Post-talk reviews from other attendees were generally critical. While several gave Neal and her colleagues points for coming to talk to a skeptical audience, and others shared outrage at this point or that, the more common criticism was that the debate Neal was trying to engage was all a bit 1980s. No one is against reading classic works of history or literature, even by dead white men, they said. It’s just that the tough questions today aren’t core or non-core, at least to most of those here.
“I was sort of shocked at the lack of familiarity of where higher education is,” said Jeremy Bell, a philosophy professor and Academic Senate president at the College of San Mateo. With the Web and other sources, students have “limitless access to content,” Bell said, and it’s “archaic” to think that the key question is which required book will be put in front of students. “We need to teach them the skills to evaluate, not go to a model of 40 years ago,” he said.
Perhaps we should all send our kids to Wyoming Catholic College, which certainly wont seek AAC&U membership anytime soon. (By the way, the article captures nicely my impression of the AAC&U from the times Ive attended meetings.)