Education from OWS thread

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:40 pm UTC

Deep_Thought wrote:So education in itself has no value whatsoever? Man, whatever happened to the enlightenment.

Out of curiosity, have you read this thread?
Deep_Thought wrote:And possibly that the "transferable skills" you pick up in a properly structured and rigorous course (i.e. being able to construct an argument and then elucidate that argument in an essay, plus time management, independence, and a whole bunch of other things) are also valuable, particularly to employers.

Very much so, in theory, but as you said, going to college is an incredibly expensive way to pick up those skills.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby morriswalters » Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:52 pm UTC

It has all kinds of value. If you guess right about what is needed from it. It tells a perspective employer that you have the discipline to get a degree. Useful skills are value added. However if everybody flocks to those fields then the skill sets become devalued. The problem is the cost of both.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:00 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:It has all kinds of value. If you guess right about what is needed from it. It tells a perspective employer that you have the discipline to get a degree. Useful skills are value added. However if everybody flocks to those fields then the skill sets become devalued. The problem is the cost of both.

If the point of college has become the above, we're in serious trouble.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Dark567 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:05 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote: If everybody gets into those degree fields where there are jobs, than sooner or later that field will become over populated, and the jobs will dry up and wages will fall. Education is driven by past demand not current demand or future demand. Feedback is too sparse to control enrollment.
I am not sure this is really true. Engineering and medicine seem to chronically not reach demand.

...Although I probably would have said that about law 10 years ago, and we are recently dealing with an abundance of unemployed lawyers.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Dauric » Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:35 pm UTC

The thing is that (at least in the U.S.) there's an important distinction that is frequently not made in selecting a 'College' education.

For-Profit colleges advertise that their programs are explicitly for getting a job or getting in to a career. State universities don't advertise (at least not with the same vigor as for-profits, and honestly they shouldn't* be spending those kinds of resources that way). The grand upshot is that the For-Profit industry has a disproportionate voice in the culture about what one should expect from "College".

*In an ideal universe at any rate. In the less than ideal universe we -actually- live in traditional colleges could probably stand to collectively spend resources separating themselves from for-profit institutions.

So there's a massive advertising blitz focused on conflating education with quality of employment, and almost no cultural awareness of education as a virtue in and of itself (if anything the general perception of those who seek educated enlightenment is that they are socially undesirable, "Nerds" "Dorks" etc.). For-Profit institutions frequently compare themselves to traditional universities when the aims of each institution are different in part because the title of "College" provides some traditional cachet when claiming to be a means to get a better job. The accreditation system provides some government-official basis for the blurring of that line between institutions of enlightenment and stores for job skills.

Grand upshot being that when we're talking about a "College Graduate" we're actually talking about two distinct groups, those who attended a traditional institution of enlightenment -and- who's admission was handled by someone who understands the difference and clearly stated that difference to the applicant, and the group of students to attended an institution (for-profit or traditional) based on the promise of future employment based on that education. The former, those who seek education as it's own virtue, is an arguably smaller subset in large part because the general cultural conversation about colleges is largely about the career prospects one may have after graduation.

So when it comes to the "Value" of the education, it depends on which subset of "College Graduates" we're talking about. For the graduates that attended college under the explicit claim that such an education would result in a certain level of income (Again, a claim frequently made by the institutions themselves), then the idea of economic value of a degree is very important and the decision to take on the debt-load to get that degree is determined in no small part by the anticipated earnings of that degree.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby morriswalters » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:52 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:If the point of college has become the above, we're in serious trouble.

Why? It's a metric to allow a perspective employer to evaluate a candidate. New hires out of college have no track record. And you can't reliably test their skills. A College degree is just a way to quantify that they have the discipline to acquire the added skills they will learn on the job. There is nothing to keep you from buying the books and learning on your own. But how would an employer know? If you have the discipline to complete the process then you must know something, and he can infer that you knew how to focus to learn it.

STEM degrees are identifiably more difficult then other degrees because of the narrower focus and the larger amount of technical information and vocabulary you have to acquire. And it requires a certain mindset, the desire to do that kind of work, and not everybody has it, or the discipline to acquire it. It also means that you need to get as many of the skill sets as you can before you start so that you don't waste time catching up. This is where public schools don't do well unless there is significant parental involvement. But start early enough and push hard enough and you could exceed demand for certain skill sets. As evidenced by the article I linked to.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Jessica » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:02 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:If the point of college has become the above, we're in serious trouble.
STEM degrees are identifiably more difficult then other degrees because of the narrower focus and the larger amount of technical information and vocabulary you have to acquire[CITATION NEEDED]. And it requires a certain mindset, the desire to do that kind of work, and not everybody has it, or the discipline to acquire it. It also means that you need to get as many of the skill sets as you can before you start so that you don't waste time catching up. This is where public schools don't do well unless there is significant parental involvement. But start early enough and push hard enough and you could exceed demand for certain skill sets. As evidenced by the article I linked to.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:33 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:If the point of college has become the above, we're in serious trouble.


Why? It's a metric to allow a perspective employer to evaluate a candidate.


Except it's a really bad one. 63% of employers says that college graduates lack essential skills.

“The quality of learning, not the possession of a diploma, will determine whether the next generation can keep our economy and democracy strong,” says AAC&U President Carol G. Schneider. “It’s time to stop channeling students into narrow tracks that prepare them for an initial job but not for tomorrow’s challenges.”

Other findings of the poll say that 76 percent of business leaders want colleges to “place more emphasis” on teamwork skills in diverse groups; 82 percent want emphasis on science and technology; and more than 70 percent of employers want colleges to emphasize critical and analytical reasoning, as well as creativity and innovation.

Wayne C. Johnson, Hewlett Packard’s vice president of university relations worldwide, says that too often college graduates come into HP with the technical knowledge “but what is missing is using the right side of the brain — where communication and creativity takes place.”


I believe the full report is here. It notes that

The areas in which employers feel that colleges most need to increase their focus include
1) written and oral communication, 2) critical thinking and analytical reasoning, 3) the
application of knowledge and skills in real-world settings, 4) complex problem-solving
and analysis, 5) ethical decision-making, 6) teamwork skills, 7) innovation and
creativity, and 8 ) concepts and developments in science and technology.


I think it goes without saying that many (though not all) of these skills are solidly in the domain of the humanities, and any contact STEM degrees have with them is purely incidental.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Angua » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:38 pm UTC

1) written and oral communication, - as found in lab presentations, dissertations, seminars, etc
2) critical thinking and analytical reasoning, - logic is one of the foundations of science
3) the application of knowledge and skills in real-world settings, - a lot of science is generally translational, and how things in the world work
4) complex problem-solving and analysis, - fairly similar to 2
5) ethical decision-making, - OK, maybe more humanities, though I have this is medicine
6) teamwork skills, - most lab work has you working in at least a pair
7) innovation and creativity, - making new things with concepts you've done, coming up with new research
and 8 ) concepts and developments in science and technology. - what it says on the tin

I'm sure someone can do the same with the humanities.

edit: Coming from the UK, a place where you generally only do what is related to your major, most of the people who do science still manage to function in the real world here. It would be interesting to see a study to look at college graduate aptitude on both sides of the pond to see if these things have that much merit.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Dark567 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:42 pm UTC

Angua wrote:5) ethical decision-making, - OK, maybe more humanities, though I have this is medicine
Although I am an engineer, I got most of my ethics from my philosophy courses. Or rather I got my lack of ethics from my philosophy course. Granted I think this is a positive, but most would think its a negative.
Angua wrote:edit: Coming from the UK, a place where you generally only do what is related to your major, most of the people who do science still manage to function in the real world here. It would be interesting to see a study to look at college graduate aptitude on both sides of the pond to see if these things have that much merit.
Fairly certain people who do science still function here. :-/
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Angua » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:46 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:Angua wrote:
edit: Coming from the UK, a place where you generally only do what is related to your major, most of the people who do science still manage to function in the real world here. It would be interesting to see a study to look at college graduate aptitude on both sides of the pond to see if these things have that much merit.
Fairly certain people who do science still function here. :-/
People who do science there have to take humanities courses though - you just said you took philosophy while doing engineering. I meant to say that in order to test the well-rounded theory that people who only do hard science can't function, looking at the difference in performance between an English graduate, who has truly managed to avoid all humanities in university, and a US one, who has had to take a fair amount, would be an interesting study.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Zamfir » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:59 pm UTC

It might be different in other countries, but here philosophy is (exagerated) an enclave of the hard science attitude. Lots of male students and staff, up to engineering proportions, many of the students are dual students with another track in a science field, and usually more interdisciplinary cooperation between philosophy and hard sciences than with humanities departments or social sciences.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Dark567 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:08 pm UTC

Although I would admit it is somewhat a of an enclave of hard science attitudes, particularly if you department is in the analytic tradition. But I don't think the male students and staff is nearly as bad as engineering(between 5-10 males to 1 female, while philosophy is closer to 2 to 1). I don't really know what your talking about though with cooperation with hard sciences, there was very little overlap with any hard sciences other then math and comp sci(all focused on AI), while there was a lot with social sciences(i.e. philosophy of mind) and humanities(i.e. aesthetics). I guess there is some stuff with physics(quantum indeterminism).
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:09 pm UTC

@morriswalters: Dark has already addressed some of this, so apologies for excessive rehashing:
morriswalters wrote: It's a metric to allow a perspective employer to evaluate a candidate.

It is actually, more than anything, a metric of how lucky you were to be born into a wealthy household with connections to that given university.
morriswalters wrote: And you can't reliably test their skills.

You can in fact, do just this, with standardization of various expectancies. For example, if you want to be a lab tech, you are expected to know how to pH a solution. Unfortunately, the claim you are making is that college is NOT about learning a set of professional skills, but that it is for personal enrichment and proof of 'jumping through some hoops'.
morriswalters wrote: There is nothing to keep you from buying the books and learning on your own.

In an ideal world, this would be sufficient to become qualified for any given position. This is precisely why I don't think college should be available to everyone for free, and why I strongly support state spending on libraries and public schools. If you want to believe you live in a meritocracy, you need to encourage the probability of birth not being the limiting factor to your success or access to materials for 'personal enrichment'.
morriswalters wrote: If you have the discipline to complete the process then you must know something, and he can infer that you knew how to focus to learn it.

Or you attended a universities that to protect it's grade averages, inflates grades, and to protect it's alumni reputation (and eventual donation pool!) goes above and beyond to hook graduates up with jobs. Lets not split hairs here; going to college, more than anything else, when not for 'professional' degrees, is to reap the benefits of the connections provided. Which, in times of economic recession, when job expectancies are more than 'Did you goto my fraternity? Yes? You're hired!', make 'non-professional' degrees useless.
morriswalters wrote:STEM degrees are identifiably more difficult then other degrees because of the narrower focus and the larger amount of technical information and vocabulary you have to acquire.

This is opinion and is frankly baseless. While you are entitled to it, I am simply going to remind you that opinions can be, and in this case, are, wrong.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby morriswalters » Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:25 pm UTC

Jessica I don't dismiss the Liberal Arts, but the degree field is much broader a field than lets say engineering. Pure Liberal Arts is a combination of a lot of things. Quite a few of them are very important by any metric you wish to apply. But on the other hand to work in any particular specialization, you will probably end up teaching and need an advanced degree. If you include the soft sciences as part of the Humanities you are still limited by the demand for those fields. STEM degrees are much needed, not because of the inherent value of education in those fields, rather because this is the era of those degrees. Technology has exploded since 1900, and that drives the field. It's a reflection of the fact that we are moving faster in terms of production of need, then we can produce degree holders.

Izawwlgood wrote:It is actually, more than anything, a metric of how lucky you were to be born into a wealthy household with connections to that given university.

I know a few Engineers and members of the various fields that would take issue with that statement in a very personal way.
Izawwlgood wrote:You can in fact, do just this, with standardization of various expectancies. For example, if you want to be a lab tech, you are expected to know how to pH a solution. Unfortunately, the claim you are making is that college is NOT about learning a set of professional skills, but that it is for personal enrichment and proof of 'jumping through some hoops'.

You confuse getting the job, with getting the interview. You'll never get the interview unless he believes there is a reason to suspect you might have the discipline. Certainly you learn skill sets. But first you have to get close enough to use them. If you don't have the degree your fucked, and no will ever know if you might be a genius.

