Blogs > Cliopatria > Misc.: Sunday

Jan 8, 2006 10:27 am

Misc.: Sunday

Capital Eye with the most detailed summary to date of Abramaoff-related campaign contributions, broken down by member and by party. And ex-congressman Duke Cunningham might have been wired for some conversations with defense contractors: I wonder if other members were mentioned?

"Truthiness"--the initial selection in Stephen Colbert's hilarious"The Word" segment--was named the word of 2005 by the American Dialect Society.

Hamilton College has a survey on high school attitudes toward social issues--abortion, gay rights, gun control. Findings are interesting (especially on gay rights, where the overwhelming support offers a clue as to why conservatives have been so aggressive in attempting to constitutionalize discrimination now); just as interesting is the clear discomfort of the poll director, Sociology professor Dennis Gilbert, a former LA to Bernie Sanders and author of The American Class Structure in an Age of Growing Inequality, with the students' moderate views on abortion. Odd that the patronizing comments he makes about the abortion findings don't appear in his analysis of the gay rights polling issues.

Scientific American proposes the term"murdercide" and looks at the motives of suicide murderers.

DePaul's contribution to the fair and balanced field of"global studies." I have to give the department credit for its candor: program director Michael McIntyre announces that as"DePaul aspires to train the activists who will change" the world,"we concentrate on the non-profit sector and welcome activists of all stripes to our program." The program's homepage also contains the (almost obligatory) reference to 9/11 as a justification for the pedagogy--perhaps the only thing that the global studies movement and the Bush administration have in common.

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Ralph E. Luker - 1/10/2006

It's hardly "top tier" if it is #61 on a list that doesn't even go to 100. #61 out of 71 would be something to be pretty modest about. Look, enrollments are _growing_ at the University of Phoenix. It hasn't much to be proud of either. If you dumb down education enough, people who want a dumbed down degree will find their way to you.

Ralph E. Luker - 1/10/2006

So long as KC posts about public institutions and says that's what he's posting about, I don't see that you've got grounds for a complaint about it. I've pointed out that others of us have posted about private institutions, including ONU.

Anthony Paul Smith - 1/10/2006

But your red herrings do? I mean, come on, "propaganda"?

KC Johnson has stated in the past that he doesn't use private insitutions in his arguement because of the law regarding them. I guess I could go find the original post if you really want me to.

Anthony Paul Smith - 1/10/2006

All's I'm saying is that they called it a "Top-tier midwestern school". And their admission, along with a great deal of other evangelical private schools, countinues to rise. I'm not sure if the rise corresponds to the trends in other schools or not. If you guys are going to address these issues I just wish you would do so with some balance.

Ralph E. Luker - 1/9/2006

Anthony, #61 out of 71 MA granting institutions in the midwest is a pretty limited claim, isn't it? They didn't even list 100 schools! I may have to revisit "What's Wrong with Olivet Nazarene University?" with additional information to enhance my case.

Ralph E. Luker - 1/9/2006

Look, Anthony, you're the one who made up the "it's a private school so we can't talk about it." No one but you has said that. There are differences between private and public institutions in the law. But no one here, except Anthony Smith, has declared private institutions off-limits for discussion and you don't move conversations along by tossing in your red herrings.

Anthony Paul Smith - 1/9/2006


Aren't you just framing the debate in those terms in order to shut it down? You have to admit you choose two vague and morally charged words, with you and KC obviously siding with education (without explaining what you mean). I don't think what DePaul is doing should be called propaganda, and even if it were... IT'S A PRIVATE SCHOOL SO WE CAN'T TALK ABOUT IT.

Anthony Paul Smith - 1/9/2006

That would be number 61 in the Midwest.

Ralph E. Luker - 1/9/2006

Your question raises the issue of whether there's an important distinction to be drawn between propaganda and education. Propaganda can be had in leftist and rightist forms. I'm fairly certain that education cannot.

Adam Kotsko - 1/9/2006

Why shouldn't there be a program that appeals to activists in particular? There are many colleges and universities, even within Chicago alone, where the traditional international relations curriculum could be pursued.

Couldn't we look at diversity across institutions? Must every program within every school seek to appeal equally to every member of every ideological persuasion?

chris l pettit - 1/9/2006

Gee, a university seeking to promote doing what Christ would do...seeking to help the less fortunate trampled by those in power and ideological entrepreneurs.

THis does not excuse them from producing left wing ideological frauds, which I am sure happens...but at least from their stated purpose they look to critically analyze and debunk a lot of the right wing ideological nonsense that is spouted (for instance on this website at times) and promote something embedded in US law, international law, and the legal principles of all religions and cultures...the promotion of equality and justice, and actually doing something to make the world a better place...which stands in stark contrast to the self interested ideological promotions undertaken by certain parties day after day after day.


Ralph E. Luker - 1/8/2006

I'd like a citation to any list by any reputable national ratings system that puts Olivet Nazarene University in its top 100 list. Top 100 Nazarene universities, maybe.

Anthony Paul Smith - 1/8/2006

Oh, I know he is completely within his right to, just that it goes against his preset rules for himself. The ones where he can only whine about right-wing ideological imbalance. You know, that one.

Would I be too "radical" to suggest that DePaul's identification with all other universities stands along with its religious mission. Lest we forget that the university system grew out of the Catholic Church and thus all state colleges and univerities are, in part, coping the church's model? That it sees it's vision as completely religious and not secular?


