Thursday, November 29, 2012


Friday Fragments

This did my heart good.  Apparently, the academic major outside of STEM fields with the highest lifetime salary payoff is government.  As a poli sci Ph.D., I say this news should be shared far and wide.  

(Let’s not focus too much on the “proxy for pre-law” thing.  Let me enjoy the moment...)


Governor Scott, of Florida, is trying to jawbone community colleges into offering bachelor’s degrees for $10,000.  The story in the Orlando Sentinel is unintentionally hilarious.

The killer quote:

At issue is whether any real savings will be had. While Scott seemed to indicate costs of programs should be cut to come up with the $10,000 cap, proposals by Central Florida colleges instead called for tuition discounts to students who entered one particular program at each school.
Valencia's Bachelor of Science in electrical and computer engineering wouldn't be less expensive to operate, Shugart indicated, but would simply rely less on student tuition and draw more from the college's other revenues.

Sure, we can run some degrees cheaply!  We’ll just siphon money from the other ones!


If we want real cost savings, we need to reinvent the model.  This is just political theater.


The kids let me know that when I introduced myself and the rest of the family, I should have mentioned The Dog.  The Dog remained silent on the issue, which might have seemed classy if she weren’t hiding under our bed with her hind leg sticking out like a furry chicken leg.


After a rough week on campus, it was restorative to attend an end-of-semester celebration for the service learning program.  I didn’t realize just how much I needed a reminder of the good that we do on a daily basis.  

Perspective sometimes comes from unexpected places.  This time, it came from local high school students pairing up with our culinary students and showing off the healthy cooking techniques they had learned.  I’ll take it.


And sometimes perspective comes from less welcome sources.  My Mom is having heart surgery on Friday, so I’m heading down to Delaware to take care of her during the early stage of recuperation.  

Hearing your Mom say that she “got her affairs in order,” just in case, casts a rough week in a very different light.

Campus conflicts come and go, but Mom will always be Mom.  

Mom of Dean Dad is a great person and a leading indicator of Dean Dad's thoughtful perspectives. I hope that her surgery goes well.

It's nice to learn that the service learning didn't involve cooking a rubber chicken. The culinary end-of-semester program jokes almost write themselves.

Be well, DD and Brother of DD.
Yes. Be well.

Also, you surely do more good than you realize in the thick of it.
All the best to DD's mom!
I hope all goes well for your mom! Please let us know how the surgery went.
Hope your mother's surgery goes well. As a fellow political science PhD, I am a bit baffled by the majors that pay methodology. Government comes in at 14, but political science comes in at 53. Is this a reflection that some of the older, Ivy-type departments are still called government programs? Or perhaps we should just change the name of our departments to government programs and viola - higher earnings for our graduates? ;). Very curious.
Due to a computer error brought about by a software upgrade crashing a system, the surgery has been postponed. So, uh, yeah. DD has been spared a long drive, I returned to my family ahead of schedule, and Mom has an as-yet-undetermined wait before we try it all over again. All are well, if a little frazzled.

Rozzm frozzm software updates.
My son has a degree in poli sci (well, international political economics) from a highly respected private college.

After he was laid off a decent but not great job in San Francisco, he ended up having to come back to Arizona (where he does not want to live) and take a miserable job as an insurance claims adjustor. It's difficult, underpaid work that can be done and often is done by people with high-school diplomas.

Government jobs? Where? California and Arizona are still laying off people; we don't know of anyone who's hiring...certainly not young people with degrees in the liberal arts.

Agreed, with Shannon, that the higher-education-as-voc-ed trope is annoying and baffling. However, as a practical matter, most young people who pursue college degrees, especially those in community colleges, do so because they buy into the idea that college-educated adults earn a better living over the years. So, it's not surprising that statisticians and news reporters like to reflect on majors that generate the most profit. As it were.

I hope by now your mother has come through her surgery successfully. It takes a while to spring back from a drastic procedure like that, but once a person is through it, often the result is a greatly improved lifestyle.
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