The title of this post is a quote from a new piece by William Murchison at See Thru Edu. It seems UNC-Chapel Hill isn’t everything it used to be.


High tuition and bureaucratic bloat aren’t the universities’ only problems. There’s also stuff like, oh, you know, actual learning. The John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, in Raleigh, N. C., comes across with a dire analysis of what students at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill are learning or, more specifically, aren’t learning at one of the country’s foremost public universities.

UNC-Chapel Hill’s general education program is a mess, the Pope Center report avers: an unguided tour down odd byways of knowledge, better suited to the faculty’s career needs than to the students’ need for grounding and guidance. Would you believe, at UNC, “The History of Hip Hop Culture,” “Bollywood Cinema,” “Introduction to Iranian Cinema,” “The Ethno History of Native American Women,” “Russian Fairy Tale” “Kung Fu: The Concept of Heroism in Chinese Culture,” and “Comparative Queer Politics”?

Of course you’d believe it. It’s what universities do nowadays: cater to niche interests without regard for intellectual formation. Not that what you learn in such courses is by definition contemptible. It isn’t. It’s not basic, it’s not formative, it’s not mentally expansionary, that’s what it isn’t.

The Pope Center report, written by Jay Schalin and Jenna Ashley Robinson, faults UNC-Chapel Hill for subordinating, in its all-elective GenEd curriculum, programs that teach reasoning and the understanding of world ideas –including the understanding of religion. “When students are left to pick among thousands of courses,” the authors say, “many will choose an eclectic hodgepodge of courses that teach them a bunch of unconnected ‘slices of life’ that do little to improve their reasoning and are quickly forgotten.” Forgotten unless, as is often the case, the courses provide basic entertainment.

Read the original article: