Friday, February 16, 2018

Vice Provost Needed...Whites Need Not Apply

by Professor Doom

     Earlier I covered a position for a Kentucky physicist where the job posting made it perfectly clear that no white person could get the job, on account of being white.

      Admin made it perfectly clear that the posting was a mistake. Honest, they would consider any candidate, regardless of skin color, so they say (wink, wink). Now, I've mentioned before that these sorts of racist policies have been around in higher education for decades, and are second only to sexist policies.

      But, sure, if you want to believe I'm wrong, and admin somehow accidentally typed up and posted such a want ad, well, you can believe what you want to believe. 

     Thing is, I knew this type of ad would get posted again; these people live in such a bubble they don't have a clue what they do is wrong. Racist/sexist hiring policies have been so standardized that they really are starting to forget that it's supposed to be done with a wink and a nod...and not in writing.

     These policies are not restricted to the US, as even Canada, apparently, also believes the ethnicity of the applicant is important for scholarly positions. Consider this from a want ad for a vice provost (a position that could pay a few hundred thousand a year):

In keeping with the principles of employment equity and with an aim to address underrepresentation at Dalhousie, only applications from candidates who self-identify as racially visible and/or as Aboriginal peoples will be considered at this time.  

      Now, I don't know what, exactly, "racially visible" means but it's reasonable to suspect this is another (wink, wink) situation put into writing. Isn't it fascinating that "principles of employment equity" are being used to justify this inequitable hiring? 

     I grant that there can be some positions where skin color/gender/ethnicity might be relevant (for example, I have no problem with Hooters only hiring female waitresses that can wear the uniform), but nothing in the extensive job description makes skin color relevant. Besides, this position is so far up in the hierarchy that she would never actually deal with a student (this position, if I worked at this university, would be my boss' boss' boss' boss' boss...perhaps only 3 more layers of bureaucracy until the Poo Bah is reached!)'s nuts.

     Yes, I used the pronoun "she" in the previous paragraph, even though it's clear the job description doesn't specify female.

Nominations and/or applications should be submitted, in confidence, to Jane Griffith or Dania Zargaran...

     Perhaps it's just a paranoid delusion on my part, so I won't go there but...we really, really, need to start asking hard questions about what's going on in our institutions of higher education, because it's very clear that they're being taken over by racists.

      (I know I'm posting a bit early here, but I wanted to get this up before they take down that racist job advertisement.)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Math Meritocracy Is “Tool of Whiteness”?

By Professor Doom

     Once again we have a professor saying something ridiculous and getting press coverage, but once again the real detail is being missed:

     Now, I’m citing Fox News above, a widely reviled news source. As per Wikileaks, it is one of the very few large audience news outlets that shouldn’t be viewed as completely fraudulent. I concede they’re not very good but they do look good on the curve, at least. They manage to screw up the news here right away:

“A math professor at Brooklyn College wrote…”

     A math professor? Oh really? The professor being referenced here is Laurie Rubel. Let’s take a look at what she’s teaching:

Before coming to teach in Brooklyn College's mathematics education program…

      She’s a teacher of math education. Her Ph.D. is also in Math Education. She publishes in Math Education. It really, really, drives me nuts that we have these people, these Educationists, posing as scholars in different fields. I’ve written extensively of the fraud, and it simply drives me nuts that time and again these people continue to represent themselves as something they are, most definitely, not. It’s infuriating.

     Ok, just because she’s been misrepresented here, it may not be her fault (it’s Fox News, after all), and even though her Ph.D. isn’t in mathematics, I’m still quite willing to hear what she has to say about mathematics. Of course, she’s not talking about mathematics, she’s talking about identity politics.

Rubel reportedly recommended that math teachers use more social justice issues during lessons. Rubel, however, warned that teaching “social justice” can also be a tool of whiteness if teachers are ignorant to the experiences of their minority students...

     I should point out that this professor has won some pretty hefty awards for believing in these things. I tend to disagree with such beliefs, of course, and I want to point out a big difference between disagreement here as opposed to disagreement in an academic field. It’s always puzzling when I hear Educationists make these kinds of statements to explain why “minorities” don’t do well in math class, as though Whiteness is the problem. China has plenty of people who are not white, and yet do fine in mathematics, after all.

