULTY, homeslice.
2. Still, the claim above in italics does have value, in that it highlights what the solution is NOT. I agree with the gentle reader that the solution is not to hire conservative faculty who ALSO force students to parrot their views. As has been said elsewhere:

Michael Munger, chair of the political science department, was not so quick to dismiss DCU's arguments, although he noted that a balance of political affiliations within a department is not necessarily the answer.
"The solution is not to have 15 Republicans and 15 Democrats in one department. If everybody forced students to write papers based on a faculty member's particular perspective, that's still not diversity," he said. Rather, he said, the classroom, not the department, must be depoliticized.

ATSRTWT. Or this. And, my larger comments, either transcript or (beautifully) visually. Damn, I was great that night.


Anonymous said...

I have sympathy with the need to depoliticize the classroom, but that might involve eliminating a few departments created for political reasons--think anything ending in "Studies" (except, of course for Canadian Studies which is vital to the progress of civilization as we know it)

There's also the "small" unit on most American campuses known affectionately as the Division of Student Affairs (or as I like to call it "The re-education brigade") who see a "crisis" when people challenge the rationale for "diversity" and central planning when it comes to housing's Duke's Quad system working?


Anonymous said...

Forgot my most important point...would the Killer have the stomach to wage a fight to eliminate leftwing subsidiaries of the university posing as academic departments? A six pack of Molson for you if you take up the cause!