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The Engineer
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The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/25/2011 1:04 PM

Although federal budget cuts to science has received some press, something far more damaging has been occurring much more quietly.

State Universities, which tend to be almost 2/3 less expensive than private colleges on average, are being forced to cut or combine science departments due to state budget constraints. Why would they cut hard sciences such as Physics or Chemistry? The reason given is that these departments tend to have lower graduation rates than other departments.

So there you have it. State Universities are cutting science departments because they are unpopular. What could possibly be the flaw in that thinking? The Antiscience is in full swing.

http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/201012/budgetcuts.cfm

"They've terminated both physics and chemistry, along with a couple of other programs at the end of the spring semester," said Paul Withey, the head of the physics and chemistry department.

Other articles on the subject of cutting hard sciences from state universities

http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/news/article_8a60dfee-3d3c-11df-97f5-001cc4c002e0.html

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20110625/OPINION03/306250017/Program-cuts-harm-higher-education-in-Tennessee

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#1

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/25/2011 3:24 PM

Yeah we can get bums on seats for media studies and give 'em all a pass... what could possibly be wrong with that?
This is bonkers doublethink that confuses marketing with market forces and supply and demand with cheaply available rubbish.

It's the old law of unforseen consequences, if the system is results driven, then it makes sense to lower the standard so that no one fails. Cut all the long courses so you get more people through.
Education shouldn't be run by accountants and marketing men.
Del
BTW. Does anyone want to enrol in the KrisDelTM 30 minute MBA (Master of biting ar$es) course ER is the course tutor (we havn't told her yet)

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The Engineer
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#2
In reply to #1

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/25/2011 3:43 PM

30 minutes!...Is there a shorter course available? Something in the 10 minute range?

On a sad note, at my old University (SUNY-Albany) they have gotten rid of Latin and the Classics as degrees. Now call me old fashioned, but I think I would have cut some of the 20 sports programs we have first. Not that I don't like sports, it's just that, if you're a University and you have to choose between the Iliad and Lacrosse...

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#3
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/25/2011 3:50 PM

Is there a shorter course available? Something in the 10 minute range?
Yes... you've just passed it.
Please send your remitance to .
Mr K Squirrel (Chief nut counter)
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UK.
Your Gold edged fully embossed cerstifimicate will follow shortly.
Del

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The Engineer
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#4
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/25/2011 4:05 PM

Fantastic! I've been promoted twice in the 10 minutes since I received my MBA. I now have 20 people working for me! Thanks Del!

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#5
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/25/2011 6:56 PM

I hope those 20 people have one our widely recognized MBA's ! If not, please have them send us a cheque. No need to attend our University above the kebab shop in Etherville - organizing to send a cheque is all the proof of ability we ask .

The UK has a great system; Go study some Mickey Mouse degree that leaves a person unemployable. They'll never have to pay back the Government to loan to study whatever twallop it is, because their wage (if any) won't reach the threshold for paying back said loan.

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#6
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/25/2011 8:04 PM

This is getting expensive.

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#7
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/25/2011 9:10 PM

You think the cost of fake education is expensive? Wait to you see the cost of fake ignorance!

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#8

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/25/2011 10:59 PM

Nope, just soft and easy sciences, such as crystal therapy.

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#9

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/26/2011 12:13 AM

Who needs formal education, when we have the Internet to educate everyone? Besides, if you study physics in University, you have to deal with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Internet Physics allows you to violate the Second Law at will!

THIS IS A JOKE, FOLKS! Don't take me seriously!

All public education is going to ultimately reduce to the common denominator, which means to make education available to the masses, you have to dumb it down. Governments generally function smoother when the people are poorly informed...

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#10
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/26/2011 12:28 AM

I don't know about all that, but I've got and engine based on magnetic principles that runs forever and generates unlimited energy, are you interested?

...


Looking around the mess that is my office it pretty clear that at least here the second law of thermodynamics remains intact.

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#11
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/26/2011 1:18 AM
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#12

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/26/2011 1:55 AM

Roger - Take a look at the future:

http://www.npr.org/2011/06/23/137325550/math-videos-go-from-youtube-hit-to-classroom-tool

http://www.khanacademy.org/

Khan is already into basic sciences. There will be others to follow him with other subjects. We're just a few steps in software product development and ID verification from having the system by which degree credits can be assigned to completion of Khan's courses. Eventually we won't need those money grubbing colleges and universities for much of undergraduate education.

Could be those colleges that are shrinking the headcount of their science departments are thinking the same way I am.

Ed Weldon

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#13

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/26/2011 3:29 AM

There seem to be a nice class size enrolled here now.
Watch out, when ER shows up we'll have to be quiet and sit up straight.
Del

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#75
In reply to #13

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/29/2011 7:01 AM

Quiet in class!!!

Good. Now ... who can spell their own name?

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#14

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/26/2011 1:05 PM

Sadly, hard science is losing out to the "make work" departments. There has long been a push to require science and engineering majors to take courses in the humanities and arts in order to make them "balanced individuals". The real reason is to provide a demand for, and therefore jobs for, humanities and arts instructors. So now, we have make-work classes taking priority over the classes that the students are actually there for, and it takes 5 years to get a BS instead of 4. It's a win for the administrators - who are overwhelmingly from the liberal arts community.

I concur that some efforts need to be taken to develop well-rounded individuals. A certain breadth of knowledge is very important. I have long advocated the policy that, if science, math and engineering students are required to take arts and humanities in order to become well-rounded, then arts and humanities students should be required to take science, math and engineering courses to be well-rounded. Just picture how much better the world could be if everyone actually had a grasp of the basic sciences of how things work rather than just viewing the machines and systems that influence our daily lives as magic black boxes.

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#16
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 3:04 AM

"Just picture how much better the world could be if everyone actually had a grasp of the basic sciences of how things work rather than just viewing the machines and systems that influence our daily lives as magic black boxes." osbourne83

If that's going to work you've got to take it easy on the math. Otherwise you'll lose half the students the first day. It is far more important for the majority well educated citizens to accept the efficacy and validity of science and the scientific method than be able to execute the actual mathematical solutions. A little algebra, geometry, trig, statisitics, understanding of powers of 10 and maybe other basics I've forgotten is all that is needed.

I've had some experience with a local university's engineering program. The Dean of engineering has pushed the idea of big picture social consciousness for the undergrad engineering programs. (there's those liber arts Profs) The students always have gotten an excellent education in the basics of engineering subjects. But what has lost out from the change in emphasis has been teaching them how to be engineers. It shows in their senior projects. They do learn how to use CAD/CAE tools and muddle through their senior projects largely depending on what they can find for materials at the local hardware stores. But that's about it. It's as if the university is building future technical managers or graduate students rather than real engineers.

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 5:39 AM

Ar ha! "half the students" That's a "fraction"!

I know one when I sees one cause I got A+ in fractions in my university finals.

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#18
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 6:50 AM

You wrote, "They do learn how to use CAD/CAE tools and muddle through their senior projects largely depending on what they can find for materials at the local hardware stores."

Then they come here and post for help.

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#177
In reply to #18

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/02/2011 2:34 PM

I have work at places where they called themselves engineers, and the only certificate they had was a bartenders licenses and maybe a CAD certificate.

And they muddle through engineering concepts.

I hope they never find this spot.

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#19
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 9:52 AM

what do you really learn at university?

how to be a student or administrator

education is dysfunctional in similar ways to government

too many layers of bureaucracy

the organizational structures have not been able to utilize the improvements in information technology

businesses have incentives to reduce middle management [not a profit center]

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#171
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/01/2011 10:50 PM

What you're saying is oh so true, but not complete. Let me try to elaborate a little.

Such a regrettable trend may be inevitable. So, what are the alternatives, if any?

One of the other primary purposes of University baccelaureate programs is to "screen" for potential researchers. Hence, the various bachelor programs tend to emphasize theory over practicality.

The "cream" of such a "crop" tends to have more ability and motivation towards theoretical research, essentially as a kind of Research Apprentice, while in Masters Programs...

The top performers of that group can then essentially become Journeymen Researchers in Doctorate Programs...

The extent of success of such research can then attract a bigger reputation to the more such successful research schools, which then attract more well-known established researchers to such institutions, which subsequently attract more and higher caliber underclassmen to apply, thereby justifying greater tuition increases...

Such resultant Master Researchers may never enter actual "practice" at all. And if they do, they have to be trainned typically from "scratch". Is this really effective?

This cycle repetitively benefits the (academic industry?) but does little to provide qualified trainees to the actual business industry, and then, in relatively round-about ways...

But wait. In this ever-more competitive global economy, does the Business World need even more researchers? And, does it not need better practitioners as well?

So the question arises, why does not a related group of (say, engineering, etc. ?)businesses:

- set up a non-profit trainning facility, to train the needed people directly;

- on a break-even cost basis only;

- in session-sequences conducted over 1 to 3 years duration depending on the specialty;

- have their best/senior/retiree people actually do the training of the trainees;

- grant those who complete their programs a Certificate-of-Specialty-Program-Completion, and;

- offer jobs directly to the best of those who do complete any one of such specialty programs?

In other words, why doesn't the business sector react to the current quandary by creating a more directly effective alternative to universities, which in turn, would more affordably train the people those businesses need, with the most specific skills, that are currently needed by such a specific business group?...

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#172
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/02/2011 1:11 AM

"So the question a rises, why does not a related group of (say, engineering, etc. ?)businesses: Set up a non-profit trainning facility, to train the needed people directly;- on a break-even cost basis only ...... etc."

The answer is simple: Because such a training facility will not improve this year's profits. It may be affordable to the company if they can get the instructors to work for free. What do you think is the chance of that?

One of the last such American programs, GMI, was spun off by General Motors 30 years ago. The university which granted my BSME in 1962 received half its operating budget from local industry. That sort of thing is gone today. American corporations no longer have that kind of long range strategic vision. Thanks Wall Street!!

If companies can't get the engineers they need at the price they want to pay they simple have their industry lobbyists push the Congress for more H1B's or in some cases like consumer products simply "offshore" the engineering development work along with the manufacturing. Much cheaper than long range investments in college training. And in the case of H1B's much easier to retain the foreign workers who are a mild form of indentured servants.

Ed Weldon

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#173
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/02/2011 10:40 AM

years ago I was taking classes at Delgado community college in New Orleans

Many of the instructors were from the local spacecraft testing & assembly plant

Michoud which built different stages for the moon shot & shipped them to Florida for final assembly [There were also some big shipyards in the area that did the same thing]

in the early days there was an urgent need for workers with some technical knowledge

their solution was to send over a few rocket scientists to teach classes

by the time I was at Delgado in the 80's, the same career path was common for teachers

why did this happen? the companies [Michoud was owned by Chrysler at the time] made it worth their engineers while to retire & become teachers

I'm sure that exceptions were made to allow work experience to be substituted for formal teaching education

Chrysler needed the workers to be able to fulfill the contracts, which had very short timelines

fast forward to today

how can we incentivise similar situations

Taxes, regulation & monetary policy can promote or dissuade anything

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#174
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/02/2011 11:55 AM

"Taxes, regulation & monetary policy can promote or dissuade anything" ...... Garth

I'm not optimistic. Programs that put money in the pockets of the learning institutions are welcome. Programs that create competition for them and decrease their market share are a different story. And new government programs are not exactly popular these days, especially ones which require appropriations.

While I cite my old experiences with a bit of nostalgia I'm not sure that corporate involvement in education is an answer for the USA. I suspect it is an answer looking for a problem. To my observations training engineers prior to hiring is a long term strategic thing that has little place in a world where the price of the company stock determines whether the the management is here today and gone tomorrow.

Change that paradigm by changing the securities laws to encourage corporate strategic investment. Then everything else changes. There is a lot of big Wall Street money that wouldn't like that.

Another point of attack on a sclerotic educational system would be some sunshine on the very secret criteria employed by the regional college accreditation entities. I suspect a deep mucky swamp there that would make Moody's and Standard and Poors look like koi ponds.

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#175
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/02/2011 12:37 PM

no matter how flawed we are as a nation, we are an integral part of the worldwide money machine

for me the 1st step is changing the way we interact with government on all levels

we need decision making by informed opinion, not sound bite

we should be able to use information technology to further that goal

there are steps that help government be [or at least appear] more interactive, being used at various levels

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#176
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/02/2011 2:01 PM

"No matter how flawed we are as a nation, we are an integral part of the worldwide money machine" Garthh

Agreed.

"For me the 1st step is changing the way we interact with government on all levels .....we need decision making by informed opinion, not sound bite" Garthh

Everything we say to government is mired in interpretations of our language and filtered by the formulas of statisticians. Much if not most of what we say to government is grounded in ignorance to begin with. There's the science education factor. Math too; especially with respect to economics.

"We should be able to use information technology to further that goal" Garthh

That's not happening. I think the problem is bandwidth. There is also a bunch of silly privacy issues. Some border on paranoia.

