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Is It Just Me, Or...

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Sierra Mike, Jan 20, 2003.

  1. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    ...do college professors not know jack?

    When Ravenik came back and reported that his paper on China/Taiwan Relations earned him a rap across the knuckles by his instructor who had the rather cheerless good grace to offer to put him in touch with a PRC representative at the Chinese Embassy, I was a touch agog and aghast.

    Because Rave's paper was nothing to get sore about, and it did reflect a good slice of the situational reality.

    Or is it just that the PRC now has more legitimacy in academic circles than the ROC? It's curious and sad, at the same time.

    I've actually met white guys--always men, and always those with a tremendous "asian fetish" which includes wearing clothing with Chinese glyphs that are, on occasion, outrageously hilarious due to incorrect character usage (I remember one guy wearing a T-shirt with I AM PREGNANT emblazoned across the chest)--who feel the US and Taiwan are victimizing China ruthlessly. And, *cough**cough*, they're educators too.

    So what gives?

  2. mikeky

    mikeky Member

    I think Ravenik should request his professor join GA; could elicit some interesting conversations, assuming he can hold his own.
  3. Advocat

    Advocat Viral Memes a Speciality Staff Member

    I think Profs egos can get in the way. I know one person who was taking a course on Situational Ethics. One exam, after describing a situation, asked the question: "<b>In your opinion</b>, what was the most appropriate response in situation A?"

    Everyone in the class wrote down their opinion... which is, of course, a personal judgement. Of course, all the tests which didn't parrot the Prof's own opinion came back marked "WRONG".

    If asked for your personal opinion of an ethical situation, how can you be wrong?

    Obviously, Profs can fall so in love with their own "brilliance" that everyone and everything else is wrong.
  4. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Now, that's funny...I thought education was about fact, not about a professor's spin on Life and How It Should Be Lived.

  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    Steve, you are a reactionary clod. What is fact?
  6. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Well, physics, mathematics, history, sociology, business, sciences...I'd like to think those fields are more factually-driven than say, film appreciation.

  7. joseftu

    joseftu ORIGINAL Pomp-Dumpster

    I'm a college English professor.
    Who's Jack?:(
  8. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member


  9. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    Oh come on, Steve. You know history is supposed to be the study of whatever point someone wants to make about their ancestry.
  10. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Sheesh...well, since I'm generally Irish in ancestry, one would think I'd spend more time drunk.

  11. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    I'm Irish too, and have to drink heavily to read much of this stuff every day when I drink a lot, sometimes so I can understand it. Can I have another Guinness, please?
  12. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    I think when it comes to things that are political, a prof. is going to be biased, and their teaching will reflect that.

    I've been lucky to not have encountered this - yet - but I'm still a Junior. When I reach the more advanced courses, I'm sure I'll change that statement.
  13. joseftu

    joseftu ORIGINAL Pomp-Dumpster

    I'll quote Jay Bergman, Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University, from a letter in this week's <i>Chronicle of Higher Education</I>. I, and the vast majority of my colleagues in academia, hold this view:

    "Universities are places where students go to be educated, not indoctrinated. When professors in the classroom act as advocates for their own political beliefs, and in some cases berate students for expressing different views, they are violating the very mission of a university."

    Let's remember that the professors like the one ravenink encountered, and like the ones Misu is sure she'll encounter, are the <b>bad</B> ones. And, I'd argue, they are the exception, not the rule.
  14. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    I believe so, joseftu. I've been going to university for a long time - first on a part time basis, then a little more, and now in FT mode. And in all the time I've been going to school, I haven't yet encountered a professor like that. So I agree - they tend to be the exception, not the rule.
  15. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    there are no facts - there is only faith.

    almost every 'proof' can be 'disproved' in many, if not all, of the 'hard sciences'.

    mathematics can be made to prove, utilizing proper and well accepted mathematical procedure, that one plus one equals three. einstein was very well known to enjoy screwing mathematics around to legally break its own laws.

    our most advanced physics research, upon which all subsidiary 'laws' of physics are based, reads more like a zen koan than it does a JAMA article.

    all knowledge is biased and subjective. the only way any of us get anything done and explore new territory utilizing the scientific method is when we agree on a single postulate, from which exploration may occur.

    "based on the fact that we agree that 1+1=2, we can deduce..."

    the initial postulate, however, is - and will always be - a leap of faith.

  16. yazdzik

    yazdzik Veteran Member

    Dear Joe and friends,

    It appears that Prof Bergman has never been inside an American University.

    Unless anyone here be foolish enough to believe that a Jungian will be given a position at Presbyterian Hospital Psychoanalytic Institute, or that a civil libertarian atheist will be granted tenure at Georgia State, or that any graduate assistant who does not follow the whim of the department head will still be assessed on merit, the situation here has become so bad that no one outside of Pangloss would believe that we are tolerant of excellent research and writing with views contrary to our own.

