What is Australia? By James Reed

     Perhaps readers, who like me, are critics of “our” decadent, decaying universities, may find this item amusing: a US teacher, in a US college, was sacked over a dispute with a student about whether Australia is a country:
  https://www.rt.com/news/418447-university-lecturer-australia-not-country/

“Southern New Hampshire University has fired a lecturer who insisted that Australia was a continent – but not a country – and took some time to conduct “independent research” into the issue before reviewing a student’s paper. Ashley Arnold, 27, who is studying toward an online sociology degree at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), was “shocked” to learn she had failed an assignment, part of which required students to compare social norms between the United States and any other country – in her case Australia. Arnold was downgraded because her professor believed “Australia is a continent; not a country.”

     The issues here take a bit of thought to get around. First, the American  teacher was clearly wrong, for Australia is both a country and occupies a continent, as the student demonstrated. Failing the student over this point is quite “over the top”; even if it was true, maybe it would be justified to award a lower grade depending upon the question the paper asked. But, it was not true. What about the sacking: was that justified? Was it “over the top” Well, on that people will have different opinions.

     On this one I am with the American  university because the lecturer did go berserk  in marking, and this hardly creates confidence in the system. But, cases like this probably happen everyday, especially in the politically correct topics. I recall one case of a MA thesis which nearly failed because it was critical of Australian immigration policy, and then there was the attack on the PhD thesis which was critical of vaccinations:
  http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/4541/ 
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Wilyman_PhD_controversy 

     Overall I am highly suspicious of the goings on in the  university system, and for Australia, believe that a Royal Commission would be a good start in a necessary spring cleaning and ultimate pack-up, closure and replacement.
The US professor, a female with a PhD in philosophy, has not had her name released. If I had a PhD in philosophy, and did all that, neither would I.

 

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Sunday, 21 July 2024

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