Some paranoia is justified. I am acquainted with a fellow, educated and worked at a high level in the USA, who is by most measures intellectually brilliant. Some years ago he did pioneering development of meaning recognition software for English language writings. That technology is showing up in China lately. It's cutting edge stuff. Scary.

"There are steps that help government be [or at least appear] more interactive, being used at various levels" Garthh

Right ...... Have you gone on your congressperson's website lately? Write a comment and you will be asked to check a category box. There it is. The statistician's filter. What do you think are the chances that what you write will be read by a real human? How about the chances of it being scanned by meaning recognition software? Good or bad? Depends on whether your name or some fairly specific demographics is tied to the writing.

Government agencies genuinely try to put on a good face. That includes listening to the public. It takes a lot of effort to set up these programs and determine their effectiveness. Every time we elect a new Congress they swing a budgetary "meat ax" at anything that doesn't fit partisan dogma. It's all waste, fraud and inefficiency. Where do you think the public fits in this picture?

Ed Weldon

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#179
In reply to #176

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/02/2011 7:19 PM

I have worked for four federal agencies, and have been repetitively stifled for showing work-related initiative.

In the end, simple initiative may be the most important global commodity. Where is ours going to now?...

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#180
In reply to #176

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/02/2011 8:47 PM

the logistics of business have profoundly changed on all levels

middle management has been drastically reduced. there is no longer the need for legions of clerks manually generating data

just like you pointed out at the beginning of the thread

technology exists that can increase the efficiency of education

private & public social organizations have changed

could you have imagined a place like this 20 years ago?

governments have just begun to change

there is a long history of things like the PTA & Grand juries providing feedback

http://www.cafwd.org/ & other efforts are beginning to evolve into something useful

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#181
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/03/2011 10:01 PM

Back when I was in college, I was granted a scholarship from Alcoa Aluminum, based on scholastic performance. Alcoa had no formal relationship (of which I am aware), nor much of a corporate presence in El Paso, Texas (where I happened to be attending university). I don't remember all the details, but there were no strings attached, and the funds provided were more than enough to cover the cost of text books, etc. (tuition was not all that expensive back in those days- cost of books, if I remember right, was on the order of 4 times the cost of tuition). Of course, several years after I left university (after working elsewhere), I became aware of an opportunity available with Alcoa- I was hired immediately when I happened to mention during the interview, "Oh, by the way, I had an Alcoa scholarship at university."

The point is, not all that long ago (well, some of you youngsters may consider it ages ago), major corporations paid into the education system in a number of different ways, without expecting immediate return on that investment- and investment in the future of the country, if you will. I don't know if this still goes on...

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#182
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/03/2011 10:17 PM

I think you have it in a nut shell.

These days it's all about 'fast returns' or 'instant gratification' - much as one saw/sees in the 'TV generation' and 'computer kids' - who are now becoming the 'movers and shakers' in the world of finance and commerce in particular.

Also, a result from a 10 year plan will not show on your CV if you change jobs every 2 - 5 years.

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#195
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/06/2011 2:36 PM

You can not fault them for changing jobs, well unless you are one of those cheap managers. Corpporate HR will recruit new employees from competitors at 50% or 10% increases in salaries, but local managers are currently claiming the economy is making it impossible to give those same employees a raise. I see it all the time. At URS i used to work with a admin assistant who after a couple of years of being told that a raise was not in the budget, she applied with another local firm, and surprisingly URS found the money in the budget plus a little on top to retain her. She then learned that if she wanted a raise she needed someone else to offer her a job or at least call HR for employment reference. In my current company they told everyone that the best the region could do this year was 0% to 1% raise, but later we found out some of the managers got a 5% raise, while we continue to lay off technical staff. The only way to get around the current prevailing tendency towards trying not to pay for labor is to seek other employments. I used that technique myself 2 years ago and instead of 3% received 3% twice. Apparently my manager recommended the second raise when he thought i might seriously leave. It is the only technique I ever hear people saying they use to get a raise anymore, and management uses it as a baseline to determine when they have to pay more for their talent (when they are leaving). Sometimes the offer from the competitor is just too good to not take. Maybe if managers would get smart and pay their employees properly instead of trying to steal away their competitors employees, they might not have the problems associated with the high rotation of staff. (Clients hate it by the way when staff they work with keeps leaving, but they don't really work with the managers so..)

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#183
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/03/2011 10:37 PM

I had a similar scholarship from the Shell Oil Companies Foundation. Back then, my total college expenses were about $1300-1400 per year, including tuition, textbooks, rooming house rent, and a few trips home. The scholarship covered $400/year, and summer Forest Service jobs the rest. A round-trip Seattle/Yakima train ticket was less than $5.

(How many fogy points do I get for this?)

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#184
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/03/2011 10:46 PM

(How many fogy points do I get for this?)
All of em

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#185
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/03/2011 10:54 PM

Now that I have a monopoly, I'll just buy some hotels and charge rent.

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#186
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/03/2011 11:00 PM

with the value of the dollar

your hotel should be a veritable Mecca

for Fogy's from around the world

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#187
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/03/2011 11:46 PM

Please Garth, what is a Fogy?

I haven't the foggiest idea. Maybe that's it, someone who has no idea?

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#188
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/03/2011 11:53 PM

you don't have the fogiest idea?http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fogyism

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#189
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/04/2011 12:12 AM

Thanks.

Never heard it used. My other thought was that it was someone lost in the London Fog or someone lost in anything or anywhere. Not going there anyway.

There is no German word for it. The closest I could find was foghorn which means the signals ships make when the warn each other in a fog.

I like the transparent better.

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#190
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/04/2011 3:51 AM

....foggy....fagen......It's close enough for me to badquip (made that one up on me own )......

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#191
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/04/2011 10:52 AM

Independance Day is the celebration of

switching to a different set of rich guys being in charge

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#192
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/05/2011 4:31 AM

Bit risky for a Brit to opine, but it does seem to have been a money issue. Still, it's probably better to have the landlord live along the road rather than across the pond.

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#193
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/05/2011 9:23 AM

I didn't say it was a bad thing

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#194
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/05/2011 4:43 PM
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#20
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 11:29 AM

Ed-

Math doesn't really get FUN until one starts to get in to the Calculus! Properly taught, Calculus can be easy to learn, and can provide great insight into how the world works. Far more useful than arithmetic or algebra...

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#22
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 12:06 PM

cwarner -- Calculus is easy for you and me to learn. But we tend to forget that a very big part of the world's population has trouble with either abstract symbols or a general level of intelligence. Many of the former type (often having dislectic minds) are quite intelligent and fill the ranks of sales people, politicians and media types. They also fill other general leadership roles born of ability to relate to and interact with people.

The low intelligence group make up a very large part of the "voting" population. The challenge there is to deal with their belief systems in a constructive way. They have a number of ways of voting beyond what happens at election times.

If you want to teach these two types of people any kind of what we refer to as science you've got to keep the symbolic logic to a minimum. They have all they can do to understand simple graphs and charts. You need a different way of presenting the knowledge.

Ed Weldon

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#23
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 12:45 PM

If you want to teach these two types of people any kind of what we refer to as science you've got to keep the symbolic logic to a minimum. They have all they can do to understand simple graphs and charts. You need a different way of presenting the knowledge.


which goes back to the point you are making in #12

then the next step is integrating the labs & hands on, which really do need to be taken concurrently


but the labs are very expensive to operate

there could probably be a system of interships/indentured servitude

is higher education as a separate entity necessary?

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#25
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 1:57 PM

indentured servitude? Yeah that wouldn't get a lawsuit and constitutional challenge. Plus having been in both advanced chemistry courses labs in college, and working as a lab chemist for a corporation, I can tell you there is a big difference. Labs for corporations work mostly on cheap fast and simple, unless something deviates from standard. When there is something different they go to the chemists to discern what to do at that point. I worked in labs where there were both technicians w/o degrees and chemists w/ degrees. If something in the sample chemistry was atypical they technicians were not expected to understand why or relevent issues (or even care expect maybe through their own personal curiousity), the chemists were. This knowledge come from working in the college labs doing experiments that have no real financial value to businesses. Along with learning good laboratory practices and techniques above that the technicians will be exposed to, such experiments are usually demonstrate the theories and mechanisms in practice, and how to conduct experiments. Companies are into using the labor for profit and there is more profit in doing the same work repeatedly with no changes than doing different tasks. Plus everything is automated to the point science would become simply filling a vial and putting it on a rack.

It is similar to my current job, we have technicians who conduct the plan reviews, bidding processes, and such. They are very competent at those roles as long as everything is consistent with the process they have been shown in the past and the Standards (and the math is not complicated). If anything deviates, even if it would exceed the standards, they are no longer competent because they lack the rudimentary knowledge of the engineering they just know what was shown to them to do last time on the last projects. (Even worse in some subtle cases they are knowledgable and can not recognize that something is actually a problem because the lack the background education to know better.) If it worked fine last time (or even the last 100 times), doesn't mean it will work again this time.

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#33
In reply to #25

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 6:24 PM

things are going to change

I was offering up a potential

with the present system, the debt for education is held by a bank

the servitude is a little more generalized

spending tomorrows money,

it's much like a 20 something buying a house that can't be sold, how many would make a wise decision?

how can education be more efficient?

what you are describing in the lab is a lack of critical thinking ability/expectation & is evident at all levels to some degree

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#35
In reply to #23

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 6:53 PM

Maybe it's time to think in terms of something like formal apprenticeship programs for the engineering disciplines. Unfortunately, one would have to have several different companies participating, so that apprentices could rotate through different environments during their term to insure that they have a well-rounded education...

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#36
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 8:28 PM

sort of like what some engineers have to do to receive their licensure? After completing college they have to complete at least 2 years work experience if they graduate from a nationally certified program at undergraduate level and have completed the in-training examination prior to working. A graduate degree counts towards 1 year of work experience. The rest of the educational experince is evaluated if it doesn't conform to the ABET certified programs or is non-engineering. It can be upto 6 years if they pass the in training exam first, or 16 years without the in-training exam.

In the sciences they have not quite evolved as far yet, though they are making slow headway. There are already psuedo programs volutarily applied for ACS and APS for some universities, but these do not reconcile the majors outside of physics or chemistry and only creates a greater disparity in knowledge and time invested as the industry organizations like ACS press for more units, and greater coursework required per unit, while outside these programs the push is for less. A student would likely be required to take 196+ quarter units to receive a degree in chemistry from a ACS program (BS) to earn the same as a chemistry degree in a non-ACS teaching program (BA) who has to take maybe 160 units to graduate, and not be considered as qualified to teach chemistry if he so decided unlike the BA degree. So why would any student choose the ACS program over the teaching degree, the companies make no distinction in hiring people (and actually some times they perceive the additional education as a potential liability). There is no impetus on the universities to implement any stronger programs than already occur, the organizations can not force the issue, and most psuedo scientists really do not want a system that requires work experience and formal education to be evaluated followed by testing to receive a license to be deemed qualified as a professional in science. Even many engineering disciplines cringe at the thought of such a formal program. Without the licensure apprenticeship means nothing, except something else to add to resume under work experience.

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#38
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 10:42 PM

When I got my PE, the requirement was a BS in engineering followed by 4 years engineering employment. There were two tests- EIT (Engineer in Training) taken right after University, and then the PE exam, taken after 4 years on the job. Sounds like its getting easier...

What I would consider a viable apprenticeship program is something along the lines of the old Panama Canal Apprenticeship program, that included both on-the-job training and classroom work. It was targeted more for the trades than the engineering profession, but I could see something similar developing for some engineering disciplines. It would most likely require considerably more than 4 years, and I would expect on-the-job training to include time on CAD stations, probably some programming work, definitely some project management training, maybe some machine shop time. One would want a cross-industry consortium- say, an automotive manufacturer and an aerospace firm and maybe a consumer product manufacturer. For civil engineers, THEY MUST SPEND SOME TIME MUCKING OUT SEPTIC TANKS. Not that I have anything against Civil Engineers...

It would be difficult to design a good program, but I think a program mixing real, hands-on experience with the classroom theoretical work would be most beneficial to all involved (except, of course, College Administrator types).

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#39
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 7:44 AM

Re: For civil engineers, THEY MUST SPEND SOME TIME MUCKING OUT SEPTIC TANKS. Not that I have anything against Civil Engineers...

I'm curious, and have a "challenge" for you (I used to hate people that gave me challenges ;-)

Aside: Are you a civil engineer? Oh, or maybe youi've been a victim of a civil engineer who hadn't mucked out any septic tanks and thus left you with some major problem(s)?

What I'm wondering is, whatever you, or they learned (or a civil engineer would learn) by mucking out septic tanks, why can't it be taught without doing that?

I mean, with all the tools we have at hand these days (video cameras, animation, ...), couldn't we find a way to (vividly) convey that information by some other means? For example, if the problem is build up of "impossible to remove" accumulations in certain areas of the tank, show pictures of the problem tank in a new (i.e., clean) condition, after the buildup, and maybe the weight loss the tank cleaner experiences after two hours trying to clean that accumulation.