     Anyway, the difference between academics and Education is I can actually formulate an argument explaining why the professor is wrong, whereas the Educationist simply just says stuff without justification. Let’s take an example:

Rubel wrote that math teachers who claim to be color-blind are not doing the minority students any favors.

      Please understand the teacher here is really addressing fairly basic mathematics, not advanced, esoteric topics she neither teaches nor researches in.

      I’m pretty color blind about “2 + 2 = 4” and other basic mathematical ideas because none of the mathematics makes an assumption about the color of the skin of the person making the calculation. The burden is on her to show me in the definitions where such assumptions exist, because I know no skin-color-related definitions are in mathematics.

      As far as “doing the minority students any favors” goes, I maintain that mathematics is not under any obligation to do any students, minority or otherwise, any favors under any circumstances. I again put the burden on her to show where mathematics makes any such claim.

     Now, I grant a Fox News article isn’t going to show her full arguments, just her (odd) conclusions but as luck would have it, her whole research paper is online.

     This research is published in the Journal of Urban Mathematics. I’m still scratching my head over the title of this journal; I know I don’t know all mathematics, but can’t hazard a guess what “urban” mathematics could be. To the best of my understanding, mathematics is the same whether you’re in a rural or urban or cosmopolitan setting…even in outer space, mathematics doesn’t change.

      One of my many issues with Education as a field is how they’ve isolated themselves from academia. Their students don’t take math courses taught by mathematicians, instead Education students take Math for Education courses, taught by Education professors. Similarly, they take Art for Education majors, Chemistry for Education majors, and so on. It’s bizarre that what are general academic topics for the rest of humanity are “specialized” for Educationists. Perhaps this weird education is why these people never consider China in their thinking, since they’re unaware it even exists?

      Now, journals absolutely tend to be specialized, but I can’t help but suspect this isn’t so much a research journal as an Identity Politics journal, where any article that simply supports the narrative (such as the famous Penises Cause Global Warming research) gets publication.

     With her paper freely available, I can see with my own eyes what her arguments are regarding her claims. It’s a 40 page paper, so it’s good that it starts with a summary:

In this article, the author synthesizes four equity-directed instructional practices: standards-based mathematics instruction, complex instruction, culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP), and teaching mathematics for social justice (TMfSJ).

      Oh no, “teaching mathematics for social justice”? If there was even remote doubt that we’re dealing with a Social Justice Warrior here, it’s gone in the first sentence.

I foreground “race” in this literature review because of the significance of whiteness in the United States in reproducing subordination and widening society’s opportunity gaps in and through mathematics education…

     While the professor does cite her sources for the above, I’m still puzzled at why the research always forgets about Asians; many Asian groups have come to this country and done quite well. Again, this mountain of empirical evidence destroys the “it’s white people’s fault” narrative, and so is simply ignored. (But if anyone knows an argument or research explaining it, feel free to comment below.)

More generally, whiteness tacitly positions White people, their experiences, and their behaviors as superior…

     There are many statements like the above, and while it is cited, it’s not at all clear what any of this has to do with mathematics, or student success. In any event, there is extensive discussion and review of literature before getting to the research, which is statistics based. I note her sample size is 12 (or “N = 12,” as they say in statistics).

      Hey, anyone else remember that “horrible” Wakefield study relating vaccines and autism? It was considered complete garbage because of the small sample size. Guess what it was? That’s right, 12. Such a small sample doesn’t actually destroy a study, it just means it should be viewed as preliminary. But I digress.

     In any event, the vast results of the statistics here are based on qualitative interpretations of what’s going on in the classroom. There are, of course, no controls, either.  As such, there’s no way to put any stock in any of the results. You can pretty much get any result you want from this kind of study, which is little more than a collection of case studies; I’m more than a little puzzled at the long preamble at the beginning of this research. I honestly thought something was going to be shown here, but…no dice.