Izawwlgood wrote:Or you attended a universities that to protect it's grade averages, inflates grades, and to protect it's alumni reputation (and eventual donation pool!) goes above and beyond to hook graduates up with jobs. Lets not split hairs here; going to college, more than anything else, when not for 'professional' degrees, is to reap the benefits of the connections provided. Which, in times of economic recession, when job expectancies are more than 'Did you goto my fraternity? Yes? You're hired!', make 'non-professional' degrees useless.

Welcome to the real world, it's what you know and who you blow. Sooner or later you'll need to decide which ladder to advance the technical or the management ladders. And who you know will count as will your performance.
Izawwlgood wrote:This is opinion and is frankly baseless. While you are entitled to it, I am simply going to remind you that opinions can be, and in this case, are, wrong.
The vocabulary for the Humanities is built into society. You have to learn the language of the various STEM fields from scratch. Mathematics, Physics, not to mention the technical vocabularies. How many words have been added to the lexicon of the average STEM degree in the years since 1990. And I wonder if anyone will really argue that Mathematics is not a very difficult language to learn. In the three years I was in school I took at least one Math class each semester as well as one Physics class, and sometimes two. Then there were the labs and the other Sciences. And I had to quit before it got hard. The Engineering schools policy forbade working more than 20 hours a week. On the other hand I had a sociology class I needed to take. I had a job which required me to work all night before those classes. I arranged to skip the class and take the tests and write the papers without attending or doing much more than reading the book. I passed with a B. And I got just as much out of as anybody else by the only metric that counted. So I'll keep my opinion but I won't push it.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:32 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:n the other hand I had a sociology class I needed to take.

Yes, this is rather my point; requiring people take a breadth of studies is part of what I perceive to be the problem with a liberal arts education. Why should an employer care that I passed a sociology class?
morriswalters wrote:I know a few Engineers and members of the various fields that would take issue with that statement in a very personal way.

Then they should look at the acceptance rates and how they correlate to both parental wealth and legacy status.
morriswalters wrote:If you don't have the degree your fucked, and no will ever know if you might be a genius.

Which is the problem today; we've created a system wherein a degree somehow means you might be qualified for this position. Again, why does my accomplishments in a sociology class have any bearing on my ability to be a lab tech? Personal enrichment is a great thing, but 'becoming a well rounded person' shouldn't be one of the hoops we sort of make our students jump through in an effort to pursue a career.
morriswalters wrote:The vocabulary for the Humanities is built into society. You have to learn the language of the various STEM fields from scratch.

Ehhhh, you're making some pretty serious assumptions about what happens in non-STEM classes. You bullshitting your way through an intro level soc class doesn't mean someone who majors in English has bullshitted their way through the four years.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Jahoclave » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:06 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Ehhhh, you're making some pretty serious assumptions about what happens in non-STEM classes. You bullshitting your way through an intro level soc class doesn't mean someone who majors in English has bullshitted their way through the four years.

And as somebody who has gone through about 5 years of that English thing, the assertion that humanities jargon is part of the general lexicon is laughable. Even if the words are found in the lexicon, the meanings in the humanities tend to be much more specific.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Whammy » Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:01 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:Ehhhh, you're making some pretty serious assumptions about what happens in non-STEM classes. You bullshitting your way through an intro level soc class doesn't mean someone who majors in English has bullshitted their way through the four years.

And as somebody who has gone through about 5 years of that English thing, the assertion that humanities jargon is part of the general lexicon is laughable. Even if the words are found in the lexicon, the meanings in the humanities tend to be much more specific.


And I can tell you as a person who is in a social science major (political science...with psychology and economics minors), and who hangs out with sociology people a lot, it can really get frustrating sometimes dealing with the common usage of a word and the academic usage of the word. Here's something fun to do: walk up to a sociologist and say sex and gender are the same thing ^_^. Go on, I dare you to. Expect either a rant, or them to just shake their head sadly at you. Heck, you people in STEM programs should be feeling the same way every time someone yells "[blank] is only a theory."

But anyways, got tired of just lurking and reading through the thread, so I figured I would just throw my own opinions out there, or at least some of my general feelings on some of the stuff that has been mentioned.

1) The whole 'basketweaving' thing is, quite frankly, really insulting to those of us who are in degrees that are implied, whether on purpose or not, to be of that category. If your part of a good program that actually knows what it is doing, then it can be just as challenging. And of course if you're in a social science like I am, there is a crapload of statistics you need to do, especially if you're going onto the graduate level (and don't get me started on economics...you'd pretty much have to be a math major to do it at the graduate level). I'm not sure if this is the same deal in history or other majors, but at the very least I would believe they are subject to, if a good, competent program, peer review and other such methods to try and ensure quality and effort is being made.

And speaking of quality, "harder" does not automatically mean "better". So even if we can objectively say STEM-degrees are harder than nonSTEM-degrees (and I don't necessarily believe that is the case and it's a more subjective thing), so what? That doesn't automatically mean they are better than nonSTEM-degrees or contribute to society more than nonSTEM-degrees.

2) I do agree though people need more information on understanding a degree that they have may not be as 'marketable' as another, or that they shouldn't expect to be paid the same as someone in a different degree. I don't believe, however, a degree is "unmarketable"; it's just people seem to have really narrow ideas of what kind of work one can do with a particular degree. For example, political science; I can be a professor if I want to (and admittedly that's the direction I'm looking at because I'm really interested in research in the field), but there's more than just that. And there is definitely more to it than just working in "government" (even then, that's a pretty wide field there to look at). Here's just a sample list from the American Political Association: http://www.apsanet.org/content_6457.cfm

So maybe more assistance in job transitioning from college to the workforce, and more emphasis on how skills from one field can be used in another (which isn't as hard as one may think in the social sciences; heck, I just need a sociology minor and I'd have the entire social science field locked down :D), etc etc. so people can have a better understanding of what kind of options are out there instead of just thinking "I'm a sociology major, so I'm going to just teach sociology".


