February 16, 2016

Embracing Computer Programming and Business law, UW students run from Problems of American Racial and Ethnic Minorities and Introduction to American Politics and Government.




These kids today! So practical, so averse to the wisdom of their elders...

For more analysis, here's the Cap Times article "Introductory politics class suffers biggest enrollment loss at UW-Madison over last 10 years."
Overall, UW-Madison officials have noted a trend toward higher interest in STEM courses — science, technology, engineering and math — as well as health disciplines.

"We still provide students a liberal arts education and have general education that requires breadth," Associate Provost Jocelyn Milner said. "But we do see more students wanting to take those gateway courses into the sciences and then stay around in majors that are sciences."

95 comments:

LYNNDH said...

Ah, where the jobs are. Beating feet to a better future. Maybe Gloria S. might say "to where the boys are".

Big Mike said...

These kids today! So practical, so averse to the wisdom of their elders...

Depends on which "elders" you are talking about. I'd counsel them to take computer programming and business and I'm almost 70.

Nonapod said...

Maybe this new pack of kids isn't as naive as I thought they were. Maybe people are tired of drama and want to avoid it as much as possible?

Well, probably not, but it's a nice thought.

n.n said...

Positive progress. Whether it is social relations or consensus, people will discover a balance despite the divisiveness of class diversity and partisan politics.

Alexander said...

Given a choice between being told information that will yield a solid paycheck, and being told you are a filthy white racist, students are choosing the former.

I'd say color me shocked, but that might be a micro-aggression these days.

tds said...

So all those social justice crazies are moving to STEM studies? Poor nerds: harassed at high-school by jocks, and later at university by delicate, easily triggered flowers.

traditionalguy said...

And what about Pre-Law. That usually meant Poli-Sci and History. But those two have been declared irrelevant in the Age of Digital Oligarchy.

The Chinese Language Program should be booming.

buwaya said...

"so averse to the wisdom of their elders..."

If Politics and Sociology are the wisdom of their elders, well...

"Maybe this new pack of kids isn't as naive as I thought they were."

No they aren't. As I have seen, most have a sense of apprehension. That's a good instinct.
As that annoying show has it, "Winter is coming".

MadisonMan said...

Good.

My one kid in college took a computer programming course last semester. Mostly he takes math and physics classes.

D. B. Light said...

The solution is obvious -- the government should pass a law mandating that all students, whatever their field of study, have to have a minor in Sociology/Critical Race Theory.

Bay Area Guy said...

Gee, I wonder why the switch?

"Introductory to American Politics and Government" is a very nice, neutral, unbiased class description, excellent!

The sub-title, "--how white privileged Americans are wrecking the aspirations of the LGBT and minority populations with their racist, outdated allegiance to the paper documents of dead, white males!"

coupe said...

I took computer programming in 1970, then in college, of course it was now a 'science' so computer science was part of the Arts and Sciences department.

Then the Electrical Engineering students felt that the CS students had no math skills, so they created Computer Engineering, and required math all the way up to rocket science.

When I worked for the Bond market after I retired from the military, I was always amused, that unlike Electrical Engineers who ran things, Computer Engineers always worked for someone else who ran things.

I remember one guy saying he would respect me more with an Engineering degree, and I told him I'm a scientist. I don't need to stoop, I can hire two for one.

Anyway, it was true. The CS guys in my group were all top pay, and the Engineers were less.

God forbid you had a Political Science degree. You were in the tower with all the other $10 an hour clerks.

But anyway, I make $8.65 an hour now, and live like a king on my pension (tax exempt in Oklahoma). The only chance my pension fund will run out, is if the US treasury defaults. I give them another ten years, and I give myself about three.

Then I'm going to put a pillow "over my head."

Tank said...

So, moving toward becoming a vocational school then.

If that's what it is to be, let's call it that.

Wisconsin Vocational School for Business and Computers.

buwaya said...

