Archive for Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Failed analysis

June 26, 2012


To the editor:

Here’s a guaranteed way to fail an American studies class. First, do not ground your argument with substantive evidence. Second, make broad generalizations and sweeping conclusions without a thorough examination of a variety of sources. Third, make an argument filled with assumed and guided by unstated biases. Shaun Hittle’s article, “Athletes’ tendencies to ‘cluster’ in certain academic fields problematic, some say” would by standards of Kansas University’s American studies department receive failing marks.

Hittle’s reporting should have considered the following: First, all students in American studies must have a minimum 2.75 GPA in select courses to be admitted to the department. These are based on a student’s mastery of English rhetoric, critical reading and interpretive analysis in two introductory American studies courses.

Second, the department is, perhaps, the most racially/ethnically diverse of all KU’s schools and departments. Student athletes, many of whom are racial/ethnic, are attracted to the department because they find role models for academic excellence among the department’s intellectually diverse faculty.

Third, the American studies department is one of KU’s top graduate programs ranking high nationally, which means that the department takes seriously its role as an academic and instructional leader throughout the university.

Fourth, in 2011 in its last self-study, the faculty noted that a diversity of students including athletes was pursuing its major. The department noted the rising numbers of student-athletes as majors with delight and seeks to rigorously prepare them in the manner we do all of our outstanding undergraduates.


labmonkey 5 years, 11 months ago

Just out of curiosity, if they do not make the pros, what kind of job market exists for those who major in American studies, African-American studies, and general studies?

Jayhawk1958 5 years, 11 months ago

Don't worry, intercollegiate athletes are favored overall all others when it comes to filling jobs.

Jayhawker07 5 years, 11 months ago

Well also do they pay the same tuition rate as someone who is studying aerospace engineering, accounting, basic business or communications?

drjelks 5 years, 11 months ago

Studying any of the humanities is no guarantee of a job. University life is not a vocational school. If we want KU to become a vocational school I suggest we changes its name from University of Kansas to the Kansas Vocational Institute. American Studies is an interdisciplinary course of study. Our students study the history, literature, the cultural shifts and the sociological developments that occurring globally thru the lens of the United States. We get our students not only to think critically about issues both in back and in front of them, but we challenge them to engage them as citizens. I believe American Studies, African and African American Studies, and any other KU's illustrious humanities program is invaluable to all students.

parrothead8 5 years, 11 months ago

Actually, Humanities majors fare quite well on the job market because they develop broad sets of skills valued by employers.

labmonkey 5 years, 11 months ago

For a vast majority of those entering college, they attend to help them attain a career. Student athletes who make the pros need should really consider taking business courses and learn how to deal with money. For many others, being a student athlete is the only way one can get to college so they better make the best use of it and have a career plan. As for non-student athletes with these majors, we should really look at not giving them student loans as they will not have a way to pay them back in most cases.

Personally, I would have loved to have earned a history degree, but I knew that I wouldn't get a job.... so I got a science degree instead. And as a history professor told me, unless I wanted that piece of paper, I could gain the same knowledge as having a masters in history by constantly reading.

Hey, I understand why you would write this LTE... that editorial was messing with your bread and butter.

mom_of_three 5 years, 11 months ago

"And as a history professor told me, unless I wanted that piece of paper, I could gain the same knowledge as having a masters in history by constantly reading."
He may have said that, and perhaps due to the type of good student you were, but I dont think its quite the same knowledge.

parrothead8 5 years, 11 months ago

Athletes who are probably going pro should take Accounting courses, not Business courses, so that they learn how to keep track of their own money and won't get fleeced by the guys who took Business courses and now "manage" other people's money.

Abdu Omar 5 years, 11 months ago

Sometimes an education is the end goal, and sometimes it helps with a future. How many people study XYZ, get a degree in it and then go on to work in it? That would be an interesting topic to study. I know several people who got degrees in fields in the Humanities, but work outside it. The degree means more than the major, it means one can 1)stick to getting an education 2) has the ability to learn 3) can think critically, see different points of view and all the reasons for taking general education and 4) can compete with others who have earned a degree. A degree in American Studies or African American Studies is just like a degree in any other field because one can expand their knowledge from there.

