The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) gave American colleges a "C" for core curriculum with its 2013-2014 "What Will They Learn?" report. A Christian administrator explains the meaning behind the confusing offerings at college campuses and CP lists six of the strangest classes actually being taught this semester in colleges and universities across America.
Colleges "are wasting students' time," Robert F. Davis, a former vice president for Advancement at Bryan College in Tennessee and consulting vice president for Advancement and Alumni Affairs at Liberty University in Virginia, told The Christian Post in an interview on Monday. Davis attacked classes "that amount to basket weaving for the typical athlete," and contribute to a "vapid" education.
Instead of courses that require students to think critically, Davis explained, the typical classes taught at most colleges and universities amount to "mere indoctrination." It doesn't matter what a professor believes, the administrator argued, so long as he or she encourages students to engage the material and question assumptions in an academic way that doesn't amount to humiliating those who disagree.
Many professors actually aim to change students, Davis argued, "to undo what parents have done and redo them into their own form and create a whole different kind of culture." He cited C.S. Lewis' book The Abolition of Man to explain their motivations as "conditioners," who seek to mold students in their image, rather than true educators who seek to enable their pupils to grow and free their minds.
Davis said most Christian colleges and universities do not integrate faith and learning in an effective way that counters the culture of secularism in most institutions of higher education, but called for more Christian schools to follow the example of Grove City College in Pennsylvania. "There's got to be the sense of integrity, ethics, and morality," Davis argued, pointing to Grove City as a place where Christians hone their faith and reason in such an environment.
"Nationwide, confusing, trivial, and downright strange courses count toward a student's graduation requirements," ACTA's announcement video for the report explained. Judging these classes against "seven essential ingredients that make up a liberal arts education," the "What Will They Learn" report graded 1091 individual colleges and universities.
ACTA told CP in a statement last week that it found that 422 of those schools (38.7 percent) require a course in philosophy or theology. The organization could not comment on whether or not these courses specifically require the study of Christianity or the Bible,
What follows is a list of the 6 craziest college courses, as compiled from the report by college watchdog website Campus Reform. Most of the schools did not respond to CP for comment, with the exception of Dominican University.
1. "Queer Horror" at Clark University
"In this class, we will analyze a selection of horror novels and films, paying attention to how the monsters are 'coded' as queer, exploring how the monsters are representations of popular culture's changing views on queerness, and considering how and why the queer monster has evolved over the decades," reads an online syllabus. The class aims to analyze horror literature and discover the innate connections to homosexuality.
2. "Disabling Desire: The Erotics of Impairment in Literature and Film" at Brown University
"Has Western society misrepresented the erotic desires of the physically impaired?" asks this bizarre course. Studying Western culture from the lens of handicapped people's sexuality is taken seriously according to this online class listing.
3. "The Wisdom of the Simpsons (and the End of Western Civilization)" at Bellevue University
A class on the hit TV show "The Simpsons?" This high school student's dream-come-true reportedly asks "basic questions about the meaning of human life, about society, and about contemporary values.
4. "Liberal Arts of the Living Dead" at Bridgewater College
"What can zombies teach us about our responsibilities as citizens (Is it my duty to report myself to the authorities if I know I'm bitten?) and our ethical view of the world (I know that's not my grandma anymore, so why can't I shoot her?)" are taken as deep academic queries in this course listing.
5. "iAm My iPod" at Dominican University
This course about how music and technology affects identity may claim a greater legitimacy than some of the other courses on this list. "As a Dominican seminar, the class helps students engage texts, integrate ideas, wrestle with the questions at hand, and articulate their best answers, both in writing and orally," Janet Helwig, the professor behind the class, wrote CP in an email statement. She added that "this is essential work" to prepare students "to pursue truth."
6. "SexyBack: Sex and Text in the US" at Hobart & William Smith University
"In this writing-intensive course, we learn to understand better and interpret the complex web of language practices that comprise popular discourse on sex and sexuality," the course summary explains. Talk about awkward conversations – and what does intellectual curiosity look like in a course like this?