Re: Degrees, certification, blah, et cetera

Subject: Re: Degrees, certification, blah, et cetera
From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 1996 11:20:00 -0600

Arlen Walker asked why companies couldnt sue colleges when it hired
some ill-fitted, unsuitable grad with his degree...I'd like to ask why
I cant sue my college for falsely claiming that a degree in technical
writing would be worth the time, effort, research, agony, and money I
had to invest to achieve it. Perhaps colleges should be forced to
offer a money back guarantee on their TW degrees. I always wanted to
go to law school, anyway.

Well, since you went to the trouble to remember my name, Dawn, I'll suggest
an answer. It goes back to what you were told by the college when you
started out. If you were told this was *the only* way to get what you were
after, I'd agree, you *should* be able to sue.

However, you seem to think that what you got what worth what you put into
it. And, I'll agree; it probably *was* worth what you put into it. Which
means I don't think you should be able to sue. What you bought with your
money was room, board and a ticket to a classroom, and the college
delievered on that score. You paid for what you learned with time and
effort. The paper you received should have been a receipt for both (since I
don't know otherwise, I'll even posit that in your case it was) but all too
often it is keyed to the former, and issued regardless of the level of the

Education is like any other human endeavor; what you get out of it is
proportional to what you put in to it. What I resist is the equation of
education with buildings. Education happens anywhere, not just within the
confines of a campus. And it's rarely easy, either on- or off-campus;
nothing worthwhile is. I've never said people didn't get anything worthwhile
out of their time in college. I simply maintain that other people gain
equally worthwhile knowledge, skills, and expertise outside of college, and
we shouldn't discriminate against them simply because of where they did
their learning.

As for what degrees mean, I still maintain that the only thing a degree can
be said to mean for an absolute certainty is that a person spent a
prescribed amount of time alive. Some people walk out of college with an
enormous amount of knowledge along with that piece of paper. Others don't.
Yet it's the same piece of paper. Perhaps if the university were to be held
accountable somehow for it, they'd be more careful about who they handed
those pieces of paper to.

I've seen competent writers; I've seen incompetent ones. Unfortunately, the
distribution doesn't seem to be affected much by sheepskins.

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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