« Here we go again | Main | I'm looking for a few good people... »

Wednesday, 19 October 2005


fiat lux

Heh. Just wait until she starts applying for jobs and discovers exactly how difficult it is to get a full-time paid journalism gig.


Oh good Lord. I don't even think it's the job of an undergraduate education to prepare students for the work force -in the way she means. I guess I agree with her that there is a curriculum problem at the high school level, but it seems farly clear that we'd name that problem quite differently. She wouldn't like my solution at ALL ;)


She should also be thanking her lucky stars she didn't come to our J-school. I quote from page 191 of the current Undergraduate Catalog, the section titled "Major in Journalism":

Special Requirements

At least 90 semester hours of the total hours required for the baccalaureate degree must be taken in subjects other than journalism, with at least 65 of those hours in the liberal arts. The department currently considers liberal arts courses to be most of the courses offered in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and courses in art history and appreciation, music history and literature, and theater history and criticism.

...Students must also fulfill the requirements of a minor or a second major, which must be selected in consultation with a department adviser.

(My emphasis.)

My understanding is that the second major is required because they only teach you how to write in the journalism classes. You also have to know at least a little something about something else, so you have something to write about. I guess Ms. Perk missed that little tidbit of information.


And I tend to doubt any of our advisers would approve American studies as a second major for someone whose dream it is to write for Glamour magazine.


There is almost no job in business that doesn't require statistics, and magazine publishing is a business.

Working at a "popular" magazine would make a social sciences minor very helpful, but art and design courses would certainly not be untoward.

I get a feeling that the statistics and astronomy were cover for math and science requirements.

If she wanted to get an apprenticeship, she would learn nothing not associated with her job, but she would also be stuck with that job for the rest of her life.

Steve Bates

Sigh. My late father, whose last career was as a high school guidance counselor, met many young people with attitudes like that of the student whose letter you quote. Again and again, he had to persuade them of a fundamental fact: one does not go to college to learn a trade. Life is far too complex, rich and fascinating (not to mention full of pitfalls and sidetracks) not to "waste" at least some of one's undergraduate days studying things quite off the topic of any intended career. Did I, as an undergraduate electrical engineering major, really need those courses in quantum physics, world history and music theory? Well, yes, I did, and so does Ms. Perk, even if for her there is no Glamour [sic] in them.

Mustang Bobby

I have a friend who teaches theatre history at a highly-regarded university. When reviewing the time periods that would be covered, he mentioned "Napoleon Bonaparte." One of his students raised her hand and said, "Who's he?"

He's recovering nicely from his stroke.


Unfortunately, Bobby, that kind of ignorance is growing more and more common. The average college freshman doesn't know the first thing about U.S. history, much less the history of the other 95% of the world. I have to admit to a bit of semi-snobbery this past weekend. At one point as we were wandering around campus, I remarked to my friend Dave, "It's so nice to hear polysyllabic words being spoken outside of a classroom."


I've been outspoken about just this issue to our local school board.

It's insane to neglect the basics and drop essentials for things like "Floral Arranging" or "Marketing".



I like the requirement of a second major for j-school students. I think an American Studies minor or second major would be fine. Why wouldn't it be? American studies basically combine history, literature and other disciplines. It's the quintissential liberal arts degree, in my book.


American studies is a little too limited a scope to qualify as the quintessential liberal arts degree in my book. And in Ms. Perk's case, I doubt it would get her very far toward her stated dream of working for Glamour magazine. It'd be great if she wanted to work for the American Historical Review, but I have to think that something like fashion design would be a bigger boost for someone who wanted to report on the doings of the "beautiful people." (Gack!)

The comments to this entry are closed.

E-mail me

  • musing85 {at} hotmail {dot} com
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 05/2005