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.