Tuesday, August 08, 2017
(signed) Embittered Snarker ;-)
Actually, I love your move into activist topics like this one now that you have the broader forum offered by IHE. That said, I hope you are composing OpEd columns for the NY Times and/or letters to them and The Atlantic, but you really should revist some of your old classics for a new audience. A rewrite of your all time classic essay about meetings needing an agenda, etc, updated or extended to include start-of-year presentations, would be invaluable to both faculty and administrators as we start a new year.
Your view of the situation might reflect the community you are in.
As for that article in The Atlantic, I guess the world has changed a lot. Back in the day, more than 50 years ago, a place like Carlow College would feature a guy surrounded by 6 women in their promotions as a way to recruit men to their campus. These days, women are not trolling for an MRS degree and men aren't taking the bait. If anything, the women are hoping they don't have to support the guy they live with.
For example, it's been adaptive to believe my success depends on my hard work, and other people's failures are the result of bad luck. These things cannot both be true in the same way (though they are both partially true), but cognitive dissonance can work for you if you let it.
In this case, the problem is that the myth is maladaptive (and supports a worse worldview), but also true in specific contexts. "That's an oversimplification, it really depends on the kind of college" might be the best short term retort- even the most entrenched "Why have we stolen boyhood?!?!?" mindset folks realize that there's a huge difference between West Point and Vassar. Incorrect generalizations can sometimes be the jumping off point for discussions of valid specifics. Some small liberal arts colleges really do have trouble getting "enough" men, and it's an interesting problem for them.
When I started at my final academic job (1987), late afternoon/evening enrollments (class start times of 4 PM or later) accounted for well over 1/3 of our credit hours--and had been rising for years. When I retired (2012), late afternoon/evening enrollments were under 20% (and continuing to fall). But changing the mix of course offerings was difficult. And this was something about which, as far as I could tell, didn't support any particular narrative.
(Also, when I started, our undergrad enrollments were about 60/40 female/male. When I retired, more like 70/30--but that was largely because our nursing and allied health enrollments had grown very rapidly...largely in response to demand for graduates. The actual number of male undergrads had increased, just not as rapidly.)