Re: Getting that degree

Subject: Re: Getting that degree
From: Fred M Jacobson <fred -at- BOOLE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1993 15:51:48 PST


Do corporations want college graduates because they are "socialized"
to something like the corporate environment? Maybe. I remember reading
that public education was introduced at the beginning of the industrial
revolution to train the agrarian population to show up at the factory
on time (by the clock, not by the sun) and work according to a schedule.
I don't know how much universities are like corporations. Do under-
graduates deal with academic politics enough to be ready for corporate

I _do_ believe in a "liberal education" and the course requirements that
enforce it. I did _not_ like having to pass a swimming test to get my
B.S. I also did not like R.O.T.C., but I knew I had to pass it to
graduate, and I did. Does this make me a better employee in an organ-
ization that can be arbitrary? Maybe. I know the humanities courses
I had to take (not that many) helped me to be a better citizen and a
more effective worker.

When I taught computer science about 1970, I thought about the role of
universities in "certifying" workers for corporations. I still don't
believe that universities should teach just what companies want, and I
still believe that companies should test or otherwise evaluate potential
employees to determine, as best they can, if they can do the job. Some
employers do this. I hope they succeed in finding great workers. But,
as others have stated, it's a lot easier to require the degree and hope
it means something. (I _do_ think universities should respond to their
students' desires to learn valuable work skills by offering the courses
and majors they want. I _also_ think - see the previous paragraph - that
they should require them to learn enough to put their professional training
in the context of a "good education.")

BTW, I spent many years in the academic world. So, "get that degree," but
be careful: It's tempting to get that degree, and that degree, and _that_

INTERNET: fred -at- boole -dot- com PHONE: (408) 526-3292 FAX: (408) 526-3055
USPS: Fred Jacobson / Boole & Babbage / 3131 Zanker Road / San Jose CA 95134

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