" I was always amused, that unlike Electrical Engineers who ran things"

They no longer run things.

Fritz said...

Oh great, more dolphin huggers.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

You know, you can get courses on Computer Programming for free from MIT

https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-computer-science-mitx-6-00-1x-6?utm_source=OCW&utm_medium=CHP&utm_campaign=OCW

This one has the advantage of using Python, a language that is actually used in the real world and one that you will see as a requirement in job listings.

When I took programming in college I was forced to use Pascal, a language used only in college programming courses.

chuck said...

I wouldn't call sociology and political science liberal arts. Greek, latin, and the classics would qualify, art history also, but sociology and political science are closer to basket weaving.

Eric said...

Depends on which "elders" you are talking about.

And what "wisdom".

Ah, well, have no fear. The SJWs will simply make the "White Men Very Bad!" classes mandatory.

James Pawlak said...

Are universities for education or training? Should students seeking one or the other pay the same tuition as the latter are vastly more likely to pay higher income taxes than the former?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Or, as a ACM member, I can take a Python course online for free from them at anytime.

tim in vermont said...

I know a couple of graduated sociology majors who feel majorly ripped off. And not by "The Man" or the "patriarchy" either.

tim in vermont said...

Wisconsin Vocational School for Business and Computers.

And we could have a sister college "Wisconsin School of Political Indoctrination."

tim in vermont said...

Face it, if Millennials had better educations, they wouldn't be shitting pickles over their student loans.

TosaGuy said...

Reading the article, the deans of the poli sci and sociology departments dutifully lament loss of faculty to other universities, hiring more adjuncts and having fewer graduate assistants available to explain the decline in class enrollment.

The deans overseeing the gaining classes did not remark about how they overcame staffing issues for their increased course enrollments.


Excuses vs. execution. This history major laments what has become of the liberal arts.

Ron Winkleheimer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron Winkleheimer said...

And we could have a sister college "Wisconsin School of Political Indoctrination.

Where we could be awarded degrees in grievance studies.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

A grievance studies degree really should be a BA, but it needs to be a BS.

Michael McClain said...

Beats majoring in Byzantine Medieval Feminist Poetry.

YoungHegelian said...

So practical, so averse to the wisdom of their elders...

I agree with the others upthread who find little evidence of "wisdom" in the choices offered. While I certainly don't think there would be a horde of students beating down the door to take some "real" wisdom (e.g. An Introduction to the Platonic Dialogues, or How to Read the Pentateuch), there's always a core group of students who aren't looking for the easy way through, & know quality when they see it.

holdfast said...

If anyone still in college is reading this blog, my one piece of advice would be - take some goddam accounting courses. Doesn't matter what your major is - you might one day be an Art Historian running your own curation service or auction house. If you want to go to law school you'll need accounting for business law, and you'll need it in the business of running a law firm.

pm317 said...

Now their parents all complain about H1B visa and vote for Trump.

mikeyes said...

It's hard to open a Philosophy Shop (one of my majors) but a degree in Philosophy is a good gateway to law school or medical school. I think that what is happening to the enrollment figures is simple practicality and the introduction of tech in everyday to life drawing young people to it.

One of my college classmates (I graduated in 1965) was in the interview stage of his Harvard Ph.D (English) application when they asked him why he took Quantum Mechanics. This was a mistake on his transcript (but he did get an A) and he was unaware of the mistake until then. "I thought is sounded interesting", he replied. I think this may have been one of the reasons he was accepted into their program. Something to think about even if you are not interested in STEM.

The Godfather said...

Generations are important. I was born in 1943, so I grew up in the '50's. We were that privileged post-war generation for which economic insecurity was unheard of by the middle and upper-middle class, even for the working class. (I'm white; I know it was different for the black and brown, but even for them, things were getting better than they had been.) Our parents had lived through the Great Depression and WW2, and we heard their stories, but all the doors of opportunity were open for us. So we didn't worry about security, we valued self-expression, and intellectual attainment, and new ideas, and new experiences. We were the hippies, the anti-war protestors, the drug experimenters, the ones who mocked the man in the gray flannel suit. Most of us outgrew that crap pretty quickly after college, although not all.

