QuickSpec: Give me a sign! edition

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  1. Anonymous  

    great column by kulawik.

  2. uhh  

    Kulawik's column is nonsense. Not a lick of it is relevant or important.

  3. Also  

    Why would engraving your shit protect it from theft? Like someone is going to swipe your laptop from Butler and then return it to you out of the goodness of his heart because he saw your name written on the bottom?

    No. It's a bogus effort to make us feel more safe. The only situation when engraving can come in handy is if you lose something, and someone else finds it and wants to return it to you. Still, they market engraving as if its going to prevent theft. It does nothing of the sort.

  4. ttan

    Full Disclosure: I am a good friend of Chris Kulawik's.


    I think the argument - that no institution of higher education has any business legislating a political temperament that its students have to be "advocates" for - is legitimate. Chris's example is appropriate. Teachers College is not a "party school". It has no business in mandating that its students are expected to toe the party line.

    Now Fuhrman says that it teaches a "concern" for social justice without "legislating" what social justice is. Let's use the example of patriotism. What if CC mandated patriotism? Well, shit, on one hand "dissent is patriotic". On the other hand, supporting the policies of the US government and US interests, i.e. not dissenting, is patriotic.

    There's two problems here.

    First, social justice - like patriotism - is one of those murky terms appropriated by both the left and the right and assigned very different definitions by each. On the left, it's associated with egalitarian notions of wealth distribution and a fundamental distrust or at least skepticism of the market economy. On the right, it's associated with meritocracy, the opportunities that free markets provide, and a preference for philanthropy over tax-based wealth redistribution.

    The second problem is that - even though they claim they don't "legislate" what social justice is - there is little doubt as to which definition Fuhrman & Co. lean toward. That is to say, I hardly believe the TC admissions committee would look kindly upon an applicant essay that said something like "I believe that public schools are wasteful of taxpayer resources and that teacher unions abuse their political power and leverage to exact benefits for themselves at the expense of taxpayers and their students. The best way forward for our national education system and the students it serves is a public school system that is forced into direct competition with independent schools, with emphasis on performance benchmarks, merit-based pay, a looser tenure system, hefty curbs placed on teachers' unions, and the belief that students who attend public schools are real people with real futures and not blank slates to indoctrinate or guinea pigs on which to perform mass social-engineering experiments, no matter what the intention."

    • McFister

      Actually, a private institution is well within its rights to use such shibboleths in its admissions process. If we were being truly honets, we would acknowledge that Kulawik and his ilk doesn't really have a problem with ideological factors being taken into account in admissions, tenure, etc, as long as they're the 'right' factors. And I will perfectly honest, I'm happy that the left has a lock on TC. In the absence of such a lock, the right-wing enemies at the gate would be attempting to remake the academy in its own image. God knows that would suck.

  5. well  

    It must suck to be Chris Kulawik and have to invent something to outraged about every other week.

    • i don't know  

      i don't think he finds an outrage as much as controversial issues or issues where people disagree (and they're admittedly everywhere) on the columbia campus. which is probably better for the state of debate than little prose pieces which need to head to the UW center as the rest of the spec op eds

  6. yeah

    social justice is a pretty controversial and radical thing to strive for.


    • ttan

      I don't think it's terribly controversial or radical. I think the problem is that its been used, (mis)used, and (ab)used by so many different people with radically different ideologies. Lenin supported "social justice". So did von Bismarck. So does Milton Friedman. In any of those different takes on it, there is something to oppose.

      The second part is while that striving for social justice is your right and perogative (and frankly, best wishes and good luck), yes, there is something wrong with a school mandating it on the same reason that while striving for patriotism should be a priority for every American, you and I both find it questionable for a school to mandate it.

      • Edd  

        You make a decent point, but presumably that also means that Lenin, Bismarck, and Friedman would all have no problem getting into TC, because they all meet the "supports social justice" criterion. So, not much of an ideological litmus test.

      • tao

        tao, what's wrong with advocating for social justice and diversity? that is part of the mission statement of the university and the ideology that they try to instill in their students. columbia TC is not necessarily creating teachers, but those that would be school board members, DOE employees, principals, etc. where a vision of the larger scheme of American education comes into play strongly.

