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.


Jean Robart 1 year, 9 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?


Liberty_One 1 year, 9 months ago

I have no problem personally with people taking these kinds of degrees. They can be very interesting and they do help with skills like reading and writing. However, subsidizing such things is not only wasteful but harmful. The government makes it easy to take these kinds of studies with cheap debt yet they do not lead to employment opportunities on par with other studies like engineering, medicine, accounting etc. It hurts these young people because they get saddled with debt and little in the way of marketable skills and yet they have high expectations since they believe simply having a college degree means higher wages.


bunnyhawk 1 year, 9 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!


FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 9 months ago

Where would 'government people' be without student athletes to "cluster". Herding "clustering" folk is important for the 'complex' to get a pay check.

And btw. Are "African-Americans" the only 'clusterable' "Student Athletes" playing sports at KU? They seem to be the only ones 'focused' on by the 'Complex Intellectually Nuanced Liberal' government employee.


jessla13 1 year, 9 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.


Abdu Omar 1 year, 9 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.


Lateralis 1 year, 9 months ago

"should really consider taking business courses and learn how to deal with money. " -labmonkey

I could be wrong but I don't think KU's business classes focus on personal finances.

These adult athletes need to be taught how to balance their checking account, read services agreements, what to look for in insurance and study disclosure. They need to be educated on mortgages like how to apply and how to prepare. When should they start thinking about investing and where to go to get help managing retirement etc. I’d venture to say that all students need a course in this. Much more valuable than some of their degree courses.


labmonkey 1 year, 9 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.


drjelks 1 year, 9 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.


labmonkey 1 year, 9 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?


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