What Degree Would You Get?

Subject: What Degree Would You Get?
From: "Larry Kunz ((919) 254-6395)" <ldkunz -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 1995 14:17:33 EDT

This has been a wonderful thread, but I'm disappointed nobody has
mentioned Philosophy. (I'll wait while the snickering dies down.)
When it came time to declare my college major I discovered that, with
just a few additional courses, I could double-major in English and
Philosophy. I've always been glad I did.

We Philosophy majors used to joke about finding someone who'd pay us
$50K to sit under a tree and think. It never quite turned out that way,
but my problem-solving skill and critical-thinking ability have helped
me get, keep, and succeed at my tech-writing jobs. They've helped me
in innumerable other ways too -- not all of them work-related.

The thread also evoked memories of my co-authoring a white paper with
George Hayhoe, Freda Stohrer, and Sherry Southard, about the
relationship between academia and industry, their mutual expectations,
and their need to work together. (It was published in *Technical
Communication*, 1Q94, page 14.)

I caught some of the "typical" industry viewpoint in Gina Jerome's
comments:

> However, with our industry changing so rapidly, I'm not sure it's
> wise to invest the time necessary to get another degree as I'm not
> confident that academia can keep up with current technology.

Stuart Selber's response typified the perspective of the academy:

> This assumes that university degrees should be skills based and
> application specific. And we all know that's shortsighted. A better
> service, I think, is to provide people with broad frameworks from
> within which to base technology and communication related
> decisions.

The subject is much more complex than these brief quotes suggest.
I'm not picking on Gina and Stuart: Go back and read their full
postings, which were excellent, and you'll see that they're both
well aware of the complexities.

*** WARNING: STC PLUG COMING ***

Neither industry nor academia has a corner on the truth. STC is
studying the issues and trying to sustain a fruitful dialog between
the sides. Anyone interested in participating should contact Ken
Rainey, Assistant to the President for Academic and Research Programs,
at krainey -at- sct -dot- edu -dot- We value your insights!

Larry Kunz
STC Assistant to the President for Professional Development
ldkunz -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com


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