        If you don't like social justice and diversity (whatever those vague terms may mean, in whatever context), don't apply to the school, it's not the place for you.

        To me there is nothing wrong with TC asking this of potential applicants, they are not exactly a non-selective public institution. TC wants to promote a certain type of teacher, a type that they believe is the most successful as both a teacher and in education administrative roles. The CIA, DOJ, etc all want a particular type of person as well. I can see where you guys are arguing from but I don't agree at all.

        I also don't understand why this article is particularly interesting. Did you think CC admitted students solely on the basis of academics? They look for a certain disposition of character, the intellectually curious, one that looks beyond the handholding mundane.

        From Columbia website- "It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions."

        Are you going to get angry that we look for diversity?

        Just because diversity and social justice are vague terms, the spirit of the terms, however executed, are attractive features of a candidate. From your example, 'patriotism' could mean an adherence and respect for laws and the nation or it could mean civil disobedience; wouldn't you want someone passionate about the subject either way?

        • Anonymous  

          First of all, who are you? I think you owe me that much, right? I'll save the bulk of my response until then, but for now, here's a freebee.

          There's something fundamentally wrong with this statement:
          "that is part of the mission statement of the university and the ideology that they try to instill in their students [...] If you don't like social justice and diversity (whatever those vague terms may mean, in whatever context), don't apply to the school, it's not the place for you."

          Let's reapply this logic elsewhere. The Manhattanville expansion is a vital mission of this University. Support - or at the very least, quiet acquiescence - for the Manhattanville expansion is part of the "ideology" that Columbia tries to "instill" in its students (after all, I think we can both agree that Columbia isn't trying to get its students to oppose Manhattanville).

          Should students who don't like Manhattanville expansion not apply to Columbia? Is it not the proper place for them?

          Can you get every student who doesn't like the Manhattanville expansion to de-enroll or transfer elsewhere? I think the school would be a lot better off for it. In return, I'll graduate early.

          • DHI  

            Who is it? Read the name - it is "tao". Tao is you. You are in a bitter argument with yourself. If you had read the name you would have realized it.

          • tao

            in my opinion that analogy doesn't make much sense. and no, I don't think I owe you anything. sucker!

            manhattanville expansion is by no means vital for the mission of the university. the manhattanville expansion is desirable and would provide more room to grow, more research facilities, etc, but Columbia by no means will live or die by it, nor is northward manifest destiny central to Columbia ideology.

            Columbia is able to deliver on its mission statement without a Manhattanville campus. Someone posted it above, but i'm sure you've already read that long ago. On the other hand, if you do not embody certain passions, certain skills, certain propensity for academic rigor then you will most likely not be able to meet that ideological mission.

            You know as well as I do that eventually Manhattanville expansion will happen, people will be angry, people will forget for the most part, and we'll have a large new annex to wow alums kind of like they are now when they run into Lerner for the first time.

            As for you saying there is something fundamentally wrong with the statement you quoted, I disagree.

            What is JTS' mission statement? To promote knowledge of jewish affairs so that its students can better understand the jewish experience and modern affairs. If you are not passionate about Judaism or theological study, why would you apply? If you don't want an open ended self motivated education, why would you apply to Brown? Read the Hippocratic oath, those values are not cast aside and are instilled into medical students through their medical schools, residencies, and every day work. If you are not interested in medicine, helping people, you will probably not make it as a doctor. Institutions do their best to instill values that they find important to those most receptive and prepared.

          • promanhattanville  

            columbia won't live or die if we arson low library either, but it sure wouldn't be good for the university. neither would just keeping our current old digs while every other uni expands.

  7. you know

    It must suck to be a hate filled partisan and unnecessarily rag on Kulawik whenever he writes something, regardless of the topic or the merits of his position. And no, I'm not a CR, nor do I know Kulawik.

  8. fresh  

    frontiers is enough science, that bastard child.

