April 26, 2017

"This was an utterly mad politically correct idea written by extremists at a university already extreme in this direction."

"Among its targets were students who took practical courses like economics and pre-med and tried to use college to get a job. It was going to begin with a year-long common course that laid down the correct propaganda line. Thank God the majority of the faculty has not lost its mind.

A comment on "Years of Work, Tabled/Collapse of undergraduate curricular reform at Duke illustrates the difficulty of building consensus on just what students need to learn" (at Inside Higher Ed).

The name of the commenter matches the name of a Duke professor.

34 comments:

chickelit said...

Sounds like a real cloisterfuck.

rehajm said...

If the plan was to breed more lefties they did a good job hiding it. Leftie buzzwords and virtue signaling are surprisingly absent in the descriptopns.

Creative curriculums have always been a part of higher education. My uncle majored in Duck Hunting at Dartmouth.

damikesc said...

Academics are working impressively hard to kill academia.

jaydub said...

The committee's time would be better spent developing a methodolgy to teach the Cameron Crazies to quit acting like dicks during basketball games.

sparrow said...

I agree with rehajm: any lefty tilt was not clearly evident to me from the article. I can see how a year long common course could be hijacked however. I went to a PC university (Michigan) as an undergrad and they found ways to insert politics here and there, but for the most part we Science majors had a full slate from day one. Any additional reqiyrements would have been just an expense and another pointless hurdle.

Rick said...

It's about time the non-radical professors started trying to save their institutions. The nuts have done enough damage.

Birkel said...

@ damikesc

That is precisely so. The universities are operating to decrease their own influence. The institution is diminished. That people cannot see how dangerous this is becoming is, itself, alarming.

YoungHegelian said...

The question here is not what motive the Duke faculty had in proposing this new course of instruction. The question is why did they feel the need to re-invent the wheel? It's in answering that question of re-inventing the wheel that the political aspect becomes apparent.

There are no shortage of colleges where the undergraduate course of study is built along "interdisciplinary" lines. St, John's College in Annapolis/Santa Fe comes to mind on the secular side & St. Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, CA on the religious.

"Oh, but their programs are built on the Great Books" you say. To which I say "Exactly". That the Duke New Curriculum professors left their requirements "fuzzy" seems to me a gap that you can drive a Lefty Mac truck into. I, too, would remain suspicious if I were on the faculty. In today's academia if decisive steps are not taken to keep something apolitical, assume it will be turned political from day one.

Jupiter said...

"Thank God the majority of the faculty has not lost its mind."

You sure about that? Keep counting, it's getting close.

lgv said...

The same professor who made a politically incorrect comparison of Asians and blacks, and is now and forever branded a racist.

Professor Hough spent most of his life in a different era, an era many wish we would return to. Instead, the committee worked on something that would be more “aspirational”

"Twenty-first century global socio-economic, technological and environmental changes are prompting a fundamental paradigm shift in higher education,"

This is the kind of tripe anyone could have predicted would be written.

-- to be introduced to the wonders of what Duke has to offer straight away.”

Yes, Duke offers wonders that no other university could possibly offer.

Someday, some university will buck the trend and go the other direction. There will limited, basic, and classic liberal arts offerings and solid programs in business, engineering, science and other disciplines. There will be no fluff. Costs will be reduced. It will be hard. It will focused on rigorous academics. Graduates will be able to read, write, and reason regardless of their major. Recruiters will flock to their campus. This will be the true paradigm shift in higher education.

Expat(ish) said...

@rehajm - you don't have to breed lefties as Dooke, they come pre-bred.

I was lucky enough to go there (for a year) during the last gasp of conservatism (and the introduction of the ATM, but I digress) in the very early 80's. It was a wonderful time and a great campus. I believe the next year the "freshman reading" litmus test was introduced.

I went up the street to UNC/CH which was nominally a leftie circus (shorter Jessie Helms: "who needs a zoo in Asheboro, put a fence around Chapel Hill and charge admission.") but was and is still filled with salt-of-the-earth kids from all over the state, mostly keeping their heads down and getting a fine education for peanuts.

-XC

buwaya said...

Core curriculum ideas seem mostly to be about pushing business to unpopular departments.
Not that this is new, or entirely American, you will find this stuff elsewhere, even in the Far East.
I also agree that any self respecting professional department, such as engineering or hard sciences, has a responsibility to protect their students from exploitation by the academic grifters, and we know who they are.
A broad education is the students own responsibility, and that of their parents, and if need be of the state, and should have been achieved to anyone's satisfaction in K-12.
The one thing that seems reasonable to me is four to eight units of electives, uncategorized and unrestricted within the catalog, with the strong recommendation, for the technical majors, to use them for languages or writing-heavy courses.

Richard said...

