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Thread: Are art students useless

  1. #1
    Is the Renaissance scholar dead?
    Yes

    What do we know about the world since the Renaissance? Almost every single forward movement in advancing the position of humankind has come from science, technology and business. Where will the advances that take us forward in this century come from? Will they emerge from study of the 19th-century novel, or being able to translate Hesiod, or from theology (I'm open to bets)? You know the answer, and yet we continue to subsidise 30% of our undergraduates to study these subjects in universities. Are we nuts?

    So what should we do about it? The employment market has already discounted degrees that aren't relevant to business. Male arts graduates can expect to be worse off over their lifetime after paying for the kind of knowledge the economy doesn't care about. Do we need another government initiative for this to sink in? Or do we need prospective students to wake up and smell the coffee on job prospects before they end up brewing it for a living?

    Instead it means giving graduates the ability to excel in the subjects we know will feed an information-based, technology-driven global economy. We may not know exactly what those are, but we can be damn sure they are not liberal arts and humanities subjects.


    All too often universities are happy to pile on vocational-sounding courses while pandering to popular fads. In journalism, there are more than 150 courses available for an industry that has precious few job openings. I'm not suggesting we shut down English departments and forensic science degrees en masse. Let them flourish if they provide an opportunity to study as a leisure activity. The growth of genealogy demonstrates the public appetite for recreational learning in areas that universities barely support. By all means let people study history, the classics, novels, the media. But let them do it in their spare time - not as a state-sponsored, loan-financed languor.

    When mathematics, which underpins almost every achievement in our civilisation, is the 20th most popular subject at university, you can see that Renaissance scholars might look at us with something like disgust. If we really want to maintain and improve our position in the world, we need to educate more technically skilled graduates, and send out into the world economy more people able to see sophisticated opportunities and take advantage of them, both intellectually and commercially.

    Professor Adrian Monck is head of journalism and publishing at the City University
    No

    We have come so far down the trail of thinking that people go to school in order to become foot-soldiers in the economic battle, as if paid employment were the sole meaning of life, that we scarcely understand what Aristotle meant by saying "we educate ourselves so that we can make a noble use of our leisure". In contrast to this remarkable view, today's dull-witted, pedestrian, pragmatic view seems to be that the educational minimum must be whatever is enough in the way of literacy and numeracy to operate a check-out till.

    Not that I agree with the apparent implication of Aristotle's remark that a noble use of our leisure is the only reason for education. I think that, in addition, education makes better workers, better voters, more thoughtful, informed, engaged and therefore responsible citizens, healthier and happier people, and a more mature, flourishing, open and progressive society. All these benefits do not accrue from limiting education to equipping people with functional skills adapted to the eight hours a day they are destined to spend at the economic coalface. It comes from drawing out their capacity for reflection, from helping them to develop skills of inquiry and criticism, allowing them to recognise what they need to know, to find it out, to evaluate it critically, and to apply it.

    There are those - surely, in other countries and times only? - who would like most in the population to be drones, not too questioning or well-informed, not too apt to criticise, and easily persuadable about things, especially at election times when a few promises about tax cuts and the like can do away with the need to ask people to think (in this case, who to vote for). The reason why such a reductive and manipulative view is wrong is precisely the reason why a broad liberal education, an education for life and not just for work, matters.

    AC Grayling is professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London
    Personally i think Phd's in nearly all art subjects are a waste of money (why do we need research into english literature?), and uni degree funding for arts should be cut back to a tenth of its current levels

  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    lynx's Avatar .
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    Part of the problem is the push for more people to have a university degree. Little thought has been given as to what they will do with these degrees, and most of those taking the courses are too immature to see that far ahead.

    Another part of the problem is finding the people with the necessary skills to teach the university courses. For example, teaching science courses is difficult, yet universities are forced to adopt the same pay scales for all employees. The only leeway they have is the initial point on that scale, but once on that scale those teaching the easier subjects get exactly the same increases for experience and length of service, eroding any differential. The consequence is that there are fewer teachers and therefore fewer places for the harder subjects which means that higher grades are required to get on them.

    The result is that there are masses of people with the sort of degrees that no-one wants. Correction, there is one area that needs more of these people - universities are encouraged to expand, so they take on more people who can teach the subjects that serve no useful end purpose.
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    saqib's Avatar Levels killing BT BT Rep: +7BT Rep +7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx View Post
    Part of the problem is the push for more people to have a university degree. Little thought has been given as to what they will do with these degrees, and most of those taking the courses are too immature to see that far ahead.

    Another part of the problem is finding the people with the necessary skills to teach the university courses. For example, teaching science courses is difficult, yet universities are forced to adopt the same pay scales for all employees. The only leeway they have is the initial point on that scale, but once on that scale those teaching the easier subjects get exactly the same increases for experience and length of service, eroding any differential. The consequence is that there are fewer teachers and therefore fewer places for the harder subjects which means that higher grades are required to get on them.

    The result is that there are masses of people with the sort of degrees that no-one wants. Correction, there is one area that needs more of these people - universities are encouraged to expand, so they take on more people who can teach the subjects that serve no useful end purpose.
    yeah to some extent u r rite , but it does depend on many factors

    here's my appeal: don't let invites become a currency!
    ( courtesy .PolarBear )

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    art students are good for fucking, they are generally hotter than the other areas of university

  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
    lynx's Avatar .
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.S.O.L. View Post
    art students are good for fucking, they are generally hotter than the other areas of university
    Yes, but they have a tendency to be big hairy-arsed morons with strange ideas.







    Or did you mean the guys?
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    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
    wazza100's Avatar Meh BT Rep: +2
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.S.O.L. View Post
    art students are good for fucking, they are generally hotter than the other areas of university
    Yes, but they have a tendency to be big hairy-arsed morons with strange ideas.







    Or did you mean the guys?
    classic , yeah arts a pretty useless degree, may give you some core skills which may help at a job but u'll still need to do some other course related your discipline to be able to do any technical work.

  7. The Drawing Room   -   #7
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    As stated before, society these days seems to be pushing everyone towards university. I'm currently working on my Engineering degree, but I have many friends in arts programs. And though the majority of them are bright people, I also know a few who definitely don't belong here. I know someone who is failing most of his courses, and spent most of this year drinking and smoking, until recently he's run out of money (luckily there are only 2 weeks left), and is forced to mooch off other people for food. Clearly this is an example of someone for whom university was not the best choice. High schools are inflating grades so that their students can get accepted into universities, and universities as a consequence become populated with people who would be better off in the workforce.

    So along this line of thought, when a student like this applies to university, they generally don't have a purpose or direction other than "get a degree". To this end a BA is the most open-ended option, usually requires the lowest entrance GPA, and has the biggest variety of course options. So this leads most students to choose this degree over, say, engineering, since they believe that a degree in engineering limits their career options (far from it).

    Back in my grandparents' day, university was only attended by roughly 10% of high school graduates, and was considered quite a distinction. Now that number is much higher. From my high school alone I'd say at least 50% moved on to post-secondary education. As a consequence most jobs outside of minimum wage sectors and the trades sector require a university degree of some sort for consideration. A degree has become the new high school diploma, and this is generally the reason many pursue an arts degree.

    Bear in mind that some majors that fall into the "arts" category would be more useful for prospective jobs than others. For example, an economics degree would actually teach you some useful things, compared to say, a history degree.

    So I'm not sure that funding cuts are the solution. I'd say raising entrance averages would be a good start, along with shifting society towards the idea that people should be employable with a high school degree as they were 50 years ago. The former is already happening, though more slowly than the grades of high school students are being inflated, and the latter is not likely to happen, since society doesn't tend to move backwards in those sorts of things. If anything, a BA will soon be completely meaningless and you will either need a specialized degree or a post-graduate education just to be employable.
    Quote Originally Posted by whatcdfan View Post
    u are somewhat fairer then the last occasions but still pal i give a damn to what u said and expect i really dont need anything from u or optimuscrime i get what i want coz u 2 guyes dont own bittorrent and i dont think i portrayed any image i wrote simple english and u are seems to be very good at making assumptions if someone is not a cheater and u assume he's a cheater and write what u wrote and when u are proven wrong who u think will owe an apology then barack obama????

  8. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    thewizeard's Avatar re-member BT Rep: +1
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    Art is the base on which all is built. It is like the fundaments. From out there the imagination creates ideas and colours. Art allows the general public to make contact with the divine

  9. The Drawing Room   -   #9
    Art students aren't useless but there certainly are too many kinds of art degrees for every mundane kind of study.

    Employers are partly to blame. These days I see many receptionist/secretary/tech support and other job postings where you can learn everything you need to know in a few weeks/months that ask for at least a bachelor degree .They don't even specify which specialization.

  10. The Drawing Room   -   #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AC Grayling
    It comes from drawing out their capacity for reflection, from helping them to develop skills of inquiry and criticism, allowing them to recognise what they need to know, to find it out, to evaluate it critically, and to apply it.
    Well there it is right there (for the Arts). Not everyone is interested in mathematic and if it bothers you that some choose the way of the "arts" then really you're just a narrow minded douche bag with no greater sense beyond the commercial arena.

    Follow your interest and find your passion, I say.
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    Last edited by Alien5; Jun 6th, 2006 at
    06:36 PM..

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