A student who entered college as a freshperson this academic year was born around 1997. What was the world he/she grew up in like? He/she was too young to experience the 9/11 attacks, but grew up in a war time era, and in an era in which the initial consensus for war frayed and broke. He/she was old enough to experience how the Great Recession, and the very slow and incomplete recovery from it, effected his/her family. Although he/she is not threatened by a draft, the horrendous events occurring in the middle east, and spilling over into Europe and even the US are part of the world he/she deals with.

Is it any surprise that some members of this generation want to learn skills that will give them some financial security in the challenging world they face. Is it any surprise that some (not all of them by any means) are skeptical about the academics and opinion-mongers who seem still to be fixated on issues that were hot in their grandparents' day?

Peter said...

"So, moving toward becoming a vocational school then."

Or perhaps the ideological stench of some of the alternatives has become too rank to ignore?

Or perhaps students have noticed that software and business law are remaking their world in important ways, and therefore they'd like a few clues on what's going on in these fields?

So many possibilities beyond "it's becoming a vocational school then."

Paul Snively said...

Actually, "computer science," "computer engineering," and "computer programming" are three distinct disciplines, with virtually nothing in common but the word "computer" in their names. On the hiring side of the desk in the software industry, I'm always gratified when I find a candidate who exhibits fluency in both the first and the last. But I really wish universities would quit teaching the last and calling it the first.

ddh said...

If the sociology and political science professors [not to mention the humanities faculty] were teaching something worth learning, the students would enroll. The sad thing is that these subjects could be worthwhile, but often are not, given the obsessions of many academics these days.

Clyde said...

As much as a college education costs these days, the kids damn well better be looking at courses that will help them pay off those college loans. Social science doesn't feed the bulldog.

buwaya said...

"Byzantine Medieval Feminist Poetry."
I don't know, this could be good, if rigorously done.
Granted that there is such a thing as "Byzantine Medieval Feminist Poetry".
It should require fluency in Greek, Latin, Aramaic, possibly Coptic and Arabic, and for all I know medieval French, Slavonic and etc.
Plus history, Christian theology, poetics, etc.
Pretty good general languages and liberal arts major.
There are (much) worse things.

Rick said...

I think more people should take "Problems of American Racial and Ethnic Minorities". The biggest problem we have politically is that the American left is able to misbrand itself. I took a similar class as a freshman and it cured me from thinking I was a liberal by week two. The class was politically themed instead of sociology but since it functioned as a group hate session I suspect the discipline doesn't matter much.

But maybe kids today have already learned this lesson? Yay - internet.

TosaGuy said...

"I don't know, this could be good, if rigorously done."

That is the problem, so few liberal arts majors at the bachelors level can be considered rigorous, hence there are many mediocre graduates with these degrees. Anyone who wants to excel in these areas automatically has to go to grad school.

EDH said...

Makes me wonder whether all the high-profile strident activism of late signals a death throe rather than a resurgence -- a last ditch, "top down" effort by professional SJW types to preserve their unsustainable parasitism in academia, media and government.

Wilbur said...

Political science.

Sorta' like Vern Gagne was a scientific wrestler.

PB said...

Gee, we can't allow this kind of free choice at public institutions. Students must be tested and assigned a course of study, with appropriate diversity considerations. What are you going to do with all those professors teaching stuff no one wants to study?

Bay Area Guy said...

I would take "Byzantine Medieval Feminist Poetry," if the girls were good looking. Heck, that's basically why I took French for 2 years in College.

coupe said...

I haven't been around colleges in decades, but I always felt that teachers, like airline pilots should not be able to get a license after their 65th birthday.

I'm not saying it would be fair, but you have to push out the old, and make room for the new.

That alone would weed-out a lot of unmarketable degrees.

Char Char Binks said...

Education is a scam. Some people have talent, some don't.

tim in vermont said...

If anyone still in college is reading this blog, my one piece of advice would be - take some goddam accounting courses.

Yes yes yes. Business Law too! You will never sit there two years after graduation regretting that you took a couple accounting courses and an introduction to business law.

Ron Winkleheimer said...


@Clyde

Especially since failure to pay your student loans can end up with you going to jail

http://www.fox26houston.com/news/local-news/92232732-story

Bruce Hayden said...

Reading the article, the deans of the poli sci and sociology departments dutifully lament loss of faculty to other universities, hiring more adjuncts and having fewer graduate assistants available to explain the decline in class enrollment.

I think to some extent, that it works the other way, that class popularity typically results in more graduate assistants, etc., instead of cutting them to cause the decline in class enrollment.

My kid is in their third year of a STEM PhD, and one of the things that surprised me is how much all of this revolves around research funding. Their advisor has jumped from 2 grad students to nearly a dozen (including a couple of postdocs, and an engineer or two) in his research group, in that time, because he is good at getting research funding. They have all sorts of funding sources, from DoE to the military to private companies. My question has long been, who funds the PhDs for sociology, political science, music appreciation, or even gender studies?

Owen said...

Great comments by Holdfast (take accounting) and Godfather (different generations).

I think computer programming may be a step toward "take accounting," in the sense that it should instill a respect for things-as-they-are. You cannot get by with ambiguity in programming. Computers don't care what you meant to say. And they definitely don't care how you feel.

Maybe the solution is "Programming for Accountants."

As for different generations, I totally agree that we need to put ourselves in the shoes of the new students. Their experience base is enormously different from that of the Boomers. And the thing we all keep forgetting about Boomers is how they swamped other cohorts and as they move on, retire, die off, the cultural center of gravity is going to move somewhere else. The topics and attitudes so cherished by the gray ponytails will become increasingly irrelevant and even incomprehensible; especially when a violent and impoverished reality is pressing in on the new generation.

Bruce Hayden said...

Or, as a ACM member, I can take a Python course online for free from them at anytime.

For those who don't know - ACM here presumably means the Association for Computing Machinery. I joined in the late 1970s, and dropped out a couple decades later, because they were letting non-members write their IP articles, instead of members who had better backgrounds. And, as I had moved from software engineering to patent law by then, I was no longer keeping up with all the articles for all the SIGs (Special Interest Groups) that I belonged to. For the last twenty or so years, I have spent my time and energy with the IEEE (Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers) instead, which has been much more involved in IP matters than the ACM has been.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Gee. My youngest was aiming for an advanced degree in Intra-Minority Counselling Co-ordination.

Bruce Hayden said...

If anyone still in college is reading this blog, my one piece of advice would be - take some goddam accounting courses.

My father, through his almost 50 years of the practice of law, complained about this problem with lawyers. How can you advise clients in business matters without the basics of being able to understand balance sheets and income statements? Of course, he was biased, with his mother teaching accounting in the business school where he got his bachelor's degree (and I got my MBA). I enjoyed accounting, ultimately taking enough classes to sit for the CPA exam, but couldn't see doing it for a living. Programming, and then patent law, were much more fun.

I always felt that business law classes were pretty bogus, but I grew up in a family where that is what the father did every day. It is one of those things that you don't know that you know it, until you take the class, and it all seems so basic. But, then again, most people aren't raised by an attorney father who did this sort of thing for a living. I did end up taking it as an undergraduate, then for my MBA, and ultimately several related classes in law school (corporations, unicorporated associations, corporate tax, UCC, etc.) And, then managed to use very little of it in the intervening years.

Francisco D said...