Yes, but it was a token gesture. It still remains that all I ever hear about is how bent to the left academia is, while schools like Olivet are now listed in US & World Reports top 100 schools.

Ralph E. Luker - 1/8/2006

Anthony, May I remind you that, in direct response to calls by you and Adam for us to address the inadequacies of Olivet Nazarene University, I posted about them at some length at "What is Wrong With Olivet Nazarene University." I should have thought that that special attention to one of your favorite gripes would have given my colleague, KC, the latitude to post about whatever he cares to post about, even in your rather twisted opinion. If it does not, he is still free to post as he wishes.

Robert KC Johnson - 1/8/2006

During my time at Cliopatria, I've repeatedly discussed private institutions. Regarding intellectual diversity, however, I also have said that private institutions have every right to deny it--they can fire or hire someone solely on the basis of their political, religious, or social beliefs--in a way that public universities constitutionally cannot do.

I have never encountered a job posting from DePaul that lists a specific religious, ideological, or political test for employment, except in departments of religion or positions related to theology (Bob Jones and BYU, on the other hand, do have such requirements, with all positions).

Allow me to quote from DePaul's mission statement:

"DePaul, in common with all universities, is dedicated to teaching, research, and public service. However, in pursuing its own distinctive purposes, among these three fundamental responsibilities this university places highest priority on programs of instruction and learning. All curricula emphasize skills and attitudes that educate students to be lifelong, independent learners. DePaul provides sufficient diversity in curricular offerings, personal advisement, student services, and extracurricular activities to serve students who vary in age, ability, experience, and career interests. Full-time and part-time students are accorded equivalent service and are held to the same academic standards.

"As a comprehensive university, DePaul offers degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels and a range of professional programs. The liberal arts and sciences are recognized not only for their intrinsic value in undergraduate and graduate degree programs, but also because they are foundational for all specialized undergraduate programs and supportive of all advanced professional programs. The university maintains that depth of scholarship to offer the doctorate in selected academic disciplines. Libraries, computer resources, and other academic support services match the levels and diversity of degree programs.

"Research is supported both for its intrinsic merit and for the practical benefits it offers to faculty, students, and society. Broadly conceived, research at the university entails not only the discovery and dissemination of new knowledge but also the creation and interpretation of artistic works, application of expertise to enduring societal issues, and development of methodologies that improve inquiry, teaching and professional practice.

"In meeting its public service responsibility, the university encourages faculty, staff and students to apply specialized expertise in ways that contribute to the societal, economic, cultural and ethical quality of life in the metropolitan area and beyond. When appropriate, DePaul develops service partnerships with other institutions and agencies."

(By contrast, I noticed the first line of Olivet Nazarene's mission statement: "Education With a Christian Purpose." Hard to miss the explicitly religious connotation there.)

There's nothing in its mission statement that suggests DePaul's religious identity requires it to create academic programs of a pre-ordained ideological bent. This is a mission statement of the type you'd find with most liberal arts institutions. If DePaul wants to adopt such a primarily secular mission--to stand, "in common with all universities, . . . dedicated to teaching, research, and public service," then it opens itself up for criticism when it establishes academic prograns that do not meet that vision.

Anthony Paul Smith - 1/8/2006

Yes, but Olivet Nazarene University also makes no claim to a religious test as such. DePaul does only hire those that fit within its Vincentian vision of global justice (it is upfront about these goals) and so there is a very upfront statement about who will and who will not be hired.

Sometimes you are very silly. An International Relations degree is worth very little regardless of what insitution it comes from or what the "ideological" imbalance of the department is. I know you think this is just becuase schools don't have balance (which, again, you have always failed to really explicate what that would actually mean).

Either way, in the past you said you didn't discuss private instutitons so maybe you should stop discussing DePaul (since you don't seem to know too much about the school itself anyway). I'm more than happy to talk about any number of evangelical institutions that aren't BYU or BJU, that are willing to sublimate their religious idenity to that of liberal arts. You aren't.

Louis N Proyect - 1/8/2006

The author of the "murdercide" article in Scientific American is Michael Shermer, a so-called skeptic. Despite some useful work they do in combatting superstition, there is a decided rightwing tilt in much of their research as I have pointed out here:

Robert KC Johnson - 1/8/2006

As far as I know, DePaul, much like other top-flight private Catholic schools (Notre Dame, Marquette, Georgetown, BC) makes a claim to provide a quality liberal arts education, imposing no sort of religious test with regards to employment or curricular matters. Bob Jones or BYU make no such claim.

If DePaul wants to create academic departments designed to train "activists" critical of US foreign policy and the contemporary international economic structure, it is free to do so--since it is, as you point out, a private institution. But it should be up-front about what it is doing. I don't believe that anyone is under the impression that a BYU or a Bob Jones is doing anything but seeking to educate students according to the religion's conservative ideology; as a result, degrees from BYU or Bob Jones aren't worth a whole lot. Likewise, a degree from DePaul would be worth very little if the university publicized the goals of its "international studies" program.

Anthony Paul Smith - 1/8/2006

No, seriously, it is. It's a privite institution and according to your rules it is off limits. Unless, of course, you want to start talking about the imbalance towards the right of other private institutions.