  9. the core  

    perhaps should include some kind of mapping component. it's really sad when, at the beginning of each history class, everyone is petrified of map quizzes asking them to locate saudi arabia or nigeria...if people in the ivy league can't do that, we're all doomed.

  10. Anonymous  

    today's column by kulawik was great because it highlights how wrong it is to impose beliefs on others.

    my conception of social justice is that the dysgenic, weak and poor underclasses should be enslaved to futher the interests of the intelligent, strong and rich. income must be redistributed from the poor to the rich to increase disparities in wealth. this will allow the eugenic overclass to become more intelligent, stronger and richer. they will have higher IQs and be more innovative. to the same end, colonialism should be re-established and the welfare state should be dismantled in favor of meritocratic free markets. philanthropy would be discouraged, for it would be better to let the dysgenic underclasses wither away, probably to be replaced with robots.

    now how would all you lefties like it if i became dean of teachers college?

    • remember  

      when the revolution comes, it will just replace the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie with the dictatorship of the proletariat. orwell did it best with his laughing pigs inside the farmhouse. low = farmhouse; columbia administration = laughing pigs?

    • Anonymous  

      revolution? you damn marxists never learn. THERE'S NOT GOING TO BE A FUCKING REVOLUTION. GET OVER IT.

      bourgeoisie? proletariat? we're not in 19th century agricultural europe, you moron. welcome to the 21st century. through investments and pension schemes, the majority of american workers are also capitalists. they all have a vested interest in the current system. the minority that don't have private pensions are tied down by debt, so we don't need to worry about them.

      furthermore, even if there was an impetus for a revolution, who'd revolt? we're all a bunch of peace-loving service sector office workers. and it's not as if the army is about to turn red.

      dream on, commie.

      • know

        whats funny?? Laura Durkay, former ISO president and author of crazy, rant-filled spec column "The Socialist Alternative" is now working for DE Shaw, #1 quant-based trading shop on Wall Street.. even the reds wise up and see green.. hahahahahhaa

      • you idiot  

        the guy invoking orwell's animal farm was clearly not an actual communist, but someone critiquing it.

        • Anonymous  

          YOU MORON.

          do you actually take me seriously? haven't you noticed that i take pleasure primarily by insulting whatever beliefs i choose to recognise people as having, whether or not they have them?

          you retarded socialist.

  11. re: meeee  

    that's why we wouldn't pick you.

    we lefties control few enough institutions as it is. the right has fox news, walmart, and the US government. the left has teachers college.

    let us take our ball and go home

    • ttan

      Look. I don't see why this is so hard to understand. Kulawik says, and I agree, that the problem is not that he opposes the left controlling TC. Frankly, I would oppose the right controllnig TC. The problem is that NOBODY should exert ideological leverage over an institution of higher education. NOBODY AT ALL. That includes, the left, the right, the center, and the off-sides.

  12. we would  

    have had rick santorum here if not for the minutemen thing. we need some dems though. you'd think hillary could stop by here considering she has half her staffers from columbia/barnard---or at least kerry now that nobody else wants him

    • why  

      would hillary waste time and money - for time is money - preaching to the columbia choir? many of us don't even vote in new york state, and most live in states that will go to her anyway in a presidential bid (so really no need to fire up her base). in other words- as long as columbia keeps coming to hillary, there's no need for hillary to come to columbia. oh, and need I mention that we're the university of havana north left wing jihad capital now? yeah, being associated with that is not good for anyone's political career in the US.

      • idea  

        let's invite castro. he can stay at the hotel theresa in harlem again, eat at havana central, and kowtow with all his loyal supporters here.

      • are you an idiot?  

        she's runnning in nys and giving a speech at columbia university in the heart of the city (where most of her voting block is) would be a worthwhile experience considering she coudl invite community leaders as well (you know the entire outside invitations thing) so don't give me the time is money bulshit. She already has a walk in the park for the senate and is just building up her warchest for 08. she might as well give a talk here and then head to a fund raiser on the upper east side. by that token how the hell did the repubs have santorum planned before his election? he's running in pennsylvania and would probably get ripped here in front of national cameras. It is all about the money and hillary is giving one pathetic excuse after another if she can't spend two hours here (considering all the work students here do for her) on her way to a midtown fundraiser.