Or something?

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#42
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 11:22 AM

We are acquiring the technology to keep our hands out of the "muck". Like the evolution of many other complex technologies it takes time to develop and bring the costs down. What started with radio controlled model planes is now killing terrorists. Well, at least some of the time. But that still requires some expenditure of expensive materials.

But the essence of economy in training and education is the ability to convey the knowledge with the least amount of expenditure of labor and materials. A teacher is more efficient speaking to a class of 10 rather than a single student. Elementary electronics, a microphone, amplifier and speakers enable the teacher to speak to 100. Broadcast it on radio and thousands can be taught by just one speech. Now it is 1930. Record the speech on some media and it can be repeated many times to teach tens of thousands. It is now 1950. The internet spreads the reach of knowledge to millions. It is now the 21st century

Fast forward through all the developments of "remote control" to 2011 and look at the video game technology. Video game technology enables us to train not only the mind and primary sensory organs but also the rest of the student's body with entirely electronic simulations. No more need to have hardware on the other end of the controls. We are talking virtual labs and workshops.

Here is the ability to teach millions. It's all based on electronic technology to reproduce and distribute knowledge with the most minute amounts of labor and materials (including energy). This efficiency is only limited by the legitimate need of the creator of the training material to gain some profit in return for invention, labor and materials expended in creation of the original work.

OK, we have a long way to go to make a virtual workshop do the training job a real workshop can do. I think Gene Roddenberry knew this when he invented the Holodeck. But most people don't actually need to touch the hardware to do the job. Knowledge to give them the ability to understand, make decisions and act in the course of their work and lives can be provided entirely by electronic simulations.

Someday in the future the I/O hardware will reach the point where the line between the virtual workshop and the real workshop becomes blurred and the technology will be available to many rather than just a few. But we don't have to wait for that to get on with the new affordable kind of education.

Ed Weldon

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#46
In reply to #42

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 2:50 PM

Ed, I love your vision of applying technology to education. I'm not so sure that the teachers & administrators who would be out of a job as a result would agree. It's going to take a free market revolution with competition to make it happen.

The last piece to overcome: most learn more (and deeply) by doing (hands on) than by observing & listening. Lecture series exist now, but how do you replace a teacher noticing a confused look on a shy student or an individual question that needs answering to gain understanding before moving on?

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#57
In reply to #42

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 8:07 PM

well Ed

that's the kind of technology that will allow change

the money will drive us in that direction

how a degree is valued may also change

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#178
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

07/02/2011 6:54 PM

I, as a Civil PE since 1980, have to say that, from 30+ years of personal experience;

"Getting your hands theoretically (dirty) is a pale imitation of actually getting your hands (dirty)"... It shows that one is committed, and not just a dilletante...

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#43
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 11:43 AM

Probably different State. Actually, it is 6 years after EIT in California (since 1970s) of which a maximum of 4 can be counted from a ABET certified engineering program, less to for non-ABET programs down to nothing for science programs in disciplines like Civil. For example, a inspector in my Office has a CE degree from some fancy univserity in Mexico city and receives no credit from State, so he'd have to work 6 years after receiving EIT. A masters degree only counts as 1 year towards license, though they are seriously debating increasing requirement to a master degree as a minimum for licensure.

The problem with an apprenticeship is that companies would use them just like they use interns now. Many colleges have internship programs, and the companies use the interns as cheap or free labor to do the mundane stuff their administrative assistants or draftsmen are too expensive (or might present some harrassment liabilities) to do. The problem you would have is the same as you see with intern ships through universities, companies do not use the interns to do the work and gain the experience in the field they are being educated, but tend to use the interns to get coffee, make copies, make deliveries, bind reports, etc. all because the management over pays their own administrative staff to put up with them.

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#37
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 9:01 PM

Right

existing trade groups could coordinate the process

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#40
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 8:57 AM

This sounds like a good and a noble solution, but I hate to rain on your parade because I believe it does not address the root cause of the problem (at least in the USA anyway).

Do you think the universities would be cutting the hard sciences if the demand for them (and the $ from potential students) was high? They are reacting to the declining demand, due to fewer math & science qualified (and/or motivated) students completing high school. Do I have it wrong here?

Do you think many companies would gladly take on the expense of educating engineers with the hard sciences that is now the responsibility of the students & universities? What is in it for them? Many prefer to train graduating engineers ("on the job" training) with specific & specialized experience, but few, if any, who need an engineer now would add the additional time and cost to start with the hard sciences.

As I presented in my earlier post, until we address the cause of declining demand, adding apprenticeships (or the frowned upon internships) would be like giving a party and no one shows up!

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#41
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 10:01 AM

To add to your point, we are currently experiencing a college attendance boom as the peak of the echo boomers are college age. In other words, in a few years it will be even worse, the current college boom is masking the extent of the problem.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/10/01/60minutes/main646890.shtml

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#44
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 12:03 PM

I am from the beginning of the baby boomers and my 3 sons are from the beginning of the echo boomers. I can't say I agree with all of that article, but most of it applies to their generation. They all did well in math & science, but it was in spite of the poor education they were receiving from public schools (mom & dad influence). One is an audio engineer and the other two are in technology careers (none in my businesses).

I hope I am wrong and this will reverse (as engineering "supply" cycles have in the past), but I have seen too many of their fellow students steer away from engineering & the hard sciences. They struggled with the basic math & science, had little encouragement, looked at it as "too much hard work" and chose easier careers. The engineering technology courses in 3 local high schools are struggling to keep even one combined course open. I am hearing the same for much of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

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#59
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 8:32 PM

Peruse the names of people who graduated with Masters degrees in Engineering from RPI this past year and you'll see the truth. Pretty much all Chinese and Indian names. I wouldn't mind, but they don't even stick around anymore. They go back home and make their countries stronger. If I could, I'd make them stay and become Americans. We need them.

I met a Japanese girl with an Indian friend once. He was buying a car from her and wanted me along to have a look since he didn't know what to look for in a car and what was a fair price. We were both graduate students in the Physics department.

He made some small talk, told her he was in physics, then she asked me what I did. I said that I studied physics too. Undergraduate? No, I'm going for my Ph.D.

"Oh" she said "I didn't think white guys did Physics"

It wasn't what she said, but how she said it that made it so disturbing. There wasn't a hint of a smile to suggest humor. Not a hint that she was even aware she had just said something racist. It was her honest heartfelt opinion, she was genuinely surprised.