Whiteness as blinding. Mary and Molly avoided addressing issues of power and social justice in the content of their mathematics lessons, even though…

     Even in the case studies, there’s a theme here that is unpleasant. Instead of commending teachers for sticking to mathematics in their mathematics classes, there’s chastisement for not spending time on social justice. What’s up with that?

      Getting back to the point: we as a nation are pouring huge sums of money into this “research,” and calling it “mathematical research.” We really need to stop doing that, and seeing as the main source of that money is the student loan scam, shutting that down would be a fine place to start.




Monday, February 12, 2018

Lesbian Provost Fired For Corruption

By Professor Doom

     In earlier essays I mentioned how once a Social Justice Warrior gets control of hiring, it’s a lockdown: all further hires are SJWs, or Progressives, or Leftists, or whatever you want to call them.

    Now, as evidence for my claim I could simply point to the strong Leftist leanings of the admin/faculty/staff on our campuses: seeing as about half the country (as per the last election) doesn’t subscribe to this ideology, the best explanation for 90% or more of our campus professionals being adherents is a chokehold on hiring.

      But a specific example is really worthwhile.

Rumors have been going around ever since her appointment to the Provost office of her playing favorites when it came to hiring or promotion of employees under her department. A complete investigation needs to be done and she and her wife need to be placed on leave without pay until such time as it is complete.

     The article I’m quoting from is a news article about a Provost caught in a corruption scandal, and as per the reference to “she and her wife” above, we’re talking about a married lesbian couple. The news piece does the best it can to tiptoe what a mess she was caught in, and I assure the gentle reader what was going on here was far more than what’s presented as news.

Texas A&M’s outgoing Provost and Executive Vice President Karan Watson has been removed from her position after an internal audit found significant conflict of interest issues tied to business dealings her spouse had with the university,

     Once again I see we have a title well past twice as long as the holder’s name, and I remind the gentle reader of my easy guideline for restoring sanity to our campuses: simply eliminate all positions whose titles are more than twice as long as the holder’s name.

      Once you get high up in the admin, you start to have control over the vast loot from the student loan scam. Now, there are rules about spending this loot, and one of those rules is “Thou Shalt Not Do Business With Family.” I’ve seen plenty of institutions violate this rule, which naturally includes one’s spouse. Thing is, as this was a lesbian marriage, the safeguards against violating the rules in this manner weren’t really in place, which is why it took years before the conflict of interest was unearthed.

Over the last seven years since Karan Watson took over as provost, Nancy Watson — owner of a conflict resolution company in Bryan-College Station — was paid $438,733 by the university for training services…. 

     At least, that’s one explanation for why it took years, although it seems whenever I cover a scandal, it’s something that had been going on for quite some time. That said, 7 years is a long time to get away with this, even as I acknowledge by the standards of our Poo Bahs, looting not even half a million bucks is hardly noticeable.

     A “conflict resolution company”? How is it that this was not obvious fraud on the face of it. I’m sure this campus has many Psychology professionals in their Psychology department, could they have not helped? This is a campus, not the Middle East, how could you possibly justify spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on conflict resolution training?

…a whistleblower’s complaint made in May, marking the third grievance accusing the Watsons of similar possible ethics violations connected to Nancy Watson’s business…

     Another thing that’s striking about scandals, despite it seeming to occur every time, is how everyone knew about it. This was the third complaint regarding an obvious conflict of interest. When I was at a fake community college, we all knew of the frauds going on, though only a handful of us complained...not that anything was ever done, of course.

      Much like the horrific sex scandal at Penn State, the clear academic fraud at UNC, and, well, every other time I examine a scandal, it’s very clear that people knew something quite wrong was going on. It’s well documented that people made formal complaints regarding the obviously foul activity…and nothing happens. Only after repeated complaints about obvious issues does anything finally get done, and it takes years.

     I grant that our higher education system is very slow to change, slow to respond, and to some extent it’s designed to be that way and I’m fine with it. But far too often are we finding frauds or “whatnot” going on for nearly a decade before something is finally done about it.

For those who are wondering why it took so long (after 2 other complaints and many years) to come to this point, I can tell you that Watson was the consummate bully. You did not cross her. There are bullies everywhere but what do you do when the #2 person at the university is a bully. Just put up with it. Watson didn't have to ask folks to use her spouse’s services - they were afraid not to.

      I’m quoting from the comments section here, because these people are often quite nasty. I certainly have known fear when dealing with admin, as they wield too much undeserved power, which they commonly use to pour money on themselves and their cronies, leading to more power.

Not just a bully. A bullet-proof bully. Nobody dared expose her for fear of being called an intolerant homophobe or worse. She knew what she was doing and did not care if it was a clear conflict. She dared anyone to stop her. Only when she had decided to retire did anyone say something. Now, she feigns surprise and concern for her reputation. Give us a break. This scandal must be fully aired and exposed.

     Another comment worth consideration. Part of the SJW takeover of our campuses is that whenever anyone complained about the actions of an SJW admin, that person was labeled RACIST and ostracized. In this case, the label was doubtless more along the lines of HOMOPHOBE…it’s a tough, tough, battle to fight, and one of many reasons why we need to escort identity politics off campus (and over a cliff, truth be told).

      Even in light of this scandal, the provost is playing the gay card (how’d that work for Spacey?), and perhaps she’s right. Bottom line though, every aspect of this story rings true to me, from the repeated complaints, the clear conflicts of interest, the bullying, and everything else. It’s all stuff along the lines of what I’ve seen with my own eyes, elsewhere.

      Would be worth looking at several departments where faculty spouses report to department heads.

     The provost maintains she and her wife did nothing wrong, and I’m certain from her point of view, it’s true. It might even be true, legally. And, absolutely, I’m sure there are husband/wife conflicts of interest to be found in quantity on our campuses…but the point I wanted to make here is that it’s not tough to find evidence of my claims regarding how these people operate.

      A word to the wise, is all.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Pizzagate Rabbithole: Who Feeds The Pigs?

By Professor Doom

     A recent “suicide” leads me to write again of things besides higher education, and seeing as it’s Friday, let’s have a little thought experiment:

     This is the second Glee actor to commit suicide. This particular guy was under investigation for pedophilia, and was mere days away from providing a list of names regarding how he got his pictures and stuff. Man, what a lucky break for those other pedophiles. In following these types of stories, I see these kinds of lucky breaks where people commit suicide right before testifying against the bad guys happen often.

It had earlier been revealed that the man's corpse had been found in a riverbed.

     Wait…what? Apparently, after hanging himself, he decided to take a walk, eventually coming to a riverbed where, realizing he was dead, he stopped. And, yet, this is a suicide. I’m not a doctor, but my understanding of how death works is you generally don’t go for walks after you die. But since it’s ruled a suicide, there won’t be much of a murder investigation.

      The site I’m quoting from doesn’t allow comments, so I can’t get a feel for how other readers are buying this story, but I do find myself wondering just how many times the public will get the “we’re calling this a suicide and there’s nothing you can do it about because we’re the law…IN YOUR FACE!” line before a large segment of the public outright riots at the insult to their collective intelligence.

     I have a different sausage to fry today, if you’ll forgive the mangled metaphor.

He was arrested in December 2015 and was found to have downloaded more than 50,000 images and videos of child abuse to his computer and another 4,000 on his flash drive.

    The gentle reader should understand that this “suicide right before turning state’s evidence” is very common, so common that it’s very difficult to understand why these important witnesses to horrific crimes are not provided some measure of protection…almost as though those who should be providing that protection are the same as those who keep deciding these are suicides are the same as those who are involved in the crimes, somehow.

     Ok, that’s a little conspiratorial and it’s considered bad form to do much beyond worship law enforcement, so let’s just call the consistently strange suicides and consistent lack of prudent protection coincidental.

     So, enough theorizing, let’s consider a quantitative detail:

…50,000 images…

     The above is the part that I want to address. In many pedo cases, the suspect is found to have tens of thousands of pedophilic pictures and videos on his computer.

     Tens of thousands. Even the most famous porn stars with long careers only have hundreds of videos, and one would suspect the career of a child in this situation to be very brief.

