new years resolutions

Bjorn Pettersen BPettersen at NAREX.com
Mon Jan 6 03:23:53 CET 2003


> From: Laura Creighton [mailto:lac at strakt.com] 
[...]
> > Now, if I may ask a personal question, what you didn't like 
> in science/academia ?
> 
> This is just off the top of my head....
> 
> 1. preoccupation with cleverness as opposed to wisdom
> 2. giving the job of 'preparing people for industry' to 
> people who have
>    mostly never been there.
> 3. believing that teaching is something that comes naturally. 
>  No effort
>    is made to train professors on how to teach well.  This is 
> a trainable
>    skill.
> 4. in some places -- forcing people to teach so that you 
> cannot simply do
>    research all the time if you hate teaching.  in other 
> places, getting
>    rid of or valuing less the great teachers, because their 
> research isn't
>    so hot.  Many places do both, of course.
> 5. Greedily embracing the notion that 'a university education is for
>    everyone' because it means more funding, reguardless of 
> what it means
>    for would-be academics who now usually have to wait until they get
>    to grad school -- or now in some fields a postdoc before 
> they can do 
>    anything truly original.  That is too long a wait.
> 6. Classroom teaching as opposed to Master/Apprentice type 
> relationships.
> 7. Preoccupation with novelty, and originality, as opposed to 
> soundness.
> 8. The complete disreguard of 'good workmanship' as the counterpart to
>    'sound design'.  These days people are likely to learn 
> that the work
>    is good because it was 'designed well', as opposed to the fact that
>    one of many good designs was selected -- the result was 
> good because
>    _the workmanship was good_.  (Good workmanship cannot save a really
>    rotten design, unfortunately.)
> 9. A life focused on Grading people.  Making grades, not knowledge or
>    wisdom the important centre of the universe.
> 10. (in some places) The notion that only the top 10% matter -- the
>     rest can all go hang.
> 11. The belief that business is somehow demeaning.
> 12. The belief that business is somehow superior. 
> 13. Too many fools.
> 14. Too swollen egos.
> 15. The furthering of the belief that Art is merely entertainment.
> 16. The furthering of the belief that it is a good idea to appear
>     better than you really are.
> 17. Too many people who feel they have the right to be 
> contemptuous of others.
> 18. Too much paperwork.
> 19. Too much specialisation within a given field.
> 20. Not enough play.
> 21. Really boring textbooks written by people who cannot write.
> 22. An over-reliance on analytical as opposed to geometric methods.
> 23. Avoidance of risk.
> 24. Avoidance of beauty.
> 25. Focusing on that which can be measured (in itself a good 
> thing, and
>     the secret of Western success) but not to the extent where that
>     which cannot be measured is deemed unimportant, or even 
> non-existant.
> 26. Students who sit like turnips in your lectures.

ROFL! It's all so painfully true though, which explains why you hardly
ever see anyone fresh out of college that can recognize the problem in
front of them as a special case of something they studied (which I would
have thought would be the entire point of education... *sigh*).

The list is definitely going in my quotes file :-)

-- bjorn





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