Why shouldn't they think this? In their culture knowledge is respected. Here it is derided. Their education is esteemed. Here it is out of touch (ivory tower).

There is nothing surprising about whats going on in this country. It has happened to every empire that ever lived. Turn your back on teachers, academics, scientists and what do you have left? Dancers, Singers and Athletes, which is perfect, we will be well prepared to entertain our conquerors.

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#102
In reply to #59

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/29/2011 4:04 PM

"Not a hint that she was even aware she had just said something racist."

Is that really a racist statement/thought?

According to the World English Dictionary

Racism is defined as:

  1. the belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics determined by hereditary factors and that this endows some races with an intrinsic superiority over others
  2. abusive or aggressive behaviour towards members of another race on the basis of such a belief

Had she said she didn't think that white guys were capable of doing Physics, that would be something completely different. It's not uncommon for a huge majority of a particular group (white, black, green....American, Australian, Canadian, Japanese...etc) to choose to do a particular activity or hold a particular belief. Acknowledgement of that generalization does not make it racist. For instance, I could make the statement "Japanese eat a lot of rice". As a generalization it is factual, however, it does not mean that every Japanese person eats a lot of rice.

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#103
In reply to #102

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/29/2011 4:07 PM

Roger to add to my previous post....you may want to consider that not all cultures are as sensitive as ours.

Political correctness has gone way too far IMHO.

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#110
In reply to #103

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/29/2011 4:26 PM

Most cultures are not as sensitive as ours. We historically have always kept half an eye on the "tyranny of the majority". We don't always succeed in avoiding it, but at least we have the decency to feel guilty about it from time to time. It's why people flock to our shores.

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#109
In reply to #102

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/29/2011 4:24 PM

If I said "I didn't think asians played basketball". Would that have been racist? Of course. So replace "asians" with "white guys" and "played basketball" with "studied physics" and I think it's pretty clear.

Don't get me wrong, she way a nice girl and I didn't get mad. Actually my reaction was to laugh about it afterwards. But of course it was racist. Half the physicists in this country are white guys, why would she think what she thought?

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#114
In reply to #109

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/29/2011 4:41 PM

I disagree. If in fact most Asians don't play basketball, it is not a racist statement as much as it is an observation. Just because she (or you or I) make the statement...by preceding it with 'I thought' leaves open the possibility that she (or you or I) could be mistaken in what we think. It doesn't make her racist....mistaken...but not racist.

Half the physicists in this country are white guys, why would she think what she thought? Since the discussion was regarding current scholastics her statement is based on her observation of the present state of what's going on in the educational environment....not who was educated 10, 20, 40 or 50 years ago. And perhaps English is not her first language therefore didn't realize she would have been more clear if she added the word 'anymore' to the end of her comment.

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#116
In reply to #114

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/29/2011 4:48 PM

We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. Not all racism is overt. Look, I though it was funny, I'm just trying to give a little insight as to how we are viewed from the outside world. That wasn't the first time I heard a foreigner hint that americans are "fat and stupid". Unfortunately it's becoming a stereotype. Honestly, it's not hard to see how.

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#118
In reply to #114

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/29/2011 4:51 PM

half the physicist in this country are white guys? How come I don't see that many american physicists on the Science Channel at that ratio then? You have to admit there is some public perception issues there, if all they ever see are non-white physicists who are american and all the white physicists are from western europe. Maybe her information was limited to what she could readily see in publicly available media.

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#27
In reply to #16

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 3:29 PM

Actually, my school used the low-level math classes to weed out Engineering students. In my case, they almost succeeded. I ended up making it through by sheer hard-headedness and a little luck.

Physics was also used. I cheated there. Tested out of the first class and put off taking the other until I was a little more advanced student. I actually enjoyed the class.

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#24
In reply to #14

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 1:38 PM

You wrote: "I have long advocated the policy that, if science, math and engineering students are required to take arts and humanities in order to become well-rounded, then arts and humanities students should be required to take science, math and engineering courses to be well-rounded. "

Reminded me of my college days way back when. It was a requirement that people obtain a certain number of credits outside their chosen major. The first day of an astronomy course was a real shock to the humanities students. They had mistaken it for astrology.

In spite of themselves they did learn a bit of science. I remember the course fondly. The professor was also the projectionist at the local planetarium which was near by. After a frustrating week of classroom lessons on a blackboard he moved the class to the planaterium. Now that was a blackboard!!

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#26
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 2:38 PM

They do still have science requirements to graduate. However, they have gone through a process of creating "special" science courses specifically "adapted" to the needs of majors other than science and engineering. This simply has come to mean they are rudimentary remedial courses for majors who do not need them. Surprisingly, many arts and humanities requirements for science majors are core electives for those majors, like english or art. Junior level World history in nearly every State University/UC in California (except maybe Santa Cruz and Monterey) is a required course to fulfill a hiostory majors credit also. So in effect science majors have to compete with history majors for grades in history courses, but history majors do not necessarily have to sit in a chemistry class with of chemistry majors. Teaching major, well most physical science professors I have ever met find those so remedial they don't even consider them college level science, but rather something the teaching departments use to fulfill a state mandate and get credits towards graduation. If every major in college had to take the same entry level first year of chemistry and physics and math as science majors, many students may not want to atend college, and universities earn adminstration's salaries off the fees from their diploma mill majors.

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#28
In reply to #24

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 3:36 PM

We had a similar requirement, and I also took astronomy. It was a fantastic class and a wonderful break from senior-level Engineering classes.

I tried to at least make most of my electives be relevent to my course of study.

There was also a required macro-economics class. It had some math, but was a breeze for the Engineering students. I kind of felt sorry for some of the Humanities students in it though. "You mean we have to do multiplication?"

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#15

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 1:43 AM

By analogy they may start teaching only a part of the alphabet in schools for languages. Texting is already playing havoc with writing.

Bad show all round.

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#21

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 11:51 AM

Roger,

This isn't all that strange to see more often. I saw this before th financial crisis. It is about the limitations on course sizes, special facilities requirements (labs), and laboratory time. Here about 7 years ago Fresno State Univ. tried to do the same thing with the engineering college there. They only have the core engineering disciplines anyways, civil, mechanical, electrical, and CSC. They were going to cut some of the disciplines and move the computer oriented stuff to college of science to get rid of what they perceived as waste (under utilized lab space, large building devoted to engineering labs and resources, declining enrollments in technical majors, etc.). They also wanted to reorganize the college of science then to operate more cost efficiently, like the business college, which meant reorganizing chemistry, physics and geology (all lab intensive disciplines).