     This suicide had a typical stash compared to other, similar arrests, and it’s a safe bet that he didn’t have a complete collection of every single pedo pic/video in existence.

    Maybe it’s just a wild conspiracy theory about the suicides, but you don’t produce tens of thousands of videos from some guy with a Polaroid camera molesting his kid in a garage. You don’t distribute tens of thousands of videos by word of mouth, selling one copy at a time in the alley behind the adult bookstore.

     It’s very, very clear that there must be an infrastructure, a large and professional industry, manufacturing and distributing these. Now, in order for tens of thousands of these things to be manufactured and distributed, you must get a large supply of child victims. Where are they getting the kids?

According to the FBI, in 2016 there were 465,676 NCIC entries for missing children. Similarly, in 2015, the total number of missing children entries into NCIC was 460,699.

     Now, only a fool takes government numbers at face value. The above numbers are almost certainly inflated—a kid runs away twice in the same year, and you have two reports, for example. Many of the above are likely “kidnapped” by family members in court disputes…there are many reasons for a missing person report that don’t have anything to do with the sex industry. Let’s get a better feel for what’s going on:

Of the nearly 25,000 runaways reported to NCMEC in 2017, one in seven were likely victims of child sex trafficking. Of those, 88 percent were in the care of social services when they went missing.

--hmm, 88% of child trafficking sex victims are provided by the same government that determines the suicides of people about to turn state’s evidence. A coincidence, I’m sure.

     So here was have a “small” sample of about 25,000 runaways, and over 3,000 of them were likely involved in sex trafficking, and that’s just in one year. So, absolutely we have enough kids right here in this country.

      These pics and videos were on the computer so almost certainly relatively recent. That said, for there to be tens of thousands of such videos, it’s safe to assume it’s been going on for years.

    I think it likely many of these sorts of pics and videos were created in the last 5 years, or at least have been around for 5 years, and with thousands of kids involved, we should have loads of witnesses, victims of this sick sex industry, who have aged into adulthood, or at least too old to be of much value to the pedo-industry.

     But we don’t have nearly so many survivors. Oh, there are a few people saying they were victimized by a system when they were children…but I could find only a handful when poking around online. There should be thousands. I don’t reckon they all commit suicide, but I’ve been to enough rodeos to guess the physical status of these victims who are telling no tales.

     Where might the bodies go? We’re talking thousands of victims here, I just don’t accept someone’s digging many graves or burning them all. Simply dumping them randomly in the countryside or ocean just wouldn’t work, as those bodies would turn up eventually (we already regularly find bodies in the woods, and body parts washing ashore)…and we’re talking thousands here, with no reports of a bunch of kid’s bodies found in the woods or at low tide.

     Let’s summarize:

First, it’s absolute fact that pedos are being caught with large quantities of pedophilic material, so large that there must be industrial level production of that material.

Second, we’re missing so many kids that it’s quite reasonable, and supported by data, to assume that thousands of them are involved in the industrial level production of that material.

Third, this has been going on long enough, with enough kids involved, that we should have hundreds, more likely thousands, of victims, if they were alive, coming forward to say they were victimized.

Fourth, we don’t even have dozens of victims coming forward.

      We definitely have an industry, we definitely have thousands of victims. The most straightforward explanation for the lack of living witness is they aren’t living any more so, again, where might the bodies be?

     The above report made the rounds a few years ago, and the evidence was passed off as “skin flakes.” Yeah, maybe. If this explanation held true, then we’d have similar studies for chicken and beef.

    We don’t. And the bodies are disappearing somehow.

     Now, hot dogs and sausages are ground up meat, typically pig meat, so it’s possible that the meat packing plants are part of a big conspiracy here—the workers would absolutely notice a shipment of dead kids coming in to be made into sausages. Besides, the percentages found were pretty low…I don’t buy this.

     But the bodies are disappearing somehow. How else might human DNA be getting into our sausages and hot dogs? Cows and chickens have no real chance of eating human beings, but pigs might…maybe it’s just coincidence that we’re only finding human DNA in pig meat products.

      Can pigs really eat humans?