Jayhawk1958 5 years, 11 months ago

And if you work during college employers are even more impressed with that.

jessla13 5 years, 11 months ago

Being that I am a student that just graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in History of Art and African & African-American Studies, I feel like some of the comments on here are not just offensive but are a bit short sighted. I worked to get myself through college and having spent six years figuring out what it was that motivated me to learn and gain the knowledge I needed to have a successful career in my field, I have come to appreciate my experience and education more than I ever could have imagined. To assume that I won't go on to get my masters, PhD, or that I won't be able to get a job in my field even with a bachelors is ignorant.

"As for non-student athletes with these majors, we should really look at not giving them student loans as they will not have a way to pay them back in most cases."- Labmonkey

I'm so glad the government didn't take ANY advice from you because I was successful in gaining my degree and it was not a loss. Thanks to FAFSA and other various educational scholarships and loans I received from KU, I was able to complete my bachelors and now continue in my field with an MA. My goal is to teach and I'm already starting that leg of my career as we speak. I AM able to pay back my loans and have already started doing so. Also, I think we're not giving student athletes enough credit. Many people on this blog keep talking reiterating how much we need to focus on helping them through (what I call) "home economics classes." I've had the PLEASURE of being a tutor at the KU athletics dept and I'll tell you, many of them are more than capable of balancing a checkbook and are probably more capable of making a career out of their educational goals than you'd think. I see many of them graduate and become law students, educators, coaches, etc (that's if they don't make it to the pros like many of our athletes do...). Bottom line: If you go to college SOLELY to get a degree for a career, you're doing it wrong. America is failing our children because we're gearing them towards becoming robots to go get a job instead of gearing them towards the end result of being educated. Perhaps this is the reason why so many other countries are not only ahead of the curve but so far ahead of America when it comes to the education system and social economics.

verity 5 years, 11 months ago

You are so right. A good education isn't just about learning a trade. My liberal arts education has helped me tremendously in my profession even when it didn't seem directly related. No knowledge is wasted.

jessla13 5 years, 11 months ago

I said solely in caps for a reason. You can go to college primarily to get a good job in the future but if the only goal is that, then you'll be sorely disappointed. Take into consideration how many undergraduates come out of college and find that they STILL cannot get a "good job." It is becoming increasingly important to have an MA in order to have an edge against those are vying for the same positions you are. I don't know how old you are, but in my generation, over 40% (and this was a study done a couple of years ago when I first entered college) of graduate students come out of college and find they either can't get a job or have to go back because they didn't "cut it." I'd like to think that a quote isn't needed in order to convey how important it is to have an education for the sake of gaining knowledge to further our society but here's a couple if you need a better picture...

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ― Nelson Mandela “Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” ― Robert Frost “When you know better you do better.” ― Maya Angelou “Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

I'd like to think these people who changed the face of the world for the better know a little bit more about the true goals of education than you, Lateralis.

daveyreno 5 years, 11 months ago

Aren't we glad MLK Jr., Nelson Mandela, Robert Frost, artists, activists, teachers, all didn't go to school SOLELY to get a degree for a career? What a stupid world we would live in if its populace was only concerned with what majors would not attract them intellectually but professionally.

daveyreno 5 years, 11 months ago

"Your type makes me sick!" ... like...wise. But I don't need to make false speculations about people on comment boards to tell them that. You know nothing of where she has been and its comments like "It is obvious from your posting that you have never held a real job, and probably never will," that tell the people that are actually contributing to the conversation that your opinions, which is most of your post, are not worth listening to.

Jayhawk1958 5 years, 11 months ago

Well Labmonkey is just that-A lab monkey

bunnyhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

I have taken classes with KU athletes who went on to professional careers. They came back to KU to complete their degrees during the off season. They were good students, focused on building successful lives professionally and personally. They brought their unique perspectives and experiences to all they did. They volunteered with youth activities. The only stereotype these young men fit was that of good men all about making the most of their lives. And, by the way, they were sociology majors! And one of them tutored me in statistics. Get off your assumptions before you make a total fool of yourself!

Jayhawk1958 5 years, 11 months ago

Then you failed to read or understand the article and its comments.

Jean Robart 5 years, 11 months ago

I clicked on a link to an editorial about clustered athletes in certain programs, and got failed analysis twice. What is wrong with the link?

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