    • you're right

      The dems haven't brought anyone...except the director of the National Voting Rights Institute, former Press Secretary of John Edwards and the DNC Jen Palmieri, noted progressive evangelical the Rev. Tony Campolo, and (with SUA) former CIA Director James Woolsey. And that was just October.

      • wait  

        which one of those people are supposed to be impressive? the head of a private institute nobody's heard off, the former press secretary of a failed candidate, and some random christian who happens not suck bush's dick?

        wow. big deal.

        woolsey is a good speaker, though as you said su4a was the lead on him

        • and i'm  

          sorry. i don't want to make this a rant against the dems. but we need more leaders in govt, not thier press secretary's to come in an election year. the first thing the freshman saw when they came this year was minutemen and then something about ex terrorists. considering how strong a left we have, we should be able to coordinate some awesome speaker--even an intellectual like lakoff or somebody would be great

      • lol  

        you call those events? People speaking at a general body meeting and a twice used speaker of SU4A for your 1000+ members and uberbudget is well.. kinda sad

  13. can we  

    please have MORE UPDATES? I'm tired of scrolling down bwog's front page only to be nauseated at the sight of Miriam Datslutsky.

    • Anonymous  

      yes, how about an update on how average GPAs would have risen this semester with the shutting down of online gambling were it not for these new-fangled facebook feeds that are doubling everyone's daily facebook surfing.

  14. umm  

    Has the bwog become a joke? You update like twice a day, and once is the Quickspec.

  15. yeah  

    where's the column about Bob Jones university?

  16. Yo Check this Out  

    The Mission of Columbia College

    In each new era, a thriving college needs to redefine its mission, both in terms of the challenges and concerns of that era and in terms of the "usable past" that can productively inform contemporary discussion and debate. This is not simply a matter of locating the relevant past, but of considering how to relate ourselves to a past that influences, in ways of which we are often unaware, the kinds of questions we ask and the kinds of answers we find persuasive. In relating ourselves to that past we need to focus upon three key elements that combine to characterize the education that Columbia College provides its students today: intellectual mobility, social mobility, and career mobility.

    By combining these three elements in a coordinated living and learning environment - intellectual mobility, social mobility, and career mobility - Columbia College preserves, extends, and renews its tradition of preparing students to make informed choices in a world always haunted by its many pasts, but also oriented toward a variety of possible futures. If students have acquired intellectual and social mobility, they will be able to meet the career and lifestyle challenges of a changing world, by adapting acquired modes of expertise and experience to new circumstances, by thinking creatively across differing frames of reference, by making informed value judgments in a heterogeneous social context, and by using the best of the past to guide them toward what is best for the emerging future.
    Intellectual Mobility

    Intellectual mobility is what the College, always seeking to enable students to think for themselves, has long offered. This goal is embodied in a curriculum that balances breadth and depth of knowledge in specific ways and that requires constant curricular renewal to retain its effectiveness. The College provides intellectual breadth through the interdepartmental Core Curriculum and intellectual depth through the majors, but it links them in ways characteristic of an institution committed to creative critical thinking, well-informed choice, and sustained social concern.

    With a world-class faculty, almost eighty majors, and more than thirty concentrations, Columbia College offers a wide range of opportunities for the acquisition of those specialized forms of expertise essential to success in the modern world. But in a world of change, a singular specialist can be an impoverished specialist-someone who knows more and more about less and less, someone unable to adapt to new circumstances, and someone inadequately prepared to acquire new forms of expertise in later life. With its famed interdepartmental Core Curriculum, Columbia College provides the embryonic specialist with the kind of breadth of knowledge that promotes and sustains innovative thinking. It prepares students in small seminars to think from the outset across specialized frames of reference and not just within them, to join an interdepartmental faculty in exploring wide-ranging material that involves a variety of disciplinary vocabularies and departmental modes of discourse.