Hungry hogs eat Oregon farmer in grisly scene

     Most people think of pigs as cute little pink things waddling around, but they can easily grow quite large. They’re quite capable of eating vulnerable humans, and there are a number of criminal examples of bodies being fed to pigs.

-theoretically, I hope. From the above estimate, you’d only need around 50 pigs to get rid of a 1,000 bodies a year.

     Now, obviously this is all speculation on my part, and, sure, Pizzagate investigators have made similar guesses:

What do Alefantis, Pig Farms and Podesta all have in common?

     Now, absolutely, it’s possible that mainstream media is right about Pizzagate just being a huge hoax—considering how many things they’ve been dead wrong about, I concede they’ve got to be right about something, at some point.

      But I again want to look at the big picture. There must be a huge industry, there must be thousands of victims, these victims are disappearing. It’s clearly possible to check to see if a pig has been eating humans, and it’s clearly possible that one way to get rid of a human corpse is to feed it to pigs. It seems prudent to check the pigs.

      We have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on the Trump-Russia collusion investigation. Mainstream media assures me repeatedly this collusion is not a hoax, despite the lack of evidence or even coherent arguments explaining why this collusion must exist.

      On the other hand, we have evidence and a reasonable argument to lead us to believe that a huge industry exists which kills off large numbers of children…why is there no money to investigate the pig farms and see if anything can be found?

      Something worries me even more. I’m not particularly bright, I managed to connect the dots of “40,000 pics/videos,” “thousands of victims,” and “insufficient living witnesses” to arrive at “where are the bodies?”…and yet we have police detectives and Federal investigators by the tens of thousands across this country.

      Why have none of them been able to see that there’s something wrong on a large scale here? Are they the same ones that keep telling us a man can hang himself and then go for a walk?

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Educators Should NOT Take Education Classes

By Professor Doom

      When I was at a fake community college, every semester someone with a Ph.D. in Education would come in and lecture us on “how to teach.” It was either basic advice that anyone with 3 months of experience would know (“Make sure more than 1 answer in a multiple choice question is at least reasonable,” and yes, that is a quote) or total garbage (“Put book reports in your math classes,” among many other examples) or a pure waste of time (“If you give more extra credit, your students will have higher grades”—I point out that admin paid real money for an Educationist to give us this advice).

      “My Ph.D. thesis, the only thesis that was shown to be true, was that students who study tend to learn more in a measureable way.”

--the smartest Educationist to come and tell us how to teach. I still don’t believe this is a particularly strong thesis, however. Do note the implication: even a false thesis would still merit a Ph.D., because that’s how Education rolls. “Different ways of knowing” is their battle cry.

      That’s how the teachers are trained at fake schools (if they’re trained at all). At a legitimate school, teacher training is handled far more intelligently. An actual specialist in the subject actually comes in an watches me teach the course, afterwards telling me ways to improve—it’s valid advice, and even after 30 years I still am monitored, and do the same, as well as watch grad students teach and help them.

     I was told time and again how Education courses help with teaching, and I saw many mathematics positions being taken over by people with Math Education degrees. Wanting to learn their secrets, I sat in on their courses, only to learn they’re not good teachers, and in fact don’t even know what they’re talking about (for the most part); Educationists simply pass more students because they grade easy and remove all difficult material from the course.

     “All I learned my last two years of Education courses was how not to get sued.”
--recent Bachelors in Education graduate explaining his teacher training.

      Generally on campus, the Education students are cloistered from the other students. They don’t take “normal” classes like College Algebra, taught by mathematics professors. Instead, they take “Math for Education Majors” taught by Education professors, along with “Chemistry for Education Majors,” “Art for Education Majors,” and so on.

     “We learn about social justice, racial inequality, stuff like that.”
--recent Master’s in Education graduate explaining her more advanced teacher training.

     Now, it’s only natural for a person studying a subject to think everyone should know about it—I concede my own bias towards mathematics in this regard. So naturally I take the following type of article with a huge grain of salt:

      People often think Education courses make better teachers, but one would think someone taking the courses would know better. I even took a graduate level Education course…my fake community college wouldn’t accept it as continuing education (and the course was offered at a state university, fully accredited).  I didn’t press the point even as yet another Educationist took over yet another formerly legitimate faculty position.