Does this mean that the Hank Reardens of society are more important to our advancement than the Wesley Mouch's and James Taggart's?

That must be depressing to the Democrats/Socialists.


- Cisco

Craig Landon said...

I think Prof. Althouse should have a post hoc "Diamond" tag re certain posts/threads, and that this should be one of them.

Paul said...

Yes it's jobs jobs jobs.

Ain't the Obama economy wonderful.

So many of them still live with their mommies and daddies l, e an in their 30s, cause of this wonderful Obama economy.

Tough nuts.

Bruce Hayden said...

Actually, "computer science," "computer engineering," and "computer programming" are three distinct disciplines, with virtually nothing in common but the word "computer" in their names. On the hiring side of the desk in the software industry, I'm always gratified when I find a candidate who exhibits fluency in both the first and the last. But I really wish universities would quit teaching the last and calling it the first.

Is the problem that they are not getting enough of the theory? You really do need to learn to program to be decent at computer science. I didn't realize this when I first took computer science classes in graduate school. But, then, after 15 years as a software engineer (etc), I took some more CS classes, and realized that the average CS grad student wasn't that good at programming. I could write a couple hundred lines of code in an hour or so, and it would work. The others in the class would spend a dozen hours, and spend a bunch more debugging their programs. The difference was the 15 years where I did it most every day. It is just one of those things that you get better at with practice.

I do think though that I also saw the opposite problem, with a lot of the people I worked with able to code quickly, but without the background that CS classes give you, such as Data Structures, Operating Systems, Programming Languages, etc. I probably can't count the number of bad sort routines I have seen over the years from decent programmers - stuff that they would have known how to do if they had had a decent CS background. Ditto for data communications modules hanging up with the addition of multiple sessions. Etc.

Oshbgosh said...

I'd tell them to become licensed plumbers. No one can outsource your job to Mexico or China.

buwaya said...

" Intra-Minority Counselling Co-ordination "

You joke, but this could actually be the next big thing.
What do you do in a place where everyone is a minority and everyone hates each other ?
That is the human condition after all.
There will be a great need for mediating services.

Big Mike said...

@Bruce Hayden, last year I retired from a 45 year career making computers do cool things, first as a programmer, then as a team lead, then as software architect, and finally as a systems architect. I agree with everything you wrote.

Michael K said...

The sub-title, "--how white privileged Americans are wrecking the aspirations of the LGBT and minority populations with their racist, outdated allegiance to the paper documents of dead, white males!"

This is why "Humanities" are a waste of time and money.

I was an English major when I took premed after going back to school from my engineering job. I still have some of my books.

It was a pleasure but we read about 25 plays and had exams that required us to remember lines from the play and explain what they meant. I still remember a quiz I flunked because I had not read Wordsworth's Lucy Poems. I had to interpret the stanza,

"No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth's diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees."

That was 1959 and I still remember it.

I doubt Professor Cilck's students remember her lessons.

spaz said...

I'm sorry to see the drop in second semester Spanish, though. Spanish is, after all, the lovin' tongue.

wildswan said...

In the Political Science class, PS 104, which lost the most students it has been the same professor since 2004. The students like him, say he is fair, well prepared, funny. But the comments on Rat My Professor which say that the material in the book is dry and boring and the course is difficult and time-consuming increase with every passing year. Although this is a course on how government works, political science, there is absolutely no reference to how enduring American institutions are related to each other in the era of the internet and social media or how the citizen is viewed by government in the era of Big Data or how software identities of voters differ from personal identities. It's a standard Thirties study of institutions and the power of money; you wouldn't know how to fit in Trump and Sanders but you would know how to do Nixon, Clinton, the first George Bush, Hillary. "The times they are a-changing" but political science as it is taught is not.

It's my theory that the humanities are being very badly taught and hence the decline.

richardsson said...