    Most Core courses require students to travel widely across historical time and geographical and cultural space, sending them in search of better questions than those that occur most readily to people living in our time and space. Students find themselves, in conversational seminar contexts, imaginatively occupying worlds they may not finally choose to inhabit, entertaining beliefs they may not finally hold, and considering ideas they may not finally accept. Such students are prepared to encounter their chosen majors with a capacity to think both within and beyond the framework of a selected discipline, able to situate specialized knowledge in the context of sophisticated general education perspectives, disposed to ask the unexpected question, inclined to risk the unanticipated answer, and ready to acquire the special expertise of a major as the first of many they will need, rather than the first and last. The big-picture thinking of Core Curriculum courses also ensures that the best of a varied past is available to guide but not govern students' thinking as their generation contributes to the national business of deciding what is best for the future. Through this combination of breadth and depth of knowledge, students develop the kind of intellectual mobility that enables them to make informed and complicated choices in a world requiring them constantly to adapt to changing social and economic circumstances.
    Social Mobility

    With its rapidly rising reputation and its need-blind admissions and full-need financial aid policies, Columbia College enrolls one of the most diverse classes in the nation. The diversity includes the important ethnic and racial diversity characteristic of contemporary society, but it also extends to include diversity of interests, talents, values, commitments, origins, and goals. As College classes continue to rise rapidly in quality, what students can learn from each other is one of our most rapidly developing resources. An overall sense of community that facilitates social mobility is therefore of central importance. It involves the creation of a sense of shared purpose, mutual responsibility, and collective inquiry, even as differences are acknowledged and respected. Social diversity, social cohesion, and social mobility are intricately related in an educational context that treats what students learn from and with each other with the same seriousness as what they learn from and with the faculty.

    To facilitate social mobility in the student community, the College seeks to create a coordinated living and learning environment that enables students during their time at Columbia to experience a variety of kinds of social and academic relationships. Personnel and resources are deployed to help build community not just on a College-wide basis, but on a number of different sites and scales (including that of each entering class, each residence hall, and each hall floor and suite, along with student clubs, athletic teams, social centers, and many more). Several mechanisms (including the room selection process that annually redistributes students around the residence halls, the forming of new student organizations, the arrangement of large and small social events, and the support of a variety of volunteer programs) serve also to involve students with new groups. Other initiatives (including the Alumni Partnership Program, the Faculty-in-Residence Program, the Urban New York Program, and the Intercultural Resource Center programs) enable students to interact socially not only with each other but also with faculty and alumni, and to acquire increasingly sophisticated forms of urban and intercultural expertise. Students are thus encouraged to enhance their social mobility by participating in a variety of different groups with differing interests for different periods of time.
    Career Mobility

    Students today need to be prepared for a changing world in which they are likely to have more than one, indeed several, careers. A career services center in such a world must function not just as a placement office in the senior year but also as a career education center that helps students during all four years become increasingly aware of the range of careers available in the global world of work and of the various kinds of "fit" between curricular choices and career opportunities. Internships, career counseling, informational interviews, community outreach programs, student enterprise organizations, leadership programs, study abroad opportunities, and on-line information and expertise collectively combine to extend students' awareness of career opportunities and life trajectories in the world into which they will graduate. This career education assists them in selecting not only their first careers but also subsequent careers, and the Center for Career Education now available to alumni throughout their working lives.

  17. Social Justice in TC

    From the City Journal

    In case anyone is interested... from about the third paragraph on is about Columbia

  18. not a conversation

    about manhattanville. the point is institutions look for certain types of intellectual engagement in their students/employees and there is nothing wrong with that.

    it would be awful in my opinion for someone to come out of TC and not care for public education and government's responsibilities towards it. it would be awful, if those on the forefront of education were oblivious to educational disparities characterized by race and socio-economics. there is more to teaching and education than monotonously transferring information from one person to another.

    • yeah  

      that's why we should use social promotion. never mind that these kids are getting fucked in the ass by social philosophers who know whats best for them by not teaching them anything. There shoudl be recongnition of socioeconomic disparities but that doesn't have much to do w/a single teacher's actual conduct in class or whether or not that teacher should be an apologist for not getting their kids even minimally prepared.

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