Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Mickey Mouse degree axed

A degree in surf and beach management has been dropped after 3 months: After three months at least of attempting to explain to people that indeed this was a management course, it was impossible to stop people poking fun at it. This is not fair to all our other students to be tarred with the brush of this.

My immediate reaction was two fold: first, surfing is a multimillion pound global industry (perhaps even billion..? sorry no facts here), so perhaps they should have dropped more specious courses such as..... (fill in as appropriate)....I would axe anything with sustainable development in the title.
Second, the point is less the substantive nature of the degree (surfing...) but the procedural point that taxpayers are funding it. We can legitimately say that degree X is better than degree Y + perhaps ought to limit funding to vocational degrees and the classics (not just classics literally, but philosophy, english, ...). No-one could have a sensible objection to a private university setting up a degree in surfing or environmentalism or hair combing or whatever. The real point is that taxpayers presumably want their resources allocated to the most socially beneficial degrees, and surfing, whilst probably not the least productive, certainly is not as useful to society as medicine or somesuch.

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