HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Economy & Education » Education (Group) » Students in Rural America...

Sun Jan 13, 2019, 06:49 PM

Students in Rural America Ask, 'What Is a University Without a History Major?'

STEVENS POINT, Wis. — Chancellor Bernie Patterson’s message to his campus was blunt: To remain solvent and relevant, his 125-year-old university needed to reinvent itself.

Some longstanding liberal arts degrees, including those in history, French and German, would be eliminated. Career-focused programs would become a key investment. Tenured faculty members could lose their jobs. The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Dr. Patterson explained in a memo, could “no longer be all things to all people.”

Dr. Patterson’s plan came as Stevens Point and many other public universities in rural America face a crisis. Such colleges have served as anchors for their regions, educating generations of residents.

Now student enrollment has plummeted, money from states has dropped and demographic trends promise even worse days ahead.

Universities like Stevens Point are experiencing the opposite of what is happening at some of the nation’s most selective schools, like Harvard, Northwestern and the University of California, Berkeley, where floods of applications have led to overwhelming numbers of rejected students.

But critics say that in trying to carve out a sustainable path for Stevens Point — and build a model for other struggling, regionally focused universities — administrators are risking the very essence of a four-year college experience.

“Part of the fear is, is this an attempt to really kind of radically change the identity of this institution?” asked Jennifer Collins, a political-science professor, who wondered aloud whether Stevens Point would become a “pre-professional, more polytechnic type of university.”

Kim Mueller, 21, a senior who hopes to become a history teacher at a Wisconsin high school, said her first reaction to the proposal was: “What is a university without a history major?”'>>>

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/12/us/rural-colleges-money-students-leaving.html?

4 replies, 1676 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply Students in Rural America Ask, 'What Is a University Without a History Major?' (Original post)
elleng Jan 2019 OP
Igel Jan 2019 #1
LiberalArkie Jan 2019 #2
thesquanderer Jan 2019 #3
Post removed Jun 2019 #4

Response to elleng (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2019, 07:51 PM

1. I'd never want to be a history major these days.

Some history books are dry recitation of facts and dates.

Others make them into an attempt to understand the motivations of those involved, how actions shaped history. That can involve what the hoi polloi were doing as much as the leaders. It can involve economics, warfare, climate change, trade patters, demographic shifts, cultural changes and exchanges. Interesting stuff.

Last book I read about American Indian history was aggravating. It was as much advocacy for Native American groups and dwelling on both their virtues and why they were so worthy of respect as much as pointing out how they'd been mistreated. It was as much advocacy and activism as it was education about actual events and what we know happened. When it discussed one archeological dig, it spent as much time on Indian rights in dealing with potential ancestors and the politics involved as it did on what the archeological dig actual showed. And even then it was less "what was there" and more "this shows how advanced the people were and how much they cared." And included tribal leaders' opining on various things. The book was on *prehistory*, meaning Plains Indians before extensive contact with Europeans, Eastern American Native tribes prior to much contact with the British, French, or Spanish.

Such history classes belong in the poli-sci department or an ethnic-studies program, more politics than history, more cultural apologetics than making sense out of what facts meant at the time (or even what facts we know and how trustworthy they are).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to elleng (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2019, 08:03 PM

2. So they are changing from being a university to being a vo-tech college.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to elleng (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2019, 08:21 PM

3. Those who cannot learn from history are...

...destined to become president, apparently.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to elleng (Original post)

Reply to this thread