3)...is there a need to have STEM vs nonSTEM? I mean, is there no way we can encourage interdisciplinary programs? I personally think there is a lot the fields can learn from each other, and if done right, can improve the quality of learning in the various fields. I mean, in the discussion going on right above this there is a mention of philosophy and the hard sciences together

(
Zamfir wrote:It might be different in other countries, but here philosophy is (exaggerated) an enclave of the hard science attitude. Lots of male students and staff, up to engineering proportions, many of the students are dual students with another track in a science field, and usually more interdisciplinary cooperation between philosophy and hard sciences than with humanities departments or social sciences.


Okay granted it makes me sad the social sciences and humanities are getting left out =P. Still though, I personally think that it's great the two are intertwined like that. I took an intro-level philosophy course for my humanities requirement, and I loved it. Even better, much of what was discussed can be relevant in my own major field (yay political philosophy...and some of the social philosophy stuff...and not so yay some of the other *cough*Ayn Rand*cough*).

Now granted maybe requiring some kind of interdisciplinary studies would be going to far *looks at University of Michigan's graduate program that has a major field, cognate field, and two subfields*, but does it really hurt anyone to take a humanity class or two (or a science class or two if you're a more humanities person)? And if you like it, take one up as a major/minor/electives; and if not, well, no harm done . I just think acting as if it's "all STEM or bust" is kind of silly =P. Though if there is a time issue I guess it's understandable, but I won't say much else on that matter since I don't know too much about engineering or other STEM majors (though if the program barely fits within a normal 4-year period it might need some reworking...)

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Jahoclave » Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:34 am UTC

Whammy wrote:
1) The whole 'basketweaving' thing is, quite frankly, really insulting to those of us who are in degrees that are implied, whether on purpose or not, to be of that category. If your part of a good program that actually knows what it is doing, then it can be just as challenging. And of course if you're in a social science like I am, there is a crapload of statistics you need to do, especially if you're going onto the graduate level (and don't get me started on economics...you'd pretty much have to be a math major to do it at the graduate level). I'm not sure if this is the same deal in history or other majors, but at the very least I would believe they are subject to, if a good, competent program, peer review and other such methods to try and ensure quality and effort is being made.

Also, it's very disingenuous for making your argument that some majors are worse than others in terms of value to the market. Basketweaving doesn't exist as a major and is essentially a strawman. You can't begin to defend the value of a basketweaving degree like you could something like English. Furthermore, I'm not particularly a big fan of determining the value of a degree solely by its applicability to the market. And, I'm not a big fan of the pointless requirement of a college degree for jobs that don't require such training.

Then again, a lot of this boils down to people making money off the college industry.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby morriswalters » Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:17 am UTC

I never said that people bs their way through their classes. But you don't do that in any of the engineering core.
Izawwlgood wrote:Then they should look at the acceptance rates and how they correlate to both parental wealth and legacy status.
I don't have to. Not every one can go to the best schools. Even if the admissions process was totally merit based, there are more applicants than chairs.
Izawwlgood wrote:Which is the problem today; we've created a system wherein a degree somehow means you might be qualified for this position. Again, why does my accomplishments in a sociology class have any bearing on my ability to be a lab tech? Personal enrichment is a great thing, but 'becoming a well rounded person' shouldn't be one of the hoops we sort of make our students jump through in an effort to pursue a career.
They don't. And as time goes by STEM majors will take less of them. If your point is that we should focus more on education, then you would have to show me that a sociology class was a waste of my time. If you point is to attack costs, then there are better places. If your saying we should focus on College less, I'm all for it. Degrees represent something. They just don't represent what people seem to think they do. They are a business card which you hand people. The work you do in your degree field is the meat and potatoes, the rest is filler. I respect anyone who gets a degree, even basket weaving. I didn't get mine and I've been limited as to the choices I could make. Everybody who obtains a degree has worked hard. But that doesn't mean that there isn't a qualitative difference between an English degree and an Engineering degree. I didn't make that true. You write more, and may think more as an English major, but I think that STEM majors cover harder base material, not to mention that you have to work hard after graduation to keep up. In terms of the narrow focus think about NASA engineers now that the manned programs are dying. I could make the argument that an English major gets a better overall education. as compared to the STEM major, but I'm done.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Jahoclave » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:30 am UTC

morriswalters wrote: You write more, and may think more as an English major, but I think that STEM majors cover harder base material, not to mention that you have to work hard after graduation to keep up.

And you'd be making a lot of unsupported assumptions. I suppose you've probably never cracked a critical theory text before. I, however, know how to do basic programming and a fair bit of basic engineering. So, in MY opinion STEM majors cover easier base material because it's either right or wrong with no wiggle room; whereas, theory requires thinking through a vast amount of evidence and understanding complex arguments.

I wouldn't make that argument though, because I'd basically be strawmanning STEM majors based on what I know about the field rather than actual experience--something your comments point to you lacking.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:58 am UTC

Whammy wrote: The whole 'basketweaving' thing is, quite frankly, really insulting to those of us who are in degrees that are implied

If you paid attention to the thread, you'd realize that because it is tongue in cheek, any degree can be 'basketweaving' and any degree can be 'professional'. The problem is when people think an English degree means they're qualified to do anything, because they've got a college degree. A college degree does NOT mean you have filled the requirements to be employable anywhere and to anyone. Because yes, there's a problem with;
Jahoclave wrote:Then again, a lot of this boils down to people making money off the college industry.

Wanna be an English professor, or maybe go into politics, or be an archaeologist? Le shock! You can major in something that will put you on the path to do so. My guess is, and this is only based on the people I know, that most people who major in English, or History, or Studio Art, or Psychology, don't actually want to do something professionally that would directly utilize those skills. Also, many people who simply pursue those courses for personal enrichment really could have/should have done such with the awesomeness that is a public library. Personal enrichment is great, but it doesn't have to be that expensive.
morriswalters wrote:ever said that people bs their way through their classes. But you don't do that in any of the engineering core.

You are comparing an introductory sociology course to a core curricula. I promise you there are plenty of people who sleep through the entirety of intro to physics.
morriswalters wrote:I don't have to. Not every one can go to the best schools. Even if the admissions process was totally merit based, there are more applicants than chairs.