Notice that the proposed curriculum will drop the course requirement for graduation to 32 from 35. When two of my sons went to Duke, I though the 35 course requirement was too little. Now they want to lower it even more. When I went to Columbia (class of 64) we had a 128 class hour requirement that is equivalent to 41-42 courses, and we couldn't change our grades up to 96 hours after the grade was announced to avoid getting a bad grade.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Most students (especially the smart ones who can hack it in the hard disciplines) have no interest in grievance studies. Since the people who teach grievance studies could not possible get a job outside of academia, except for something in the food service industry, they need to make those courses mandatory.

They say they are mandatory because the students need to be "woke." They may even believe it, but it's really about making sure that the grievance racket keeps delivering the moola.

Lewis Wetzel said...

It's ironic to use cliche's to praise originality and creativity.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

This is the same type of wasteful and indoctrinating crappolla that was foisted on us in college beginning in the late 60's. It is just more aggressive and destructive now. The cancer has grown and almost totally destroyed the host's body.

Back then: taking a class that was supposed to further your studies in a particular field, but instead ended up being some sort of social justice warrior themed class. We didn't have that term then but the concept is the same.

SO...the students just waste their time. The smart ones did like I did when forced to waste my time staring at pictures of melting ice cubes to determine the sexual imagery that was "subliminally" inserted into the advertising........play along with the game. Don't ask questions. Don't insert logical thinking and attract the negative attention of the teacher (I made that mistake one time). Think of something else and just hope you don't go crazy until the class/semester is over. And finally, learn how really really stupid some people can be so you can avoid them in the future.

CJinPA said...

Student "success as they define it."

This is not about education, it's about customer satisfaction.

The Drill SGT said...

Richard said...
Notice that the proposed curriculum will drop the course requirement for graduation to 32 from 35. When two of my sons went to Duke, I though the 35 course requirement was too little. Now they want to lower it even more. When I went to Columbia (class of 64) we had a 128 class hour requirement that is equivalent to 41-42 courses,


IIRC, the 1970'ish UC requirement was 180 quarter hours, e.g. about 45 classes

Bill Peschel said...

Expat(ish): you and I were up there about the same time. I went to Chapel Hill, 1980-1982, and it did seem saner then.

Freeman Hunt said...

"They must also take two courses in each of six modes of inquiry: cross-cultural; ethical; science, technology and society; foreign language; writing; and research. "

Heh. Eduspeak is funny.

MadisonMan said...

Notice that the proposed curriculum will drop the course requirement for graduation to 32

8 classes per year, or 4 per semester. Ludicrously easy.

Why would someone hire a Duke Graduate and expect hard workers?

Expat(ish) said...

@BillPeschel - yep. Econ major at Chapel Hill, great department, super teachers.

Don't ask me about psych, anthro, geography, etc. Oddly, my experiences in History and Literature were really good.

Trolls forever man.

-XC

Cath said...

Let's take a moment to savor chickelit's term "cloisterfuck" - brilliant, and so apt.

Richard said...

Also we had a real core curriculum at Columbia that included a year of western civilization, a year of literature (the classics starting from the Greeks and Romans that were all written by "dead white men"), art (paintings of the masters), classical music, a year English writing (where they actually made you pass a grammar test), a year of a foreign language, and two additional classes from any of the humanities courses.

traditionalguy said...

The Party Commissars only teach the Party Doctrine. Counter-Revolutionaries ( still called the Whites) must be eliminated for the future of Global Mankind's Governance.

traditionalguy said...

If the University Cadre can scare Ann Coulter off, they have proved themselves to be the ruling class.

Martin said...

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And, the asserted fact that many of the faculty who conceived the current curriculum ca. 2000 have left is irrelevant to whether that curriculum should or should not be replaced.

Luke Lea said...

Hard to see below the surface of these proposed reforms. Would there be more or fewer ethnic and gender studies majors? Clearly there would be no general Western or American history requirements. But are there any now?

Bill Peschel said...

ExPat(ish): I hear you. Journalism here, but the few history courses I took (I majored in it and Poly Sci at UNCC) were top-notch. Profs expected you to know your shit in those seminars.

The J-school was reportedly to be one of the best, but I realized too late that what I learned would have been taught the old way just as well, e.g., on the job experience.

Expat(ish) said...

@BillPeschel - I dated a girl in Jschool. I'll not bandy names about, but she was one of many lovely ladies who were trying to decide between "classic" and RTVMP.

Them were the days.

-XC

Freeman Hunt said...

Ever looked at Harvard's core requirements? They are surprisingly lame.

Our state's flagship university has excellent requirements. I looked them up once upon a time out of curiousity. They should be a model.

khesanh0802 said...

@Freeman Hunt I could not get over the cliched language that was used to describe what these people are attempting. It was as if every third word was in a foreign language.

An old joke at Harvard is that once you get in it is almost impossible to fail out. I am living proof that is true!

30yearProf said...

Although a Duke Law Grad, this and a series of similar incidents, such as the law faculty's abdication during the Lacrosse witch hunt, is why I will never give another cent to Duke. The faculty needs to remember that actions (even Leftist actions) have consequences not all of which are pleasant.

bagoh20 said...

The left destroys everything it touches. It's a basic characteristic of modern mankind, or is that "post-modern" mankind?