Like many State colleges, they have far more demand for remedial and entry level science courses at far less cost than for the technical coursework, e.g. special chemistry in support of nursing majors or remedial astronomy for teaching majors. The science courses are more profitable for the universities to offer since they can limit the laboratory time (in many cases the students don't even need to do experiments themselves but rather work in large groups or have teacher presented experiments) and maximize the space utilization (many people in major and less need for lab equipment per person). It is really a case of colleges trying to keep the cost of an education down for the vast majority of people trying to graduate by reducing the quality of the education, which is actually what most current students are demanding anyways.

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#29

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 5:03 PM

The sad fact is, the Universities are simply reacting to demand. As our USA elementary, middle and high schools continue their downward spiral of math & science scores, an increasing number of students are ill equipped in those basic tools to experience the joy & satisfaction of engineering and research.

Until (and if ever) parents retake their education systems back from teacher's unions and self serving ideological administrators, the decline will continue until we become a service organization to the countries who take math, science & engineering educations seriously!

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#30

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 5:58 PM

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be," wrote Thomas Jefferson, the nation's first "education president." - Thomas Jefferson

It may very well turn out that science/math degree availability in the U.S. will shrink to the point that it is only available at "select universities." This implies it may, also, only be a matter of time before education also becomes "outsourced," by virtue of foreign students ultimately returning and teaching in their own countries. (We likely won't be first in science/math education forever.)

There are some who believe that online education is the direction we are headed, but I don't think online education, especially in the STEM sphere, will ever offer the same quality as physical attendance at a college or university -- except, maybe in the case of theoretical fields.

I concur with osborne83 that H.S. as well as college students should have to take science and math up to calculus. Those with humanitarian and business degrees should be able to opt for a grade based on attendance and some kind of testing without a grade being detrimental to their overall average. (This could morph into a discussion about testing and education, in general.)

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#31
In reply to #30

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 6:08 PM

P.S. - Before some jump on my statement about us being "first" in science and math education, I mean primarily at the graduate level. That is why so many foreign students choose to get advanced degrees at American colleges and universities.

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#32
In reply to #30

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 6:10 PM

Re: (We likely won't be first in science/math education forever.)

Are we first in science/math education now? By a variety of measures I've seen, we haven't been first for quite a while. (Off the top of my head, I could not recite those statistics accurately without looking for them again--but they include things like performance of students in high school and lower grades on standardized math and science tests.)

By what measures are we still first?

Here's a quote from one story based on a quick google search (on [US math science education world rank]), U.S. Teens Trail Peers Around World on Math-Science Test:

The scores from the 2006 Program for International Student Assessment showed that U.S. 15-year-olds trailed their peers from many industrialized countries. The average science score of U.S. students lagged behind those in 16 of 30 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Paris-based group that represents the world's richest countries. The U.S. students were further behind in math, trailing counterparts in 23 countries.

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#34
In reply to #32

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/27/2011 6:33 PM

See my P.S. above. And here. I anticipated a response like this. I was referring to graduate-level education. I'm not sure of the numbers in graduate-level education enrollment, but my gut tells me we are first in enrollment of foreign students. Please correct me (and provide link) if you can find a good statistic somewhere. I couldn't find any but only had a few minutes to look.

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#45
In reply to #30

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 12:16 PM

Business Majors have to take a full years course in business calculus. I believe you may have them confused with public school teachers who don't have to take any calculus. Humanities and arts, well there is a reason they try to minimize the amount of math, enrollment=fees.

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#49
In reply to #45

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 4:08 PM

O.K. But what about science? Do Business majors have to take science of any sort?

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#50
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 4:29 PM

Yes, everyone to graduate has to take some physical science requirement and some life science requirement. However, the physical sciences are almost always are different than the freshman science courses for science majors, a watered down more broad general version. As far as I know though only teaching majors get exclusive highly remedial versions of science and math courses specifically designed to meet the bare minimum interpretation of the standard. The others majors, outside of technical majors, all get the same generic science courses for non-technical majors offered as electives to meet the Standard. Of course all the standards are State specific, so other States could exempt some majors from a science and math requirement in some way.

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#53
In reply to #50

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 5:43 PM

Well, do you think it makes much difference (pertaining to the OP) in California? (I assume you're speaking about your state.) I mean, do you think it actually changes people's thought processes in general? My feeling is, probably not much. (Per my post at #51 below.)

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#47

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 3:38 PM

Here is a link to a nice editorial related to what we are talking about, specifically, why don't kids what to be scientists.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/06/28/granderson.raising.nerd/index.html?&hpt=hp_c2

I think the hypocrisy he talks about at the end is a large reason why kids are avoiding the hard sciences.

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#48
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 3:57 PM

He does make an excellent point about the hypocrisy. Though he might also consider not just athletics but such people as Paris Hilton who at some younger level is perceived as having all these business interests going on and making a huge sum of money, when actually her wealth was derived from many generations back and she just dabbles in investing sometimes. Also, all those singers that have tv shows devoted to them who are awarded huge contracts, or actors who may have no education and earn more than a childs parents at age 18 just because of the way they look or willingness partake in some less savory activities in roles.

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#51
In reply to #47

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 4:32 PM

Hypocrisy probably does play a part. For a long time people have lamented that it is hard to get student athletes (from an early age) to realize the odds against them becoming the next "whomever" and devote time to school-work and studying. But most students aren't athletes.

There was another thread recently about someone offering $100,000 to "entrepreneurs" instead of going to college. College degrees seem watered down to a lot of people looking around them and seeing so many unemployed with degrees. For some, it is just too much work to get a college degree with little guarantee of return on the investment of money or time. It's a crap shoot for the immediate future.

I think environment definitely works against an inclination towards seeking knowledge for knowledge's sake. Just because video games and movies are generally "science fiction," I don't think it translates into a curiosity about understanding the world around us. I believe that there is an innate sense about these things;i.e., people are born with it. It can be cultivated and likewise stifled. Video games, movies, and TV have, in my opinion, contributed to the "dumbing down of America" as it is called. But at least children should have available an environment where the ones with a natural inclination toward science and math can flourish. Even then, there are very few, as a percentage of the population, who will love science and math for their own sake. It can be a lonely place.

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#52
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 5:40 PM

Good example. So we can stop blaming the Universities who are just filling a demand (or better a lack thereof) and place it on parents (and primary education teacher's unions & administrators) where it belongs, right?

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#54
In reply to #52

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 5:47 PM

Thank goodness you've realized that it neither the teacher's unions nor the administrators are responsible for the problem. ;-)

I suspect you were being sarcastic, but sarcasm doesn't usually get across very well in writing.

But, on the other hand, it is primarily the parent's and citizen's responsibility--we own this country--if we don't find ways to arrange it to our satisfaction, we should try something different. Maybe voting that chooses between two parties isn't the best approach?

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#55
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 6:08 PM

Thank goodness you've realized that it neither the teacher's unions nor the administrators are responsible for the problem. ;-)

They are not directly responsible, we are. But you can not ignore their indirect contribution to the cause (poor preparation and encouragement) due to a prevailing ideology that keeps some of them from an intense focus on their customer (the students education). They can rightfully blame parents for behavioral and motivation issues, but they still need to significantly improve the results of their noble efforts.

Maybe voting that chooses between two parties isn't the best approach?

Our founding fathers warned us of two dangers to democracy - the two party system (separates us) and citizens voting themselves money (bankrupt the system), so here we are!

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#56
In reply to #55

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 7:25 PM

Which founding father said that?

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#58
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Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 8:14 PM

I would have thought the problem was the fact that we reward schools financially based on graduation rates, whether the students deserve to graduate or not, while at the same time underpay teachers and force them to teach oversize classrooms. Then we condemn them because they aren't screwed over as badly as the rest of us with their benefits. "oh, they have healthcare and a retirement fund!!". Really? That's their crime? I think it's funny that people are attacking teachers now. Yes, clearly teachers are the problem with their Honda Civics and Mens Warehouse suits. Isn't it funny how the rich tell us who to blame and we obey?

The founding fathers were originally opposed parties in general, it's true, at least Washington was. However that was an impractical idealism. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison vs. Hamilton (Democratic Republicans vs. Federalists) was in full swing during Washington's own presidency. The viciousness of the politics back then were just as bad as today. Slander, Misleading Press, nothing has changed.

So here we are. About to break the teachers and punish them to "solve the education problem". Universities cutting the hard sciences because they aren't popular. Disappearing middle class. I'm all in, let's do this. Let's hit rock bottom as a nation as fast as possible.

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#60
In reply to #58

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 8:40 PM

A primary reason you can not raise taxes on the rich is that the typical salary of your Congressman puts him in the upper 5% of the population. They also tend to exempt themselves from such social programs as ObamaCare, etc...

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#61
In reply to #60

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 10:19 PM

Congressman are elected and do the public's bidding. The public doesn't want taxes on the rich, the house has said so this very week. The house obeys the people, and the people wan't solutions without sacrifice. They want bread and games.

When I spent 8 years working and putting myself through graduate school, I couldn't afford the 800 dollars a month to pay for individual healthcare and wasn't eligible for healthcare through my company because I was part time (30 hours per week). So I gambled and went without healthcare. Had I been seriously hurt in that time, I would have been bankrupted and ruined. Out of 25 other graduate students, only 2 others were Americans.

They all had Masters degrees and had taught for years in their country before coming over. They were paid 9,000 a year. How can an American compete with that without being born rich? Could you live on 9,000 a year in the US? My reward for my hard work is to be told I'm pretentious and elitist by my fellow Americans. I who have been everything from a McDonald's Burger Flipper to a Waiter. Elitist. What a terrible joke.

Of course, if you don't work hard you could get all the healthcare you needed, from welfare.

If you want to use the term Obamacare, that's fine. Just understand some of us here in America despise that term because we know that healthcare bill was for us, healthcare for people trying to make something of themselves. You know who opposed Obama's healthcare bill the most? Look it up. It was the older people. You know why? Because they already have their government healthcare.

As I said before, I'm tired of the talking in this country. Let us hurry up and hit rock bottom.

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#65
In reply to #62

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 11:52 PM

That's nice, but it doesn't matter what people say, it matters how people vote. Unfortunately people still believe the bedtime story that if you give business tax cuts they create jobs. Meanwhile companies are sitting on 2 trillion dollars.

http://www.npr.org/2010/12/10/131955624/Business-News

What a wonderful story though, right. Hey, we're in debt as a nation? We'll lower your taxes, that will solve the problem. Talk about telling people what they want to hear. You know why we had a surplus in 1999? Cause Bush I, an honorable man if there ever was one as president, raised taxes. It cost him his job.

The american people say one thing but vote the other way. The politicians know it.

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#66
In reply to #62

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 11:52 PM

AP#1 -- These survey results are meaningless without a lot of underlying info that never gets presented. You can get any results you want in a survey just by structuring, phrasing the questions to produce the desired answers, picking the population sample demographics and timing the survey itself. And then you report only those suvey results that fit your agenda. Then you ignore the next similar survey that produces conflicting results. From a statistical standpoint any single survey is worthless.

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#67
In reply to #61

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/29/2011 12:13 AM

ObamaCare does nothing to control the cost of health care. It is insurance reform, not health care reform. All the insurance in the world will do nothing if you can't find a doctor to take care of you...

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#72
In reply to #67

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/29/2011 6:32 AM

The $800 a month was for individual health insurance coverage. In the U.S. you can't afford any serious healthcare without insurance. And please stop calling it "obamacare". That is not what it is called.

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#63
In reply to #58

Re: The 21st Century University: No hard sciences?

06/28/2011 11:16 PM

Roger Pink - "Disappearing middle class. I'm all in, let's do this. Let's hit rock bottom as a nation as fast as possible."

Roger -- Most of the time I shrug off your high philosophy. This time I agree with you. America will not fix anything until it becomes an impossible crisis. Then the outcome?

Who knows? I fear the result will be one or more confederations of sovereign states trying to deal with an increasingly hostile world coveting America's resources. Along with the memory of adoration of their sacred "Constitution" sinking into the sands of time and a squandered miracle of American greatness.

I am not very optimistic about our future as a nation. We have too many factions whose disagreement is gradually approaching the level of armed conflict. Lest we forget, that has happened before over much the same issue; i.e. resources. This time the spark is a flaw in our Constitution. That flaw has combined with an unanticipated set of conditions that our founding fathers could not have imagined. The flaw is unfettered freedom of speech. The unanticipated conditions are a combination of communication technology and prosperity in the electorate. The result is that if enough well fed electorate can be influenced by compelling media sales pitches they can be influenced to vote for just about anything or anyone. Why? Because politics and elections are just another game they can play since food and entertainment have become a "given".

People support their "team" with a zeal that transcends logic. And this works fine for the people funding the noise machine. They are either psychotic rich types or more likely they are stakeholders in the new multinational business oligarchy that views US citizenship as a convenience of the moment. One thing for sure is that they care more about themselves than the nation they view as just another machine to produce money.

Ed Weldon

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