... Are you having trouble following the discussion?
Look; you are by your own admission under the impression that getting a degree is 'a business card', and is useless. Irrelevant, so long as you have one. That is THE VERY POINT I'VE BEEN MAKING. The notion that one has to goto college simply to go through a rite of passage to get hired is a problem. And, in recessions, when there's a glut of college educated people whose degrees are irrelevant, because they treated the pursuit of those degrees as nothing more than a rite of passage, then when jobs demand the qualified, instead of merely those who went through the rite of passage, can you guess who will get hired?

I'm not suggesting that some degrees are universally useless, I'm suggesting that people seem to be under the impression that any degree is universally useful.

morriswalters wrote: You write more, and may think more as an English major, but I think that STEM majors cover harder base material, not to mention that you have to work hard after graduation to keep up

I think you're ignorant for thinking this. But, I'm evidently not the only one.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:21 am UTC

As an engineering major, I don't really think my degree was much harder than anyone else's. For every major project I had, I can think of a major project that took just as long for a Studio Art, Psychology, or Architect Major. Actually... I'm pretty sure architect majors have it harder than engineers. At least at the school I went to. (We engineers get $$$ for less effort. But I'm not complaining :twisted: )

The primary problem with the non-STEM majors is that people indeed go to those majors as a "rite of passage". But don't get fooled by it. Sure, there are boatloads of psychology majors who don't learn anything and just pass by... but the same can be said for engineering majors as well. My sister majored in Psychology, but actually did it because she had a passion for it. She ran multiple experiments, helped out professors and learned statistics to levels even beyond what typical Engineers would learn. (Sampling theory is important when you're conducting experiments...)

Studio Art, Theater, Music Majors... if you meet someone who is truly passionate in their field, the results are amazing. If there was anything I learned from a liberal arts college, that was it. Certainly, the problem is not with the level of effort from these fields. Perhaps one problem is that these fields have been flooded with unmotivated nit-wits, and getting a Psychology major doesn't really differentiate you from the lazy people who couldn't decide their own path in life. Perhaps because of that... people look down upon Psychology majors. So in the case of my sister, she may have statistical prowness beyond her peers (Due to real experience working with the psychology experiments she did as an undergrad), but she's still a dumb psychology major in her office. And thus, her skills are underutilized and she is underpaid.

A lot of the job market exists because of prejudice and stereotypes. And to break through that... you'll either have to get a Masters Degree or get lucky in today's world.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Whammy » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:47 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:If you paid attention to the thread, you'd realize that because it is tongue in cheek, any degree can be 'basketweaving' and any degree can be 'professional'. The problem is when people think an English degree means they're qualified to do anything, because they've got a college degree. A college degree does NOT mean you have filled the requirements to be employable anywhere and to anyone. Because yes, there's a problem with;

Meh, it kind of varied, at least to me, at the seriousness of the statement. I might just be a little testy about that sort of thing cause I've gotten shit before about not being a "real" science and such. So I can get a bit defensive about it. Plus, well, there are people who seriously believe such things so always good to go ahead and address it *shrug*

Izawwlgood wrote:Wanna be an English professor, or maybe go into politics, or be an archaeologist? Le shock! You can major in something that will put you on the path to do so. My guess is, and this is only based on the people I know, that most people who major in English, or History, or Studio Art, or Psychology, don't actually want to do something professionally that would directly utilize those skills. Also, many people who simply pursue those courses for personal enrichment really could have/should have done such with the awesomeness that is a public library. Personal enrichment is great, but it doesn't have to be that expensive.


See, here's a kind of a point I want to make a compromise between the "personal enrichment" and "job" crowd"; why does it have to be either/or? Can't you do something that is personally enriching AND can get you a decent job? Or, well, there's electives and such, take a minor in something that just interests you while getting a major in something that interests you and want to make a career of (like me; I'm doing economics for fun!)

And it doesn't surprise me people in those majors don't go for something that directly utilizes those skills. Did you see that list from the American Political Association of careers for Political Science? Many of them didn't even directly deal with political science. Social sciences and humanities do the same thing as a STEM-degree; they are supposed to teach a certain skill and mindset that can be utilized in a variety of different jobs. Heck, English works the same way. I just put a search in for jobs for English majors; it's more than just professors

http://www.careerrookie.com/Article/CB- ... sh-Degree/
Izawwlgood wrote:
morriswalters wrote:ever said that people bs their way through their classes. But you don't do that in any of the engineering core.

You are comparing an introductory sociology course to a core curricula. I promise you there are plenty of people who sleep through the entirety of intro to physics.

I can fall half asleep in geology. Does that count?

But yeah, there is a big difference in "Intro" and "Core" classes of any kind of major.

Izawwlgood wrote:
morriswalters wrote:I don't have to. Not every one can go to the best schools. Even if the admissions process was totally merit based, there are more applicants than chairs.

... Are you having trouble following the discussion?
Look; you are by your own admission under the impression that getting a degree is 'a business card', and is useless. Irrelevant, so long as you have one. That is THE VERY POINT I'VE BEEN MAKING. The notion that one has to go to college simply to go through a rite of passage to get hired is a problem. And, in recessions, when there's a glut of college educated people whose degrees are irrelevant, because they treated the pursuit of those degrees as nothing more than a rite of passage, then when jobs demand the qualified, instead of merely those who went through the rite of passage, can you guess who will get hired?

I'm not suggesting that some degrees are universally useless, I'm suggesting that people seem to be under the impression that any degree is universally useful.


Am I the only one who thinks those two statements are kind of contradictory? Unless you're suggesting that in a recession certain degrees face less of a demand, which is an acceptable claim to me at least. Of course, recessions are temporary so even if they can't get one NOW, that doesn't mean they are irrelevant, just that the demand is low. As the economy gets better, demand will probably go up.

Still though, I do agree people who want to college need to be committed to the idea and not go 'just because I'm supposed to." I do think personal enrichment and loving to learn is important to really get the most out of college, but at the same time one has to understand the massive investment of time and money that goes into it. If at that point someone thinks the time and money is worth just for the experience of it, go ahead. There's a person who has been going to my school part time for 20 years or so (I think it was after their own kids went here or something like that) and took every single class in the Philosophy Department. Last year the department just went 'screw it' and gave her an honorary Ph.D. She just loved philosophy that much, and that's good for her.