I used to teach the equivalent of Political Science 104 in California community colleges where it was a required course. I had waiting lists 5 times the size of the course. Many of my students were not native speakers of English, which made the course especially difficult being such a hodge podge of English, French, and Latin words. I never gave tricky tests. I let my students argue among each other, but I never took sides. I was not a lefty hack. I don't think the decline of the liberal arts is only because it doesn't teach workplace skills. I think the liberal arts have declined because they have been corrupted by the long march of Marxism through higher education. These SJW's are in for a very rude awakening.

Mark said...

A glimmer of hope.

The Cracker Emcee said...

My son and his STEM peers are reassuringly contemptuous of the U-Dub's SJW rabble, viewing it pretty much as a freak show.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

so averse to the wisdom of their elders...

Two points:

1. Wisdom is a subjective term.

2. I would expect a lot of them have seen their older siblings rotting in Mom & Dad's basement because an expensive MFA doesn't qualify you for much more than a job at Starbuck's.

jimbino said...

Strange to contrast STEM and Liberal Arts, since the liberal arts comprise literature, languages, art history, music history, philosophy, history, mathematics, psychology, and science. Maybe contrasting STEM and the Liberal Arts with the Humanities would be more apt.

It's noteworthy that almost all our SCOTUS justices are and have been humanities majors, with nary a one, including Scalia, sophisticated in STEM, and of course it shows. They're heavy on English, history, poly sci and other wishy-washy humanities. Breyer in his youth, at least, showed special promise in math.

MayBee said...

My son and his STEM peers are reassuringly contemptuous of the U-Dub's SJW rabble, viewing it pretty much as a freak show.

Yeah, it occurs to me the SJW types are more social media and public relations inclined. So perhaps their opinion is over represented in the public eye.
I actually think most college kids and millennials are wonderfully normal.

MayBee said...

My own kids tell me now they were embarrassed by the participation ribbons, even as kids. I think kids like them, who felt like that, have done just fine.

The Godfather said...

If I were an 18-year-old trust fund baby, I'd major in history, and minor in English lit or art history. It used to be that there were a lot of trust fund babies in college (no so many in the land-grant colleges of course), but those days are gone, and a student who isn't a trust-fund baby shouldn't take on a nickel of debt for a degree in history, English lit, or art.

Sal said...

Byzantine Medieval Feminist Poetry is something you study in the evenings at home after you graduate from college and have a job. If you still want to, but you probably won't.

ken in tx said...

A college student gave a presentation recently at our church. She seemed like a nice girl. She graduated from a private secondary school that our church supports. However her college major was Sustainability and Social Justice. Having been exposed to these terms on the internet, I was not surprised, but I was disappointed.

Rusty said...

jimbino said...
Strange to contrast STEM and Liberal Arts, since the liberal arts comprise literature, languages, art history, music history, philosophy, history, mathematics, psychology, and science. Maybe contrasting STEM and the Liberal Arts with the Humanities would be more apt.

It's noteworthy that almost all our SCOTUS justices are and have been humanities majors, with nary a one, including Scalia, sophisticated in STEM, and of course it shows. They're heavy on English, history, poly sci and other wishy-washy humanities. Breyer in his youth, at least, showed special promise in math.

Also noteworthy almost all leading scientists have been some sort of science majors.


While I'm sure your time in the humanities has been well spent It's less than usaeless when designing and building a potable water supply.

Every once in awhile, at work, I might throw in an appropriate qoute from Shakespear while in a meeting about threadlockers.

Rusty said...

Oh. And women think guys that know how to do stuff are sexy.

Terry said...

There was a time, not that long ago, when women were assumed to be excluded from math and engineering by the Dark Powers. Breaking down barriers would give women the freedom to go where their hearts take them -- engineering and math!
After a half century of feminism and very aggressive efforts to introduce women to engineering and math, they are still male-dominated fields.
So now women must be forced into those disciplines, willy-nilly. Women who choose more traditional roles are to be shamed.
At least this time around the dark forces are easier to identify.