    My first and only year in college, I began an analysis of a piece of music, which was descriptive and reductive, rather than inductive and was told, "Excellent beginning to see now how you can begin to apply the right kind of analysis."(My empahsis)

    If musicians devide themselves in to Schenkerians, etc, and laywers into constructionists, etc, and linguists, into empiricists, etc, how does anyone expect information and theory to be approached Socratically?

    I had a good listen(I can do that too, you know!) to a sixteen year old last week, as he told me that learning by questioning and postulating was frowned upon in his high school. There was stuff one needs to know to get "good" SAT scores......

    Tell me, please, where anyone who really works outside of the system can get a teaching job. Why do I need "education" credits to teach in a high school? If Columbia Teachers' College is not about indoctrination, my OED is broken.

    I have conducted over a thousand performances of opera, produced god knows how many plays, (at least a half dozen Shakespeare)and would never be allowed to teach a high school or college english class. If Joseftu were to assert that I were a good candidate to teach High School or College English, he would be laughed at. I can mesmerise a class, and produce good writing. So what? If Joseftu were to assert to his department head that langauge skills were taught in order to make pretty language rather than develop job skills communication, I am not sure how long he would last. Read any city or state university catalogue.

    I so deeply respect Joe, that disagreeing is difficult, but I see colleges, and their students, whom I receive after grad school, as being so concerned with form, that, palpably, no content was ever taught. I see the students learning that giving the prof what he wants, rather than producing good work, is the way to get a grade. QPIs determine viability - my wife's firm asks for one's college average. Really.

    What rubbish.

    The kids learn this from somewhere, and that somewhere is in the classroom where the grad assistant sucks up to the professor, who sucks up to the head of the department, etc.

    How many places have professors of equal rank teaching wildly divergent views?

    Anyone know anyone having been graduated from Harvard Law who thinks Dersh is an idiot?

    Academic politics is apparently no different than any other. One would, of course, hope that politics and academia were mutually exclusive, but, since every school admits based, in reality, upon how likely the candidate is to be able to conribute after graduation, diversity depends upon money. How can that possibly work?

    Academic excellence depends entirely upon academic freedom, and in a world where the president wants to appoint common sense judges, real discipline, that of using reason to conclude, is superfluous.

    Job training is a good thing too. Learn about bosses and real life. Ask Prof Smith if his open disagreement with Chairman Jones is why he has no tenure. Of course, it has to do with competence, never with personalities and opinions.

    Haywire is about ten times a tolerant as most professors I know, and I know mostly professors.

    They would be glad if their "Ken" were hounded out of the school. Ever hear of a syntacticist e-mailing a grammarian to see if he would like to return to teaching?

    Don't believe it? Try finding an "ecletic" psychiatrist at any major teaching hospital in this, or any other, country.

    No "school" - no school.

    I hope I am wrong, but the holding of the stated view, "Universities are places where students go to be educated, not indoctrinated. When professors in the classroom act as advocates for their own political beliefs, and in some cases berate students for expressing different views, they are violating the very mission of a university," even by most teachers, and that view being the operative standard for hiring, tenure, and promotion within the system are two very different animals.

    It is my view, Joe's view, and the view of most decent professors. It has as much to do with the way the system actually works as my briefs on constitutional law have to do with winning a case.

    All good wishes,
  17. joseftu

    joseftu ORIGINAL Pomp-Dumpster

    Oh, Martin, I wish I could disagree with you more strongly.
    Unfortunately, I, too, have seen all too much of what you describe. But I still (go ahead, call me Pollyanna) maintain that most of us, yes, even those in charge of the system, agree with me, you, and Professor Bergman.

    Or maybe I just hope so.
  18. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Martin, Joseftu, what you decribed above is horrid!!!!

    I knew it was bad, but not this bad?
  19. yazdzik

    yazdzik Veteran Member

    Remember, though, as long as there are Joseftus in the system, there is a warm hope for all of us.

    I have been rejected, maybe because I am unworthy, but Joe fights the good fight every day, and there are always a few like him. They save people like me,sometimes by sending us away, but save us.

    If we could only acknowledge them, the Joe's of the world, who still care, and still teach from the heart and not the book, I would give up my last breath happy.

  20. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    Yaz, how can you teach content? Form (syntax), yes. Content comes after the desire to acquire knowledge has been instilled along with the needed critical analysis of that knowledge. Otherwise, you have dreary rote repetition of other views with no input of your own. So are we teaching an entire generation of our alleged brightest and best not to be critical self-thinkers but to be mindless parrots of our own flaws and foibles?

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