So yes, I do think someone should go into college with the knowledge and understanding that is a big investment of time and money and so shouldn't be taken lightly. There should be an understanding that there is a difference in what the relative worth of each degree, and some might have a harder time getting employment than another. That DOESN'T mean, however, we should get rid of or see those degrees as "irrelevant" or "useless", and just place STEM-degrees on a pedestal (not saying you are doing that, but I just got that sort of impression before from others).

Also, I will agree you should slap someone who thinks a degree in one subject means it can be used for anything. My political science degree gives me room to dip into psychology or sociology or economics or history or public management (probably would have to work with someone from those fields for the more indepth stuff, but you get the point, and there was probably more I could do); I wouldn't try and claim anything else. So really, the issue seems to be either people have too broad of an idea of what they can do with a degree, or people have a really, really narrow idea of what they can do with a degree.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:02 am UTC

Whammy wrote:See, here's a kind of a point I want to make a compromise between the "personal enrichment" and "job" crowd"; why does it have to be either/or?

It doesn't, it's not a binary, but going to college to get an English degree and then expecting to be employed in non-English degree requiring related fields is foolish. Part of the Occupy movement is demonstrating that they are upset that their college degrees didn't get them a good job, when I wager many of those complaining pursued degrees that have nothing to do with their intended profession, or, their intended profession is a pipe dream, or, hell, they don't even know what their intended profession is because they weren't taught to think beyond 'go to college, get a degree, and you'll make boatloads of money'.
Whammy wrote:Am I the only one who thinks those two statements are kind of contradictory? Unless you're suggesting that in a recession certain degrees face less of a demand, which is an acceptable claim to me at least. Of course, recessions are temporary so even if they can't get one NOW, that doesn't mean they are irrelevant, just that the demand is low. As the economy gets better, demand will probably go up.

It's not a contradiction, but I notice you conveniently didn't bold the entire sentence. The part where I wrote "In a recession". It means, simply, that if you have a college degree, you are probably employable in professions related to your degree. If you got a degree in something esoteric and with marginal job prospects, or worse, in fading job prospects because of a recession, you probably aren't very desirable as an employee.
Whammy wrote:That DOESN'T mean, however, we should get rid of or see those degrees as "irrelevant" or "useless", and just place STEM-degrees on a pedestal (not saying you are doing that, but I just got that sort of impression before from others).

I have never said that I want to see an elimination of non-STEM degrees, nor have I placed STEM degrees on a pedestal. I don't even think all the STEM fields are guaranteed to be marketable. I picked my program because I felt the degree was more marketable than what I actually wanted to study.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Malice » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:33 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Whammy wrote:See, here's a kind of a point I want to make a compromise between the "personal enrichment" and "job" crowd"; why does it have to be either/or?

It doesn't, it's not a binary, but going to college to get an English degree and then expecting to be employed in non-English degree requiring related fields is foolish. Part of the Occupy movement is demonstrating that they are upset that their college degrees didn't get them a good job, when I wager many of those complaining pursued degrees that have nothing to do with their intended profession, or, their intended profession is a pipe dream, or, hell, they don't even know what their intended profession is because they weren't taught to think beyond 'go to college, get a degree, and you'll make boatloads of money'.


The largest problem with this entire thread is that the discussion rests on that: the assumption that the Occupy movement says or thinks this. Has anybody here gone to a protest? Does anybody have any reasonable evidence that this is what the protests are about, or that this attitude exists?

I mean, when I get upset about the economy and the jobs market, it's not because I think my liberal arts degree hasn't opened the door to a career in engineering, it's because I think my liberal arts degree hasn't opened the door to a career in the liberal arts... because demand is down... because the economy sucks... because some assholes crashed it while the people who were supposed to be stopping those assholes twiddled their goddamn thumbs.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby morriswalters » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:14 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Look; you are by your own admission under the impression that getting a degree is 'a business card', and is useless. Irrelevant, so long as you have one. That is THE VERY POINT I'VE BEEN MAKING. The notion that one has to goto college simply to go through a rite of passage to get hired is a problem. And, in recessions, when there's a glut of college educated people whose degrees are irrelevant, because they treated the pursuit of those degrees as nothing more than a rite of passage, then when jobs demand the qualified, instead of merely those who went through the rite of passage, can you guess who will get hired?
It may well be a problem, if going to college was just a rite of passage. It's not, the degree's represent the outcome of a long, hard, process, ending with the acquisition of a lot of skill sets. What the degree holder may or may not be able to do with the degree is irrelevant. The cost of obtaining a degree is the problem. The ROI is what is breaking peoples backs. The fact that a degree is a business card reflects that is is merely the start of a career. Any degree holder has shown certain qualities merely by the fact he or she has earned a degree.

If I believe that STEM degrees are quantitatively harder but narrower than other degree fields, it appears to me that you are making the case that other degree fields are less important no matter how much work you put into them. I'll try saying it this way. Engineers come out of school with their shiny new degree. They go to work and the Widget Company. The spend the next 15 years at the Widget Company furthering the goal of making the Widget Company profitable by improving widgets. Their skill set will be tuned to making widgets. Widget sales plummet. The Widget Company goes out of business. Those skill sets suddenly are less valuable because that skill set that you have acquired making widgets is not needed. You still have your base skill set, but 15 years of tuning has been lost. And it is cheaper to hire a shiny new degree than to retrain you. That's a narrower focus. The same process happens to every degree holder, but the broader your base set of skills the easier to translate to a new endeavor.

I have more to say but it will have to wait. The thing about ignorance is that it is curable, versus it close relatives.

edit
I'm going to take a walk from this thread, low ROI. I'll define what I mean by quantifiable. Although you can't quantify how hard one subject is as compared to another you can quantify how expensive it is to teach it. Look at the cost of the facilities for most STEM majors. With the exception of Math, which is a special beast of it's own, they are expensive to teach. They require special labs and special equipment to do in a fashion that produces graduates who have value. You could, if you so wished, make the argument that Liberal Arts degree are expensive because of the STEM majors. If it weren't for those students, what would the University need to recoup in increased tuition to pay for STEM students educational requirements.