Michael K said...

"I think the liberal arts have declined because they have been corrupted by the long march of Marxism through higher education. These SJW's are in for a very rude awakening."

Yes and the comment about accounting courses is also right on. I tried to get my youngest daughter, who majored in French, to take accounting. Now she says maybe she will go back and take some classes.

I was OK with French as it requires some discipline and that is what bachelors degrees are about these days.

Her general ed classes were full of lies.

Eric Landgraf said...

ANN,
What is this wisdom you speak of? The wisdom of the BOOMERS? Surely you type in jest!

buwaya puti said...

Byzantine Medieval Feminist Poetry (assuming it exists) isnt something you study at home, assuming you have to read the stuff in Greek, Latin and Aramaic, with an understanding of the Christian theology, ethics, and etc., plus a decent knowledge of the ancient classics. And who knows what else. Remember, it's full of references to Zosimus' controversy with Isidore, and that conversely they are quite on the side of the wicked and servile passions, when it comes to particular charioteers, that sort of thing.
They do have to read Procopius' histories in the original, both the public ones (boring) and the secret one (not so boring).

It's really quite a challenging major, or at least I'd like to think so, if there were such a thing. Leave us to our fantasies.

Steven Davis said...

Used to be that non-STEM/Professional majors were reserved for husband hunters. They still are, but the new husband is Government.

buwaya puti said...

To add, it has come to my attention that no course in Byzantine Medieval Feminist Poetry can avoid Armenian, there being several prominent Armenians of that description (Armenia and Armenians being prominent in the Empire), so that too needs to be added. It's all looking very challenging.

David said...

A glimmer of hope.

It's good that the paper took the trouble to dig out these facts and explain them in the slightly muddled but ultimately understandable fashion.

Bad sign is that no one at the school seems to have considered the possibility that the students have decided that the courses are boring rather incredible crap.

I wonder how a course in the Federalist papers would do? Althouse, would you like to teach a few undergraduate courses for a while. It would be an eye opener for the students and the rest of the faculty.

David said...

The Cracker Emcee said...
My son and his STEM peers are reassuringly contemptuous of the U-Dub's SJW rabble, viewing it pretty much as a freak show.


Are you sure you didn't taint the sample along the way? I tried to taint mine, but with little result.

Jsok said...

It is possible that enrollments in courses such as the introductory political science course are shrinking because high school students are getting their requirements out of the way by taking Advanced Placement exams.

Rusty said...

My youngest is at afrt school.(If I knew how to post pictures I'd post one of her first attemp at sculpture)
Knowing that is a path to long term poverety she's also a qualified welder.

Moneyrunner said...

A couple came to see me recently to ask for financial guidance. The husband had a Bachelor’s degree and was working on his Master’s degree while working for the city. His wife was working on her undergraduate in some social science field and did some “consulting” for some poverty program in her city. They had combined student loan debt of over $100,000 and were adding to it. Credit card debt exceeded $20,000 with 23% interest. They recently bought a house with no equity and a $200,000 mortgage (how they qualified is a mystery to me but perhaps not to others). Income under $50,000. This young couple was Black and were chasing the holy grail of college degrees that had no chance of ever getting them out of the hole they were digging themselves into. They were literally being defrauded by the college that was taking advantage of their gullibility to get money they didn’t have for certificates that were worthless.

If Big Academia were subject to the same rules about fraud that business lives under, a lot of these institutions would go bankrupt, and deserve it.

Clioman said...

Political Science is to Science what Social Engineering is to Engineering.

Tank said...

Oshbgosh said...

I'd tell them to become licensed plumbers. No one can outsource your job to Mexico or China.


Good advice, although there is a down side. One of my friends is a plumber; spends a lot of time with his hands in ... goooey stuff ... and is always injured in one way or another: works with an ankle brace, two knee braces and once cut off the end of his finger (when he told his customer he had to go to the hospital, she said, "but aren't you going to finish first?"). He is a great plumber, but it takes a toll on ya.

