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Re: “Pulaski Tech board restates support for Ellibee

Since Perplexed's comment is at the top and, in all probability, has offended tens of thousands of community college students and instructors, I would rather light a candle than curse his darkness.
If he had read any literature concerning trends in higher education over the past 25 years, he would know that what is going on at Pulaski Technical College is not due to its status as a "technical" or "community" college. Back in 2003, The Economist ran a cover story about corporations' donating vast sums of money to private colleges and universities. As a result of these donations, they were able to exert more influence over the administrative structure. In doing so, they created university models that mimicked those of corporations, not the conventional models of higher education.
This trend has been running rampant ever since and has gone on to effect nearly every institution of higher learning in the nation, from Harvard to Pulaski Technical College. The top-down approach to management is diametrically opposed to the conventional model of shared governance based on a democratic model as espoused by certain professional organizations like the American Association of University Professors, as well as a number of accrediting agencies.
Moreover, our culture has been trending more and more towards STEM education, leaving the humanities and the arts at risk of obsolescence in higher education. As a traditionally "technical" school, Pulaski Tech has been position to answer to the industry needs in Arkansas. This debate over a philosophy instructor at such a school only works to underscore the devaluation of the humanities in most universities since advisors and administrators push students into STEM fields in order to meet the needs of the nation's industries and corporations. These entities need scientists and programmers, not philosophers and musicians.
While corporations may not need the humanities, our culture does. In the spirit of the Enlightenment and our very founding fathers, we need a population that has a liberal arts education because such an education works to foster knowledge of various cultures and the capacity to consider multiple sides to any issue with as little bias as humanly possible; this habit of mind is clearly lacking, as exampled in these posts and in broadcast media as a whole.
If we would get it together as a society and realize that we need to become the best human beings we can be, then worry about being the best workers, I believe we would be far better off.
The current debacle has more to do with a trend that is dead-set on stripping the rights of faculty and very little to do with one man who said something inappropriate to one student. That's another thing higher education teaches us: inductive reasoning. This is a matter of principle as faculty at any educational institution, from kindergarten to graduate school, are working within the public trust. We are betraying such a trust when we produce workers instead of human beings who are capable of governing themselves rather than parroting the views drilled into their heads by certain, extreme media outlets.
Now, more than ever, America needs the humanities, and it is now more than ever that it is devaluing them to point of stripping curricula to make education "more efficient." At what cost?
If you would like to further educate yourself on the debate over higher education, which has been going on since the secular world wrested it from the Church, I believe you would recognize that what you may think are simply academically elitist views are actually classist and ultimately indefensible in contemporary America. Whenever it becomes a matter of access, whether it is allowing aristocrats to join the monks in higher learning or giving college scholarships to soldiers returning from combat, there is going to debate and upheaval.
I thought such debate over access and the implications that some in our society do not deserve it due to their status as impoverished or the working class were a thing of the past. It seems, if others share Perplexed's views, that we are a long way from the equal access and opportunity Americans so often like to blather on about.
As for Pulaski Tech in particular: like it or not, 70% of its student population (roughly 7000) will transfer to four-year institutions. During the summer, students from colleges and universities all over the region take classes at Pulaski Tech to fulfill core credits at a fraction of the price or, as the more cynical towards the school would observe, to raise their GPAs. Whatever the reason, the faculty must be able to teach their students what they would learn at UALR or LSU. Without the protection academic freedom affords, which is not the "right" to sexually humiliate or bully students, then faculty have no choice but to do a disservice to those students who have enrolled at Pulaski Tech with the belief that the education they receive there is, in fact, comparable to what they would receive at a more expensive four-year college or university.

6 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by righteouslyindignant on 03/02/2014 at 8:52 AM


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