In terms of degrees and jobs it would be helpful to remember that you have to be taught your job. A degree doesn't do that. It simply prepares you to learn. Liberal Arts majors are generalists. The skill set they learn is valuable in any number of fields. The cost of getting the degree is where they get bent over. Now I'm going to take my ignorance to the next place.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Deep_Thought » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:02 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:In terms of degrees and jobs it would be helpful to remember that you have to be taught your job. A degree doesn't do that. It simply prepares you to learn. Liberal Arts majors are generalists. The skill set they learn is valuable in any number of fields. The cost of getting the degree is where they get bent over. Now I'm going to take my ignorance to the next place.

Possibly pointless responding considering you've said you're leaving the thread, but you seem to have strange impressions about how narrow STEM degrees are. STEM graduates also learn skills that are valuable across many fields (logic and maths being the two most obvious). You should see the number of STEM people who end up in banking, that great catch-all profession, and I hear that now one of the easiest way to get into law is via Engineering, due to the proliferation of patent disputes*, forensic evidence and general technical wizardry. The mere fact that STEM people can actually add up** makes them very valuable in many employers eyes.

*Not that I like this development.
** Usually.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Zamfir » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:32 pm UTC

DT, you don't need the link between narrow and STEM to make his argument work. Specialization can be very effective short-term way to make yourself more employable. That happens in many fields, and I would suggest that the high directly-out-of-college employability of engineers is partly related to that.

This probably leads to overestimation of how well such a specialized choice is for your career. People who specialize more and earlier (when they can aim at the current demand in the market) get a boost in income, in employability, also in how interesting their work is. But morris notes a real downside that becomes apparent later.

That doesn't necessarily mean that less specialized choices are better for your career in the long term, but it's already important if the downside to such choices is less than it looks.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby morriswalters » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:08 pm UTC

I'm getting out because it seems that if you have a nuanced view, that you get classified as ignorant. The definition of narrow is that all STEM degrees require the same basics. In the Liberal Arts you can have all of those and more and still be in Liberal Arts.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Dark567 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:19 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:This probably leads to overestimation of how well such a specialized choice is for your career. People who specialize more and earlier (when they can aim at the current demand in the market) get a boost in income, in employability, also in how interesting their work is. But morris notes a real downside that becomes apparent later.
I don't usually see this happening though. In the later part of engineering careers, most people move on to higher level architecture type roles or management. As an example, my father graduated as a nuclear engineer during the expansion of nuclear power in the 60's and 70's. By the time it slowed down in the 90's he knew enough about the electric utility industry that he moved on to managing natural gas plants. He could probably move on to medical technology for that matter. Having years of engineering experience is seen as valuable, even in specializations outside of the one they majored in. Or there are dozens of other examples I can think of at my company where we hire scores of engineers outside of our specialization... But you better have a STEM degree.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Whammy » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:36 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Whammy wrote:See, here's a kind of a point I want to make a compromise between the "personal enrichment" and "job" crowd"; why does it have to be either/or?

It doesn't, it's not a binary, but going to college to get an English degree and then expecting to be employed in non-English degree requiring related fields is foolish. Part of the Occupy movement is demonstrating that they are upset that their college degrees didn't get them a good job, when I wager many of those complaining pursued degrees that have nothing to do with their intended profession, or, their intended profession is a pipe dream, or, hell, they don't even know what their intended profession is because they weren't taught to think beyond 'go to college, get a degree, and you'll make boatloads of money'.


I liked what Malice said on this
Malice wrote:The largest problem with this entire thread is that the discussion rests on that: the assumption that the Occupy movement says or thinks this. Has anybody here gone to a protest? Does anybody have any reasonable evidence that this is what the protests are about, or that this attitude exists?

I mean, when I get upset about the economy and the jobs market, it's not because I think my liberal arts degree hasn't opened the door to a career in engineering, it's because I think my liberal arts degree hasn't opened the door to a career in the liberal arts... because demand is down... because the economy sucks... because some assholes crashed it while the people who were supposed to be stopping those assholes twiddled their goddamn thumbs.

*granted by this point I don't think we're that focused on the Occupy movement but whatever XD.

The problem I'm seeing Izaawwlgood is you seem to be caught in idea that if you're an English major you MUST do something in English, and nothing else. Did you see that list of careers in the English profession I linked to? One can take the skills you learn in English and apply them in not just writing, but in communications, media, technical writing, etc. Here's a larger list of possible careers with that major: http://englishcomplit.unc.edu/english/undergrad/careers

Yes, getting an English degree doesn't mean you should do engineering (well, maybe write the manuals or something ^_^). But at the same time it doesn't mean you HAVE to just write books or become a professor; the skills can be applied somewhere else. I do think such things need to be emphasized more, so you're point of telling kids "go to college->Get degree->???->Profit" is a fair warning; I just doubt that all these people really expected that it was that easy. People need to have a realistic expectation of what their degree entails, what kind of careers could be available for such a degree or how it can be utilized in conjunction with other majors/minors (seriously, do people forget double majors or major/minors or what not?), etc etc. without acting as if so and so degree is "esoteric and unmarketable." Sure, so and so degree might be easier or harder to find a job in, but that doesn't mean it's "irrelevant" and can't be used, and using the difficulty in finding jobs during our current economic situation (jobless recovery basically) isn't really the best evidence of the 'irrelevance' of a certain degree.

And can I please get an example of these so called "esoteric" degrees that all these people are supposedly taking on?

Izawwlgood wrote:
Whammy wrote:Am I the only one who thinks those two statements are kind of contradictory? Unless you're suggesting that in a recession certain degrees face less of a demand, which is an acceptable claim to me at least. Of course, recessions are temporary so even if they can't get one NOW, that doesn't mean they are irrelevant, just that the demand is low. As the economy gets better, demand will probably go up.

It's not a contradiction, but I notice you conveniently didn't bold the entire sentence. The part where I wrote "In a recession". It means, simply, that if you have a college degree, you are probably employable in professions related to your degree. If you got a degree in something esoteric and with marginal job prospects, or worse, in fading job prospects because of a recession, you probably aren't very desirable as an employee.


There's a difference between "unmarketable during a recession" and "irrelevant" though, and it was confusing me because you had used the latter. I saw you mentioned recessions, but the "irrelevant" comment is what had gotten me. Gotta be more careful with your word choice. The former represents a temporary situation in which, during better times, they might be able to get a degree in their relevant career. The latter sort of implies the degree doesn't matter.