While I have yet to take a class “on teaching,” the depth of understanding I have gained about the practices of teaching and learning in my education classes is immeasurable.

     Gee whiz, you’ve yet to take a class on teaching, and yet you somehow think it’s a good idea for teachers to take these courses? Granted, considering other confusions of ideas I’ve seen from Educationists, this isn’t so bad, but it’s weird this sort of article is worthy of publication.

…the suggestion that I might need to improve my teaching somehow hits below the belt. 

     One of the weird things about Educationists is their amazing arrogance. I see the author here is fairly typical in that regard. Even after decades, I’m trying to find better ways to explain concepts…when a hardworking student misses exacty one question the whole semester, I ask myself long and hard how I failed to teach that one question properly.

Maybe it is this fear of perceived weakness that prevents many postsecondary faculty members from ever taking a class about teaching.

     How feckless do you have to be in an Education department to think “fear of perceived weakness” is the reason other faculty avoid Education classes? How about “Education departments are viewed as a joke on many campuses” as a reason? How about “Education departments take classes away from your department and teach watered down versions of your subject to their own students” as a reason? How about “You guys condescend to us at every opportunity, and yet have failed to actually improve learning in human beings, and the evidence is very strong that you’re making things worse” as a reason? Yeah, “fear of weakness” is pretty low on the list of reasons we stay away.

Similarly, professors at a university are typically required to wear two hats: one hat as a researcher and another as a teacher. But only the researcher hat is fashionable. It brings in money for the university, it looks good on a curriculum vitae and it promotes the climb up the academic latter.

      I’m quoting an article from Inside Higher Ed, here, a site that knows quite a bit about how higher education works. Yes, research brings in money for the university, but surely someone at the site could have pointed out the glaring, blindingly glaring, error in this article here.

     On most campuses, tuition money (more accurately, student loan money) represents a huge income stream, far more than research money. That the author does not know this is forgivable, but why doesn’t Inside Higher Ed know? Student loan debt runs around 1.4 trillion dollars now…that comes from students, not research.

     While the comments are generally supportive of this piece, one actually provides an intelligent answer to the question so abysmally answered by the article’s title:

I am a director of faculty development. My experience has been that many faculty do want to improve their teaching. The barrier is not lack of desire or interest. Rather, it is the faculty rewards system that acts as a disincentive for faculty… there are no incentives for improving your teaching.

     As I said before, you get no credit for good teaching in higher education. What you do get credit for is handing out high grades, and passing everyone who signed up for the course. It’s why Educationists are considered such great teachers, after all, because they’ve figured out these two critical duties of the job, at least from an administrative point of view.

     Since these are the two secrets of Education as a field, there’s no need to take any courses, as this knowledge can be taught in a matter of seconds.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Academic Rigor is “White Privilege”

By Professor Doom

     During the last election, the cry of “RACIST,” the great weapon of the Left for decades, was finally blunted after being bashed into the head of everyone the Left considers an enemy…basically half the country had this weapon smashed into their heads for voting for Trump, so it’s no small wonder the weapon doesn’t work as well as it used to.

      They’re casting about for a new weapon, and one of the big candidates is the cry of “PRIVILEGE.” This is, of course, a code word for RACIST, and can be used almost interchangeably. Much like with racism, almost everything can be blamed on privilege, and it’s already being used excessively:

     Academic rigor is not merely making a claim, but backing up that claim with facts and coherent arguments. For what it’s worth, a mathematically rigorous argument generally isn’t open to debate--pretty much by definition, if a mathematical assertion is open to debate, it’s not rigorous. Other fields aren’t so objective, and so a part of more qualitative arguments is debating and discussing the assertions.

     I’d noticed long ago that certain fields (Hi African Studies!) generally don’t do debate and discussion. Any challenge to an assertion made there is either shouted down, responded to with a cry of RACISM, or both.

     I’m inclined to believe academic rigor is a good thing, and the proper way to generate new, valid, knowledge. Lack of rigor, lack of discussion, is only good for spreading ideology. At best.