Larry J said...

Writing as someone who has worked in IT for a long time, I advise young people to study cyber security. Programming is a good skill but a lot of it has been outsourced overseas. Only a total moron - like the ones at OPM - would outsource their cyber security overseas. Security is a big and growing field. People with the right training and certifications can make a good living.

John Hawks said...

This is a bit more complicated than it looks. Sociology 134 is a course specially designed to satisfy the university-wide Ethnic Studies breadth requirement, which is required of all students even in engineering and business. The students aren't dropping that course to take Computer Science; they are choosing to get their Ethnic Studies breadth in other courses. Anthropology 104 is one net beneficiary but there are many others.

Intro courses like these can lose some enrollment when majors decline -- fewer Political Science majors and more Computer Science majors. But most of their enrollment has always been non-majors seeking breadth requirements, and Social Science breadth is especially easy to come by. If freshman students are being advised to take different/more challenging/deeper courses, that's probably a very good thing.

gerry said...

Is the baby boomer bullshit bottoming, finally? Is the SJW fad crapping out from victim exhaustion? Are the lies of microaggressions at last revealed to be the stupidity they are? Are the impoverishing machinations of phony and petty perceived discriminations terminally revealed to be the monumental waste they really are?

Stay tuned. If a shower of reality extinguishes the Bern, it.just.may.be.so.

Paul Snively said...

For Bruce Hayden here: "Is the problem that they are not getting enough of the theory?"

Of course, it's a crude summary, but I'll say "in most cases I've observed" while appreciating the nuance you offer. In particular, practice makes perfect.

The theoretical basis helps us all understand why a program works, or is written better than some other program. My team at work is admittedly on the fringe in this respect: we practice referentially transparent programming in a language with a very expressive type system. This helps us move the needle sharply towards "if it compiles, it works." It also makes us social outcasts in our own industry. :-) (Not really... the author of the post I linked to and I have both done a fair amount of public speaking on this, and he's co-author of a well-received book about it).

Big Mike said...

@Larry J, I heartily concur. However I think anyone going into cyber needs to understand that the field will be one continuous learning and education experience until the day one retires. The threats will change continuously and new vulnerabilities will turn up daily.

@Paul, there's running and then there's running efficiently. Back in the day I was asked to help someone whose program needed to be able to handle an ingest rate of 10,000 items per second and they could only handle about 2000 before choking. Just be reordering the nested IF-THEN-ELSE statements so that the tests most likely to be true were handled first, we got it to 12,000. It was my training in computer science that helped me figure that out.

Paul Snively said...

Big Mike: Back in the day I was asked to help someone whose program needed to be able to handle an ingest rate of 10,000 items per second and they could only handle about 2000 before choking. Just be reordering the nested IF-THEN-ELSE statements so that the tests most likely to be true were handled first, we got it to 12,000. It was my training in computer science that helped me figure that out.

Yeah. We have kind of an interesting Catch-22 these days: high quality libraries for lots and lots of tasks, and as a consequence, programmers with literally no idea what a "complexity class" is. So yes, an algorithm may be obvious, even elegant... and have quadratic complexity and be useless in practice.

Get into tera- or even petabytes of data range, and you can even forget that. Now your command of probability and statistics had better be very good.

Fat Man said...

The explanation is very simple. It costs an in-state student $24,735 to attend the university of Wisconsin. That is $100,000 for a four year degree, and $3,000 per course. At those prices, only the truly wealthy can afford to take any course that does not have a predictable payoff. What is the pay off for problems of ethnic an racial minorities? Heck, you can turn on the TV and listen to them whine for free. And, it is only going to get worse, as the professoriate and the SJWs work to make most non-STEM courses intellectual pablum, and the hordes of administrators continue to raise the price far above inflation.