Izawwlgood wrote:
Whammy wrote:That DOESN'T mean, however, we should get rid of or see those degrees as "irrelevant" or "useless", and just place STEM-degrees on a pedestal (not saying you are doing that, but I just got that sort of impression before from others).

I have never said that I want to see an elimination of non-STEM degrees, nor have I placed STEM degrees on a pedestal. I don't even think all the STEM fields are guaranteed to be marketable. I picked my program because I felt the degree was more marketable than what I actually wanted to study.


Again, I apologize for responding to some more generalized trends I've read in this thread or other places as part of responding to your stuff. I didn't mean to imply you said it.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Zamfir » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:44 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:I don't usually see this happening though. In the later part of engineering careers, most people move on to higher level architecture type roles or management. As an example, my father graduated as a nuclear engineer during the expansion of nuclear power in the 60's and 70's. By the time it slowed down in the 90's he knew enough about the electric utility industry that he moved on to managing natural gas plants. He could probably move on to medical technology for that matter. Having years of engineering experience is seen as valuable, even in specializations outside of the one they majored in. Or there are dozens of other examples I can think of at my company where we hire scores of engineers outside of our specialization... But you better have a STEM degree
Don't forget that there are people who aren't succesful in their career, basically by necessity. There are only so much higher architects and managers, and lots of people between 40 and retirement.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Jahoclave » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:45 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Jahoclave wrote:Then again, a lot of this boils down to people making money off the college industry.

Wanna be an English professor, or maybe go into politics, or be an archaeologist? Le shock! You can major in something that will put you on the path to do so. My guess is, and this is only based on the people I know, that most people who major in English, or History, or Studio Art, or Psychology, don't actually want to do something professionally that would directly utilize those skills. Also, many people who simply pursue those courses for personal enrichment really could have/should have done such with the awesomeness that is a public library. Personal enrichment is great, but it doesn't have to be that expensive.

That wasn't what I was getting at. It's more that a lot of the simply being a certificate for a job that doesn't require a degree to do comes from the fact that there is a lot of money to be made by getting people to universities. Student loans were very lucrative business till the government took over them--which, given they backed all student loan debt makes a lot of sense. Otherwise they'd just be continuing to subsidize banks.

And that's kind of the point, people go and get those degrees because they're expected to go to college and get a degree and those majors are something they are slightly interested in. They may not care too much for getting a degree, but it's part of the reason there's a high overabundance of degrees. If they weren't expected to get a degree to get any decent job in the first place, they probably wouldn't.

I see it every day. People who are in college for no other reason than its expected of them.


***

As to the STEM thing: they're more employable because there's less of them. One reason there's less of them is that there is a large problem in teaching science and math at the k-12 level plus this socially constructed perception that it's overly hard and for really smart people only. Ergo, people who could do just fine in the field are pushed away. Thus, you get a lot more people going into humanities and social sciences. You're being very narrow in your exploration.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Dark567 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:48 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Don't forget that there are people who aren't succesful in their career, basically by necessity.
Uhh, why is that necessary?
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Zamfir » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:55 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:
Zamfir wrote:Don't forget that there are people who aren't succesful in their career, basically by necessity.
Uhh, why is that necessary?

Because there are far less bosses than underlings. "become a boss" is not a viable backup plan for most people, only for a fairly privileged subset.

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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Dark567 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:04 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Dark567 wrote:
Zamfir wrote:Don't forget that there are people who aren't succesful in their career, basically by necessity.
Uhh, why is that necessary?

Because there are far less bosses than underlings. "become a boss" is not a viable backup plan for most people, only for a fairly privileged subset.
Sure, but things like engineering architect, tech leads, etc. are all alternatives to management.

I mean unless you only consider moving up the chain of command as career success, but that's a fairly narrow view.
Last edited by Dark567 on Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:06 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:05 pm UTC

Malice wrote:The largest problem with this entire thread is that the discussion rests on that: the assumption that the Occupy movement says or thinks this. Has anybody here gone to a protest? Does anybody have any reasonable evidence that this is what the protests are about, or that this attitude exists?

I've actually called for the stats on this a few times in this thread. I'd be curious to know the break down of majors among Occupiers, because they are largely degree holding (I think 76% or so have college level education or better?). I've also stated, a couple of times, that my assumption that there are few 'non-professional' degree holders at the movement is based on nothing more than a quick perusal of my facebook page or conversation with my peers; it's not hard data, nor have I ever claimed it was.
Whammy wrote:The problem I'm seeing Izaawwlgood is you seem to be caught in idea that if you're an English major you MUST do something in English, and nothing else.

Eh, sort of. I'm not claiming English majors can only do things related to English, but I do feel that a degree in English means you're less likely to get hired as, say, an introductory level sales position. I absolutely recognize that a wide range of fields can goto those with, say, English, History, or Sociology degrees, but am trying to convey the idea that those degrees also close the doors to a number of other fields. At some point, all careers are going to come down to a mix of luck and personal drive. While some people with Art History degrees are just going to be able to make it happen, and some with a degree in Statistics just won't be, I would say having a degree in Art History makes you significantly less able to find 'gainful' employment outside of something related to Art History.
Jahoclave wrote:I see it every day. People who are in college for no other reason than its expected of them.

This is a huge problem. This is why I was focusing on the issue of having college be a 'right of passage'.
Whammy wrote:And can I please get an example of these so called "esoteric" degrees that all these people are supposedly taking on?

I would say an esoteric degree is any degree that narrows the range of basic topics. Biology, History, English, etc, are all pretty straightforward . Molecular Cell Biology, Forensic Archaeology, or Scandinavian Literature are all esoteric. I chose Molecular Cell Biology instead of a handful of other sub-fields of Biology because the demand for MCB is higher than, say, the demand for an Evolutionary Biologist.
Last edited by Izawwlgood on Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:18 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby Griffin » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:09 pm UTC

At some point, all careers are going to come down to a mix of luck and personal drive.


And connections! Don't forget the most important factor in career success is often being liked by the right people!
(maybe that would fall under a combination of the two above, but I'm not so sure)
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Re: Education from OWS thread

Postby morriswalters » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:54 pm UTC



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