     The one making this claim about the “privilege” of academic rigor heads an Engineering department. How could an engineering professor argue that rigor is unimportant? Buildings and bridges don’t remain standing because you yell at them or threaten to call them RACIST, after all.

Defining rigor as “the aspirational quality academics apply to disciplinary standards of quality,” Riley asserts that “rigor is used to maintain disciplinary boundaries, with exclusionary implications for marginalized groups and marginalized ways of knowing.”

     Ok, so let’s go with this definition of rigor. When was quality determined to be a bad thing? When was rigor used to maintain boundaries? These seem natural questions to ask, but no argument is provided to answer them.

      “Ways of knowing”? What? Gravity is pretty hard rule not to follow…it’s not “white” to obey and understand the rules of gravity, and I’m unaware of alternative “ways of knowing” how to adhere to those gravity laws. Similarly, there are many broad rules of engineering (eg, Newton’s Laws) where there only is one way of knowing the facts of how reality works. I assure the gentle reader that great minds have considered getting around those laws, because doing so would be a tremendous advancement in human knowledge.

      But you have to actually know the laws before you can try to work around them. It’s not a white thing (I’ll never understand why the nuts making these sorts of claims just ignore China), nor is it a male thing (the professor making these claims identifies as female, which may or not be the same thing as actually being female anymore).

Riley also argues that academic rigor can be used to exclude women and minorities, saying, “Rigor may be a defining tool, revealing how structural forces of power and privilege operate to exclude men of color and women, students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, first-generation and low-income students, and non-traditionally aged students.”

     Can someone get this person a mirror? She was head of the Department of Engineering at Purdue for over a decade. And yet she’s arguing the system kept her from rising to the top. I have to wonder a bit about what sort of engineer she is:

Riley is the author of…Engineering and Social Justice…Riley earned…a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in Engineering and Public Policy. 

     Yes, she has an undergraduate degree in engineering, but she didn't become department head based on her undergraduate degree, it's her Administration degree which has put her in a position to run this engineering department. We need to ask questions about whether this sort of hiring is a good idea, honest.

    The reality is she’s a Social Justice Warrior with an Administration degree, and she’s head of a school of Engineering Education…not exactly a school of Engineering.

     Let that sink in: this department is not being run by an engineer. She got a Ph.D. in Administration, not engineering.

To fight this, Riley calls for engineering programs to “do away with” the notion of academic rigor completely, saying, “This is not about reinventing rigor for everyone, it is about doing away with the concept altogether so we can welcome other ways of knowing. Other ways of being….

     Is anybody else a bit worried about driving over a bridge built by engineers from this school? Would Riley really want her children on such a bridge? I suspect her tolerance for “other ways of knowing” would diminish markedly if her or her children’s life hung in the balance. Gravity, schmavity, right?

      I’m really hard pressed to believe she actually believes these things she’s saying.

Campus Reform reached out to Riley multiple times for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.  

     Well, it is clear from the above she does believe her own work should not be open to debate, or even comment, but luckily the article I’m quoting from has a few comments from readers, uniformly dismissive of this “other ways of knowing” nonsense.

At some point companies will not recruit Purdue. This happened at Stanford. If an engineering product is defective people die…

      The above comment shows I’m not alone in thinking that engineering is one of the many things in the modern world which should be pursued rigorously. Another comment asks the question I’ve been dancing around:

Wow I thought that engineering was about designing and building things , all this time it’s been another white haven, but why are there so many Asian and Indian engineers? More importantly why does this woman have a job?

     When SJWs (Social Justice Warriors) take over a campus, they put themselves in “leadership” positions, from which they can enforce their lunacy. I can’t help but suspect that’s what happened here. From her position as department head, you can bet she pressures her underlings to follow her SJW ideals…or else. You can also bet she makes certain that all future hires are SJWs only.

      Eventually, you’ll have a whole department of people with pseudo-engineering degrees, yet allegedly teaching engineers. I’ve seen it happen in math, so I can easily conceive it happening elsewhere.

     In any event, Purdue has just nuked the credibility of their engineering degrees.